Things the Dentist Did

A couple of weeks ago, I went to see the dentist. It was really awful, actually. I had to get up really early, and sit in rush hour traffic for an hour, and not even for the sake of something good, like an early flight to somewhere sunny, say, or the Harvey Nichols sale, but for the DENTIST. GOD.

Now, as I’m sure I’ve mentioned here before, I’m not actually afraid of the dentist, which is  really quite strange, because I’m scared of just about everything else. I can’t even drive past a hospital or the doctor’s office without breaking into a cold sweat, but when it comes to the dentist I’m all, “Whatever. Drill a hole right through my head if you have to, just don’t charge me for it.”

No, I’m not afraid of the dentist, but I AM afraid of being forced to spend money on something I can’t put on my feet or hang in my closet. And as it turned out, I was RIGHT to fear that, because this trip to the dentist, it was not cheap. But I’m getting ahead of myself, here. First, let me tell you what the dentist did to me on that cold and frosty morning:

1. Tied a “bib” around my neck.

2. Put a huge pair of safety goggles on my eyes.

3. Instructed me to “grin like a maniac”. OK, those weren’t his exact words, but he basically got me to pull my lips back from my teeth and do this kind of maniacal grin, with my teeth bared like I was starring in a teen horror movie. (As the horror element, I hasten to add, not the teen element.) For full effect, I also opened my eyes really wide and put on this “Hi! I’m insane!” expression, although I’m sure that wasn’t absolutely necessary.

4. Took photos of me like this. In a really high resolution. PHOTOS.

5. Put said photos onto a computer (a wide-screen computer, naturally), and blew them to their full size, so my crazed Face-of-a-Killer took up the whole screen, and then made me look at them.

From this, you will perhaps have deduced that this visit was not so much about the health of my teeth (Which are healthy! And strong! In fact, I could probably have used them to chew my own leg off, if I’d wanted to, and at that stage I kind of DID want to, if only to give myself something a little less painful to think about than the images on the screen.) but about the appearance of them. Which is… crooked. And which is why my dentist wanted to take close-up photos of my teeth and then force me to look a them. Actually, it was a cunning move on his part, because let me tell you, once you’ve seen yourself in THAT much detail, you’re going to agree to just about anything anyone suggests to make it all better.

Which is why I’m getting Invisalign. (Which is an “invisible” brace, for those of you who couldn’t be bothered clicking the link.)

That wasn’t the only thing the dentist suggested to me, of course. In fact, we had a long, long chat about all of the options, and what we finally decided was that I would basically give him all my money, and in return he would destroy the images he’d taken of me that morning give me straighter teeth. I will only need one brace, for my lower teeth, and the way this system works is that I get a new version of it every two weeks, until the job is done, which will be in about nine months time, apparently. So, basically it’s like I’m giving birth to… teeth. Which is totally the kind of thing that would happen to me, isn’t it?

And when I finally left the room? I was still wearing my “bib” and had the imprint of the safety goggles all around my eyes. Great!

(I just wanted to add to this, that I spent a lot of time researching this and looking into all of the different options available, so I do know all of the pros and cons of Invisalign, and am totally aware of what I’m getting into. So please, no, “My aunt’s neighbour’s cat’s wife had Invisialign, and OMG, all of her teeth fell out and then she DIED!” stories, although obviously if you’ve had one of these braces yourself, I’d be interested to know how you found it!)

Edited to add: I should have made it clearer in this post that I actually went to the dentist to discuss ways of straightening my teeth: that was the purpose of the visist, so it wasn’t like I went in for a check-up and came out with a brace. Having re-read it, I realise that’s how it sounds, so apologies for any confusion!


12 Comments

  • Cheeky says:

    Hey,

    my sister is just at the end of her 9 months with these and her teeth are gorgeous! She didnt find them a bother at all, had top and bottom. Took them out to eat, which in a restaurant was a pain but worth it now. She has lovely straight teeth!

    best of luck!

  • Maz aka MallyMon says:

    Oh I'm so jealous! Invisalign is something I've been wanting for months now. Straight teeth without (much) pain and the horror of braces. I think you are just SO lucky! (Except for the extraction from your bank account of course…)

  • Lauren says:

    That is quite cool!

    I had braces at school for years, and 10 teeth taken out. I had gloriously straight teeth for a while – you could have used them as a ruler if that didn't involve having my gaping mouth pressed against your coursework. Which would be odd. Anyway, then my wisdom teeth came in, and despite the NHS' insistence that there is "no evidence" wisdom teeth can effect any others, I had an agonising few years of them growing in and now I have really really wonky teeth.

    I have been thinking about getting the invisible braces for ages, and may have to give in at some point soon!
    .-= Lauren´s last blog ..What I Wore | Countryside Florals =-.

    • Lauren — EXACTLY the same situation here! Amber, considered exactly the same thing myself but don't have the money for it right now. Would love to hear how it goes. Keep us regularly updated!

  • ginny potter says:

    omg,my aunt had those and all her teeth fell out and she died!! sorry i couldnt resist it <) i heard they were excellent though!

  • ani says:

    He will pull those photos out in 9 months to show what a good job he did. Be prepared.

  • Rock Hyrax says:

    I hope you're doing this because _you_ decided it was necessary, and not because someone else took a massive picture of you're mouth and told you you're not up to scratch – like in the Simpsons dental plan episode ;-)
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ltNrgOUCMKE

  • Oh god! This is so what happened to me about 3 weeks… I had a trip to the ortho to talk about my teeth (only one of which is a bit sticky out). He took lots of pics and then put them up huge on this big screen and pointed out every single little problem. I actually felt quite sick by the end of it.

    I guess it's a bit like going to a plastic surgeon and asking their opinion on how you should tidy yourself up – the answer is not going to be pleasant and is always going to make you feel bad about yourself.

    In fact, it made me feel so bad that I'm yet to phone them back to say what I've decided to do. Partly because I just wanted to fix one tooth – and he wants to fix all my 'quirks'.
    .-= Zoe, Conversation Pieces´s last blog ..Weddingnesday… you’re invited to a very important date =-.

    • Amber says:

      I should probably have made it clearer than none of what happened was done in a mean, "OMG, lookit how awful your teeth are!" kind of way – that's just my exaggerated take on it :) The dentist was really, really helpful, and there were a lot of things I pointed out that he advised me not to bother about because they're things that only I would notice – it honestly wasn't a high-pressure thing at all, and to answer one of the other points from above, it was very much something I wanted to do for myself (and have wanted to do for a long time now), not something I was in any way pressured into. I guess I didn't make that clear enough in this post – my bad.

  • Hayley says:

    When I was in high school they had just come out with Invisalign and I wanted them SO BADLY. But alas, my parents refused to shell out the cash and I was stuck with the horrible metal braces. My bottom retainer/mouth guard is something like Invisalign, but still…does not make up for the metal braces. Do let us know how you get on with them!
    .-= Hayley´s last blog ..Adventures of Musashi (my great NES adventure) =-.

  • Ling says:

    I have had my second appointment with my orthodontist and am considering going down the train track route, purely due to financial reasons, his price for Invisilign was extortionate! But i'm now wondering whether or not to go elsewhere for a second quote…. would you mind telling us how much you pay for your invisiligns?? Or is that too much information to divulge?? all the websites are no help at all, what with their "from £999" prices, which basically means it could be up to any amount!

    Thanks and good luck :o)

    • Amber says:

      I would prefer not to say, to be honest, and it wouldn’t really be of much use to you anyway, because that would only tell you how much it cost to correct the very specific problems I have with my teeth – yours will be completely different, which is why they say “from” whatever: everyone’s teeth are different so only an orthodontist could tell you how much it would cost…

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