I was in eighth grade the first time I was bullied for my protruding teeth. If being 978th chair in the clarinet line wasn’t bad enough, I was also being called names by the stout bully who sat a few chairs ahead of me. She and her squirrelly sidekick were upset that I had a boyfriend. According to them I wasn’t attractive enough to snag the schlubby first chair trumpet nerd.
“Good luck trying to make out. You’ll bite his face off!” they joked.
It didn’t bother me so much. Because while they were busy thinking up insults I was busy necking behind the local ice cream parlor.
A few months ago the same bully requested me as a friend on Facebook. REQUEST DENIED, BITCH.
My overbite continued to get worse through high school. The dentist suggested I get my wisdom teeth pulled and a full set of braces but my mother didn’t have dental insurance or much money. That still didn’t stop me from bringing boys to my yard because I assume my milkshake was phenomenal.
In my freshman year of college reality hit me, hard. While most people had their braces off before graduating high school, I began getting more nervous about if I would ever get the privilege of having perfect teeth. Was it too late? One weekend I went home and begged my mother for braces.
“PLEASE. I’m already in college. It’s now or never!” I pouted.
She said she still didn’t have the money and that I was beautiful just the way I was. I didn’t want to believe it. Maybe she didn’t think I deserved nice teeth, I thought. That summer I brushed after every meal and flossed non-stop. I wanted to prove to my mother that I could take care of my teeth and that I DID deserve to have an ideal smile. At the end of the summer I presented her with my progress.
“I told you, I DON’T HAVE MONEY! Don’t ask me again!”
I sobbed. I cursed. I pushed the idea deep down where I convinced myself to never think about it again. I accepted my fate as a pretty girl with crooked teeth.
About a year later in the middle of a questionable basement party, I met the love of my life. We salsa danced in a drunken stupor and our dance continued as he proposed marriage six and a half years later. Now that I was engaged questions about my appearance started to arise once more from “concerned” family members.
“Don’t you want to look beautiful in your wedding photos?” they asked.
“I WILL look beautiful,” I explained.
Six and a half years of being in a relationship with my fiance gave me all the confidence I needed. He fell in love with ME, flaws included, and I didn’t feel right changing who I was just for a wedding. I’ve always been bothered by brides who have been pale their entire lives and all of a sudden begin living in tanning beds. When I was engaged I’d buy wedding magazines only to discover they were full of ads for plastic surgery. Planning a wedding is stressful enough without having to worry about chemical peels and boob jobs.
I got married with my signature smile and I’ve never felt more glamorous.
The medical office I was working in at the time had a gaggle of catty women who began to hate on me for no particular reason. Not even being a happy newlywed could save me from the how deep their insults hurt. They would find any little thing to pick on me for; The color of my scrubs, my hair, and especially my teeth. I went home each evening and cried while probing the internet for a new job. A friend told me that her place was hiring and I ended up where I am today.
I have a great job, more money, and a laid back office atmosphere where we all get along. I work right behind a mall which can be quite dangerous, financially speaking. After years of spending money on things I didn’t need I thought, what if I didn’t spend all this money? What are the things I could afford? I also turned 29 which really fucked with my mind.
Since I’m approaching thirty, I finally decided to make an appointment for a consult with an orthodontist. He explained the two-year process it would take for braces to align my teeth. I was concerned about money since my insurance doesn’t cover orthodontics. Luckily, there is a payment plan. But first, I had to get all four wisdom teeth extracted plus a fifth tooth extracted to make room.
For about two weeks I looked like I got curb stomped in the mean streets of Baltimore. I lived off of butternut squash soup, chocolate pudding, and agony. WHY DID I DO THIS TO MYSELF, I though for a split second.The pain was worth it because today, 19 days after my oral surgery, I got braces. (Click on photos for larger images).
There is a stigma associated with adult braces but there is even more of a stigma associated with crooked teeth. And though I feel mostly comfortable in my skin it feels good to finally be able to do this for myself. I also get an odd satisfaction of knowing I can afford something that my parents could never give me.
And even if my sexy score has now dropped lower than the 1929 stock market, I feel empowered to smile even more. I also happened to snag one of the few men in the world who thinks braces on full-grown women are hot. PLUS, these bad boys really do make my gangsta face a tad more intimidating.