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So I’ve had my braces on for just over two months now and we’re getting along famously. Now, back when I introduced my braces to you, in Introducing: Braceface, I mentioned that my Orthodontics department was actually the Children’s Orthodontics department of the University of Manchester Dental Hospital. Yes, Children’s. No, I’m no minor (although I have enviously youthful skin, I must confess) but nonetheless, I’m being treated alongside pre-tweens with bad ache and bad attitude.
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I’ve always suffered with my teeth. When I was very young I used to have chronic abscesses that would last days and keep me awake. Once, my Mother ran out of frozen peas and vegetables to soothe it and I had to go to bed with a frozen sausage on my face. I woke up and it was soggy…. my teeth still hurt.
I have had countless fillings but I never had a sweet tooth and I brushed my teeth religiously. My brother, on the other hand, barely put brush to gum and his perfect pearly whites were the envy of the entire family.
I’ve always had trouble with dentists too. There was one dentist in my home town who was pretty horrific. He never let my Mum come into the surgery room and he smoked, so his hands stank and I’m not sure he ever wore gloves either! Once, he had to extract a tooth that had gone bad (oh yeah, I’ve had 4 teeth removed in surgery too…) but he barely numbed the tooth before sticking that mini ice pick into my gum and yanking the tooth out. I screamed a lot and Mum burst through the door and dragged me out. There was a dramatic amount of blood – like Halloween amounts. As we left, the receptionist called, “you’ve not made another appointment!” to which my mother responded, “I don’t think we will be either,” as she turned my now hyperventilating face to the receptionist, blood pouring off my chin. I must have looked like the girl from the Exorcist.
Then there was the dentist who, upon mere mention of Orthodontics, said, “Jordan has a tragic orthodontic problem, beyond discussion.” I later learnt that back in Poland, he was actually a trauma surgeon who specialised in re-constructive facial surgery after road traffic accidents.
This was all pretty much whilst I still had milk teeth.
So, needless to say, I went through adolescence without braces and laughing openly at all my friends who had them. Little did I know it would come back to cross-bite me in the arse.
So, I’m 18 and University is around the corner, everyone I know has immaculate teeth and I know I’ve been shafted. We pick up where we left off and try the Orthodontic route. I have appointments and there are X-rays and then I totally bottle it because I’m going to University and I don’t want to be the only one with braces. Again, just delaying the inevitable really. So, I go to University and have a grand old time and, guess what, people had braces and those that didn’t had wonderful teeth and I looked like someone from The Hills Have Eyes.
Now I’m 22 and graduating. I begin the process again, because Miley Cyrus is on the scene and she had a marvellous thing called Lingual Braces, which are affixed to the reverse of your teeth and so therefore, invisible. I enquire, more appointments, x-rays and the like and the cost, an astronomical £8,000. So, I start saving.
Whilst I’m supposedly saving, a lovely PR friend of mine stops me at a bar opening we’re at and says, “you’ve got wonky teeth, want me to sort them out?” I spit out my Prosecco, ready to lamp him one when he divulges that he’s doing the press for a local Invisalign Invisible Braces specialist and they could use a case study like me. Bonus.
I meet with the wonderful team and get started with the assessments. I eventually meet the owner of Smile Stylist, and he takes a look. Then he delivered another crushing blow for my gob… he said, “I’ve only said this to three other people in my career, but Invisalign won’t help you…”
Oh for fuck’s sake, I’ll just have crap teeth and focus on distracting people with my hair.
Then, I’m 24 and my wisdom teeth come through so I’m referred to The University of Manchester Dental Hospital to consider taking them out. This is where it gets interesting.
They believe there’s a case to enrol me on Orthodontic treatment under the NHS (i.e. which only under 16s can have) because I’m “an extreme case,” – yeah, cheers love – and would require multidisciplinary treatment; both surgery and orthodontics. Basically, it seems my problem is so severe, I need my jaw breaking (maybe twice) and so the NHS step in as no private Orthodontists can perform such a treatment in this country. Amazing, right? But what’s more, had I gone with any of the many Orthodontists that have quoted me thousands and thousands of pounds for treatment, they’d never have fully fixed my problem, isn’t that awful?
Anyway, I was put on the TWO YEAR waiting list, but randomly expedited, and so I had the beauties popped on in March this year! So that’s why I’m in the Children’s Orthodontic Department for my treatment.