Friday, 5 February 2016

Marking Middle Age with My Teeth!

I will admit I am not the adventurous type, so you won't find me skydiving or anything remotely scary, I've never been an adrenaline junkie so why pretend I could be now? The elderly and the middle aged seem to have joined the tattoo craze and that is definitely not for me. However, I still want to mark my middle years in some small way, so hopefully I can look back and say, 'I 'm glad I did that.'

 Here's another question. What feature do you first notice about a person when you look at them? You don't have to know them, it could be someone on a bus, on television or in a shop. It may be their clothes, shoes, hair, wrinkles or tattoos for example. It may be in a positive or negative way, such as a fabulous hair colour or a great pair of shoes.

 For a long time, for me it was hair. No surprises there, I was a hairdresser for 24 years. However, in recent years my eyes tend to be drawn more to peoples teeth. I know, that sounds weird!

I suppose it started when my NHS dentist retired and I was fortunate to be able to afford to have private dental treatment For the first time in my life I had regular hygienist appointments. The whole look and feel of my teeth and gums improved. Stains and plaque were removed and my gums were much healthier. I have been lucky, as my teeth have generally been strong and have had relatively few problems. The few fillings I have, I think could have been avoided if I hadn't eaten so many sweets as a child and teenager. Contrary to what some say, private dentists don't create work that doesn't need doing, that's my experience anyway.

My first dip into cosmetic dentistry came five years ago when I had my teeth whitened. This involved the dentist making 'trays' that I applied a mild dental peroxide to and fitted over my teeth for a few minutes a day for a fortnight. The difference was amazing. My teeth had become yellow over the years and my fang more yellow than the rest. I remember a child asking me at school, 'why have you got a yellow tooth?' Well, they may not be bright white, but they are even in colour and definitely not yellow.

It was probably at this point I started noticing  teeth more and how they could make a person look younger or older, more so in my opinion than wrinkles and grey hair. A person who was almost famous for his bad teeth, Shane Mc Gowan from The Pogues is an extreme example. He has had them sorted out now. There are many examples of great teeth in middle age in the celebrity world, which sort of shallowly proves the impact teeth have on appearance.

Last September I was listening to Jeremy Vine on Radio 2 while I was making beads. His guest was a orthodontist [I wish I could remember his name] who was talking about teeth straightening in adults. I thought he was talking about adults in their twenties and thirties, but no he wasn't! He had many clients in their forties, fifties, sixties and even seventies! Well, that was it, I had found my middle aged, slightly bizarre mini adventure, maybe I could finish what was started forty years ago. After all, if Faye Dunaway can wear braces at sixty one then I can at fifty three!

I didn't have a problem finding a good orthodontist, as my daughter had some  work done on her teeth when she was a teenager. I went for a consultation first, where everything was talked through, from cost, type of brace, how long it would take, even the age thing [ Mrs. Laminam has a client who is 69!]. Throughout there was no pressure to go ahead.The cost of course is pretty scary, but considering all the work that's involved it's not unreasonable. I like that everything is paid up front, this means no worrying about what  the next  fee is going to be. I could have had metal braces or completely invisible braces, but I opted for the something in-between, which are sort of transparent versions of metal ones.

Once I had decided, the next appointment involved having impressions and photographs taken. I was also sent to the hospital and my dentist to have x rays.

On Wednesday 3rd February 2016 at 2pm I had my braces fitted. I came down with a flu like bug I picked up from the children at school, so I'm not yet ready to show the 'after' picture. My teeth feel very tender and I'm being very careful what I eat, which isn't hard while I'm feeling grotty. I can't eat anything hard or chewy, nuts being the thing I shall miss most of all.

That's the story so far. A little boy at school asked me the other day, 'have you got a milk tooth coming down?' I wonder what they will say about my braces, I'll keep you posted!

Now for the scary part, my teeth before braces!

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