A short and ugly haircut, nerdy glasses, and a retainer. The retainer – that piece of pink plastic with metal wires that firmly fit around your teeth. That is, until you learned the trick of popping it out with your tongue. That piece of pink plastic that you wore to help your teeth stay aligned. At least, that ‘s what I think its purpose is; after all, I am not a dentist.
I feel like I’m twelve again. Okay, minus the bad haircut and nerdy glasses; that leaves the retainer. Yesterday I went to the dentist to pick up my new retainer. Yes, at forty-uh, forty-something, I once again have a retainer.
For a brief moment as I was driving to the dentist, I had a flashback. I was walking up the stairs to the second floor offices at Bayshore where I saw the orthodontist. It was there that sadistic tools were used to tighten the wires that were attached to metal pieces cemented to my teeth. These wires and pieces of metal were used to straighten my Bugs Bunny-like teeth. After the painful torture of braces was over, I graduated to the retainer.
Snap out of it Pam, it was only a dream. There would be no wires or torture tools. I’m going to get a piece of plastic for my mouth.
As I sat in the dentist’s chair, he explained that this retainer would help to prevent further shifting of my teeth. Shifting that has taken place over the past so many years due to age and teeth grinding from stress. What stress??????
He said that he had a blue box for me. A blue box! Of course my mind goes to thoughts of a Tiffany’s blue box. I’ve never seen sterling silver retainers at Tiffany; but maybe, just maybe, my dentist convinced Tiffany to make one for me . . . uhhhh . . . doubtful.
So much for the thought of a sterling silver retainer in a blue box. I was handed a royal blue plastic box. I opened it up and surprise! Gone was the pink plastic with metal wires that fit around my teeth. Inside I found a piece of white plastic molded to fit my bottom teeth. The dentist put it in my mouth to see how it fit.
Flashback again. That torture feeling came back. It was too tight. It hurt. There was pressure on my teeth that I haven’t felt since I was twelve. Snap out of it Pam. It’s supposed to be that tight fitting. I guess there is no purpose in a loose retainer.
I was told to practice taking it out. Instinctively I stuck my tongue underneath the retainer to pop it out. Some habits never die. It didn’t come out. The tongue IS the retainer popper-outer. I know its been years, but this is like riding a bike. You just remember how to do it; tongue underneath, pop it up and out it comes. How could this be?
Apparently dentists caught onto to the tricks of twelve year-olds. These molded retainers don’t pop out the old-fashioned way.
Wait, did I just say “old-fashioned”? Yikes, I’m old! I’m an old person with the mouth of a twelve year-old.