I have good news for everybody. I won’t be able to open my mouth, literally, for a few days. And just when its’ getting better in a week, I will be stitched up again and prevented from speaking and causing harm to the world.
A decade after my first orthodontic treatment as a teenager, I am getting them again. I had been considering them for two years now and the idea of sporting a silvery smile as an adult kept me from pushing it away. How could I be in braces at office? At my wedding? At treks and trips? All those lovely pictures.
I consulted several orthodontists and even as I paid the down payment I kept thinking, is it a good idea? Like many other things in life, I decided I’ll just go for it, still unconvinced. Just like I did when I streaked my hair red earlier this year. (Yes, Bright red).
Just go for it.
Sitting at the dentist’s chair always makes me acutely aware of myself. I can almost feel the dentist being able to read my mouth and judge everything about my life. Every single time, I tell myself, they deserve to be paid for making a career out of working inside people’s mouths. But these days dentists are quite expensive and out of fear that by the time I am convinced to get braces again, they may inflate to the levels of charging a portion of my family’s wealth, I decided to just go for it.
Today as I sat for the first in the series of impaction to follow, I remembered how it was the last time. Surrounded by my curious family and teasing me “Pokka-vai” for all the teeth that had been knocked out. This time as a grown up lady, I went alone and still unconvinced. “Doctor, do you really recommend this?” I got tired and dizzy.
As I laid down on the reclining chair, it reminded me of the post I wrote in my stupid teen-days blog after a visit to the dentist’s. (Smart enough to not link it here 😛 though you could dig the internet and judge the writing of my 17 year old self)
But re-blogging that post alone here –
Dr Octopus Wednesday, Sep. 05, 2007 – 07:34:46 pm
“Ok. Lie down” ,he said.
I leaned back and he bent over me. I noticed the “John Players” Tag in the collar of his shirt. I looked down to see if his trousers had a label, outside. Nope. Maybe it’s just some tailored one. It didn’t even seem to fit him properly. He wore some weird, ugly tie that had some “octopus” kind of design. One thing that I love doing is staring at people in their eyes. Eyes are like mirrors of the mind. I wondered if that disconcerted him for he suddenly looked up at the ceiling for no apparent reason. When he looked down again, I was still staring. Then I wondered if he guessed perfumes. I had a school-mate, a perfume-geek who’d smell anyone and guess the fragrance. She’d at least figure out the composition. Woody. Musky. Floral. Sandal. My friend later confessed she gave up that habit once she returned to our tropical native. It’s quite unfathomable to want to smell people in the streets of Mumbai.
He seemed to be neither interested in my eyes nor seemed to guess fragrances and just stared down and explored my opened mouth.
“Say, aaahhh , he said.
I tried to “aaahhh” more and let him think or stare or both.
Then, he brought out two spade-like things and tried shoving one of them in my mouth. It didn’t even get in. Then he chucked that and brought out a smaller one and it seemed to fit in. Dr. Octopus then scurried back into the store room and came back in a tick with some slimy green substance in the spade.
I “aaahhh”ed again and Doc-Oc pushed it up my jaw and finally, stared down into my eyes as he held the spade for a while. How
Depressing, some young guy is finally staring into your eyes , and you are there lying down with your oral cave open wide.
You know what? Stretching open your mouth to this extent could actually make you look uglier. Okay now, I know that’s just an excuse but really, does change the shape of your face. If you look like a pumpkin, with your mouth open you could look like a jackfruit.
It’s only these totally awkward moments in life that make you think. I gave up on his boring eyes and went back to the octopus tie. Before long he pulled the spade out. And I saw my upper jaw impression in the green slime. He looked or admired or whichever at it for a second and suddenly kicked. I thought he hated my jaw but quickly figured it was for water. The tap beside me ran and filled a plastic tumbler. Doc-oc told me he’d have my retainers ready by Friday and called his assistant to mark my appointment for that evening.
I walked back home quietly. With my jaw-spread open for so long, I didn’t feel like doing anything for the rest of the evening. Just let my mind think about the young Doc-oc and recalled the day –
“What is the difference between Suicide and Murder?
If you smile at yourself in the mirror, that’s a suicide. If you smile at me, that’s a murder.”
“Shut up you nerd” – I replied.
But he wasn’t entirely wrong to have messaged that just when I was leaving to the Dentist’s.
I, regrettably, go to a sophisticated dentist, who uses a toothbrush shaped camera and projects your oral cave on a small Onida TV. The first time he used it, I stared, distraught at the screen trying to figure out which part of my mouth could be possibly that large and unearthly.
Thankfully my Dentist guy was having a poor day of business and the minute I went in, I was ushered in without having to wait for long.
“So what happened to you? General Check up?” , He asked.
“Hmm. No my upper retainers broke. I need new ones.”
“Broke? In your mouth?”
( Funny eh? Thought my jaw dropped and they broke within?)
“ Ahem. No. My retainer box fell down and they broke” , I explained.
“Ok. Lie down” He had said.