There is an old saying that has always really spoken to me: “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks, but you can alter his physical appearance if you fit him with a dental appliance.”
BoywastheyoungDad (me) had a winning smile; winning in the sense of first place on Halloween. Or imagine a game of chess about 12 moves in; you sort of have your pieces in an arch but there is a knight or two a little ahead of the group and that one bishop that got trapped is stuck in the back row. Actually, imagine a game of chess with half the board and all the pieces. You get the idea.
A dear friend of mine got me a job working for the local dental college a while back. During my tenure there I picked up quite a bit of tooth lingo and sat through a lot of free examinations. More than one professor would direct an entire class to rush over and look at my strange tooth or its weird arrangement. This didn’t really bother me. I got used to their uniquenesst at an early age. I used a lot of self deprecating humor to disarm my opponents as a young child and for that to really work you had to be at peace with yourself and your looks.
Besides, to get them straightened I was looking at two years in metal braces, four teeth extracted, my jaw broken/realigned/wired, then two more years of braces. I’m not a bad looking dad, but the only acting/modeling job I could ever get, even with perfect teeth, is the “before” model, and maybe only as a hand model at that. A whiter, straighter smile was more or less wasted effort in my opinion.
Now, years later, that same friend who got me that job is my dentist. Doc B is a bold man of action and already a skilled practitioner of the art. The world is his buccal groove and he intends to seat the maxillary molar firmly in it (See? I told you I picked up the lingo). He looked at my records and thought this whole “pull teeth break jaw” process was nonsense. “Who prescribed this course of action, a barber from the 1300s!?” he exclaimed. He countered with two years and no surgery. The Spouse, bolstered by Doc B’s bravado, encouraged me to act and this weekend he fitted me for Invisalign braces. The three of us are mightily pleased thus far.
Two years! That is nothing short of a miracle considering the metamorphosis that is about to happen. Its like there’s a gathering of Nobel scientists in my mouth and they’re all hypothesizing. The best thing, better than all the science at work? The Child’s attention has been drawn to my crooked dental situation and I’m using it to the utmost. “Put your toys away or your teeth will end up like this.” “Daddy watched a lot of TV as a kid, and now look at his teeth.” “See these braces I have to wear? It’s because go get me a bag of chips.” Thank you Doc B and thank you clear plastic tooth thingies.
I’d show you a picture of them but, invisible, you know? It’s like I’m gently chewing on a piece of wonder woman’s jet. You really can’t see them. Two years from now I’ll have a winning smile in a whole new sense.