Emma Samms

Good­bye red wine – Hello braces!

Cotswold Life - - INSIDE - con­tact @Em­masamms1 Emma Samms

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’

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