March 3rd, 2010
Cassi’s Dental Drama
I was born without my adult lateral incisors. Because of this, my canines moved forward and took their place, which, in my 10-year-old mind, made me look like a vampire. I was known as the “girl with the weird teeth” because of my tragic smile. Needless to say, school picture day made me extremely miserable.
It wasn’t until I was in my second year of university that my father and I decided that I would get my teeth fixed. I was so excited that I endured three agonizing days of spacers (which I wore during the only professional theatre gig I ever landed) without picking any of them out. My orthodontist assured me that I would have braces for less than a year, and because of this, I dealt with them with little complaint – unless there was a camera in the room. I soon morphed into the “girl who never smiled”, embarrassed to have my metal-mouth immortalized in any way. The braces were merely something to be tolerated until I had my perfect smile.
As is the way of orthodontics, my braces stayed on for one and a half years longer than expected. By this time my canines had been pushed all the way back where they belonged, and left giant gaps where my incisor implants would go. When my braces came off, I looked in the mirror and immediately cried. The vampire had been replaced with Bugs Bunny. A retainer with false teeth was quickly made for me, and it practically never left my mouth. There was no need for anyone to tell me to wear it all of the time because it felt so good to have a normal-looking smile. The retainer gave me a decided lisp and it had to be removed when I was singing. A photo of me was taken without it and I quickly became “gap-tooth girl”.
My implants were put in a few months after my braces came off. A few months after that, the crowns were screwed on. My mouth was purple with bruises and blood, but I finally had the smile I had always wanted. The false teeth were sawed off my retainer and I was told to keep wearing it nightly but I rarely took it off my bedside table. It felt too good to rub my tongue along the back of my top teeth and feel no lumps, sharp metal or spaces. Now after years of torture I find myself with a perfect smile. I am no longer known as anything other than “Cassi”, which suits me fine.
My little brother is about to start the same dental adventure. He was born without five teeth and has extensive tooth decay due to asthma medication. I can only hope that he will experience minimal pain, and that the end results will be worth the years of effort. But you’d better believe I’ll be calling him “the boy with the braces” until he’s done.
Thank you for the consideration. I've enjoyed reading Smile since it was updated weekly on Raina's web site!