Last week, I went on a first date. Not a garden-variety romantic date – call me a traditionalist, but my marriage is firmly entrenched in the camp called “monogamy” – but one with far more explosive and long-term ramifications. I am referring to my search for a new orthodontic soul mate.
This is my mouth. It is the second most expensive thing that T-Bone and I own. It is literally worth its weight in gold.
My chompers and I have been on a long journey together. Our most regrettable episode was when I bit into a concrete step as an 8-year-old. Unbeknownst to me, this triggered the deterioration of my jaw, and eventually led me to the nimble fingers and deep coffers of my Calgary orthodontist. First, he made me wear a splint on my bottom teeth for a year to stabilize my jaw. This made me lisp like a kindergartner, and created endless joy in my grad school department, where my fellow students urged me to pronounce phrases such as “slippery shellfish.” After a year of this, I was ecstatic when I finally got braces.
Getting braces is akin to handing over the $$ equivalent of a six-month luxury tour of Europe, and in return receiving a sucker punch to the jaw plus ugly pills. After this massive outlay of cash and destroyed vanity, I was nervous about moving my mouth to Thailand. However, my orthodontist assured me that I would be able to continue my treatment, and gave me the name of an orthodontist in Bangkok.
I finally got around to calling said orthodontist. I won’t mention her name, but in fine Thai style, it was along the lines of “Samutprakankorn Tutankhamanaprithi Srirachathirnasakap.” After 5 or 6 attempts, the receptionist finally figured out who I was talking about and booked an appointment for me.
Last Thursday, my favourite friend and I headed off to the appointment.
The office was packed with nurses in white dresses and heels scurrying everywhere. Before I knew what was happening, one of them dragged me off to see a dentist, who told me that I should fix one of my fillings. I told her that I was there to see an orthodontist. She reiterated that I should fix my filling. I was then carted off to a series of x-rays, diagnostic rooms, etc, before being deposited once more in the waiting room.
I was finally taken to the orthodontist’s room. There were at least 7 doctors/nurses/who-knows-what in the room, and none of them said anything to me for around 10 minutes. Finally, one of the white-coats walked over and dove into my mouth. When she finally removed her fingers, our conversation went something like this:
Her: “Your face is crooked. Do you want surgery?”
Me: “I know it is. No, I don’t want surgery.”
Her: “You should have some teeth pulled.”
Me: “What the…?!?!?! What do you mean?! How many?!”
Her: “Four. If you don’t pull them, your teeth will protrude and they won’t be attractive.”
Me: “Uhhhh….. no thanks.”
Her: “Also, your profile looked better before you started treatment. Now your lower lip protrudes. Also, I’ve never seen your style of brackets before. They look like plastic. I bet they break easily.”
When she finally finished with me, I asked her for her name. She did indeed have a long name, but it wasn’t the same long name that I made the appointment with. I may have had a small moment where I wanted to do this:
And then they handed me the bill. I don’t think we’ll be going out again. Anyone want to set me up? My ideal date would leave all my teeth in my mouth and not insult my face to my face.
*I may be wearing a scarf made out of my friend’s dreadlocks.