I hid in the car outside the orthodontist’s, making myself small. Families entered and exited their cars; the parents acting cheerful, the kids, fretful. Someone tapped my window. Dr. Peterson’s technician, Lee, stood there smiling; beckoning. She had, obviously, done this before.
Ignoring the staring nosy metal-mouthed adolescents, I sheepishly trailed Lee through the waiting room; Taylor Swift blaring from the speakers. Reclining dental chairs occupied by young people filled the treatment room. Two doctors and a dozen pastel-gowned technicians attended the open mouths like mother robins.
Everyone looked 40 or under; I am 69, born pre-Polio vaccine, pre-3D food, pre-Internet. Braces were an unexpected indignity at this age.
Yet here I lay, mouth held open with some plastic device while Lee cemented little metal barbs (euphemistically called,”buttons”) to my teeth. Horizontal wires were then anchored on the barbs. Dr. Peterson checked Lee’s work, tightened everything, joined my upper and lower molars with rubber bands and dismissed me. I plucked unhappily at my rubber bands, wondering about setting off metal detectors.
“These rubber-bands will bust,” I wailed to my husband.
“Just don’t bust your pizzle-string,” he chuckled.
I considered buying a burka.