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Braces : Trying not to feel like a teenager

5 May 2006

When I was 13, I had my braces put on by this groovy orthodontist with an impossibly long ethnic name. He had a dinky little 80’s clinic with brown decor and daggy furniture. He was a good doctor and I had a good experience. So fourteen years later, I decided to go back to him.

To my surprise, the clinic was still in the same place, but it had QUADRUPLED in size. It was all modern, open and funky. The staff wore hawaiian shirts and sneakers. Everyone called him “Dr G”. They blasted pop music through the speakers. The walls were full of new colourful posters. It was a slick outfit, completely and utterly geared towards TEENAGERS. I was impressed.

What also impressed me was the waiting room. It was full! Of teenagers! Everywhere! Teenagers in their school uniforms, sitting next to mum. Teenagers with broken voices and zits, fidgeting in their chairs, shuffling their feet. It was cute.

After a long wait, it was my turn. They took a couple of digital photos, cleaned my teeth, slapped the braces on and… I was done!

A young assistant came over to talk to me about “How To Care For My Braces”. She proceeded to give her [well rehearsed] spiel.

She told me that I should stay away from hard foods like carrots, nuts, ice. And sticky foods like mars bars [dramatic pause]. And snickers bars [another dramatic pause]. She went on to list things like Coke, and toffee, and caramel, and Minties, all with a little dramatic pause after each one and a little look into my eyes to gauge my response or to see if I was paying attention. I got the impression that it was my cue to gasp in horror, or frown in protest.

She also told me, I now have to brush three times a day [pause] and floss everyday [pause]. I was about to roll my eyes and go Hello! I’m 27! I already brush and floss everyday!

Then it clicked in my head. Of course! She’s talking to me like a teenager! She must be so used to talking to teenagers. Now I understand her weird pauses and strange looks!

So I decided to politely menion, like a respectable-aged woman, that I don’t eat those kinds of things and I’m actually quite good with my dental hygiene, when she said:

“Oh and you can’t eat curry, red wine, or coffee. It will stain the little rubber bands. In fact, if you eat curry, it will turn them fluoro yellow and you’ll have to come into the clinic to get them replaced.”

I almost fell off the chair in shock “WHAAAAT???!??!?!”


And I suddenly felt like a teenager.