Goodbye red wine – Hello braces!
Ihave to confess, there are a few things that I miss about being young; having perfect vision probably being top of the list, but one thing that I haven’t missed, not even for a second, is wearing braces on my teeth.
Those metallic train tracks engineering the ideal smile are so often seen on teenagers these days. The accompanying lisp and postprandial display of food detritus are a commonplace right of passage into adulthood and whilst I was resigned to wearing them at 15, you can imagine my horror when, last month, my dentist informed me that I was going to have to get braces again.
I do trust my dentist. He’s very good at his job and whilst I wouldn’t go as far as to say it’s fun to pay him a visit (if for no other reason than his music choices are questionable), sitting in his chair is almost entirely painless and not something I dread in the slightest. I’ve lost the same filling in one of my teeth now five times. Neil, my dentist, is adamant that this is not due to shoddy workmanship on his part but is a ‘bite’ issue. Apparently it’s my own teeth’s fault for knocking the filling out, so he gave me the option of either repeatedly having the filling replaced or getting braces to correct the problem.
Though I’ll be wearing the braces for a whole year, luckily, they are only on my lower teeth so are not particularly noticeable when I talk or smile. The consequence of not being able to bite my teeth together though has been the most impactful. Or rather not impactful in the sense that, due to the metalwork, my back teeth now don’t meet. I actually can’t chew anything. This, along with the issue of avoiding anything that will stain the braces such as beetroot (not a disaster), curries (quite unfortunate), or red wine (a genuine, full-blown catastrophe) means that my dietary options have been quite severely compromised.
As I said before, it’s not that I’m unfamiliar with the concept of wearing braces. I wore them as a teenager for three years and happily so, due to the fact that I was genetically pre-disposed to teeth that were both protruding and crooked and so was over the moon that they were being fixed. I even coped stoically with the monstrous ‘head gear’ that I was made to wear every evening and all night. This mercifully now defunct piece of orthodontic equipment involved a strap around the back of the head that attached to metal pieces inside my mouth. It was a look I sported nightly for two years and a look that effectively ruined the hope of any positive attention from the boys at my co-ed boarding school. The only boy who showed any romantic interest in me was two years younger than myself - nothing short of mortifying for a teenage girl - yet I was grateful all the same.
At the age of 16, when I was finally rid of my braces (or so I thought), I was thrilled. My teeth were not just American-straight but Osmond Familystraight. As my modelling and acting career progressed, I was well aware that without the skills of my orthodontist I’d have had no chance whatsoever in those professions. If I ever were to win an Academy Award (I’m talking hypothetically, clearly), I would do the usual thank you’s to agents, directors and family, but I’d also be very sure to thank the genius orthodontist who sorted out my teeth.
Yet here I am now. Trying not to lisp, trying not to get my bottom lip entangled in the metalwork and eyeing jars of baby food in the supermarket as a potential, less time-consuming meal option.
Fortunately I’m not a real ‘foodie’. What I eat has never been that important to me beyond stopping hunger pangs and providing adequate nutrition, so things could be a lot worse. And eating really slowly turns out to be a very good way to lose weight. I’m down 10 pounds and now trying to find ways to add calories to my meals (don’t hate me) without resorting to milkshakes and ice cream. Some friends of mine have even asked for the name of my dentist and I’ve got a sneaky feeling they’re considering enquiring about the new, highly effective ‘Braces Diet’.
I wouldn’t recommend it. And I say that through gritted teeth, which is, apparently, all my teeth are capable of right now.
‘Though I’ll be wearing the braces for a whole year, luckily, they are only on my lower teeth so are not particularly noticeable when I talk or smile’