Growing up I was always laughing and smiling and I never paid much attention to my crooked smile, however, in high school I became more and more aware of my imperfect teeth. I felt that people were always staring at them so I tried to hide them as much as possible, smiling and laughing was not the same anymore because of how self conscious I was. High school had high standards of beauty and crooked teeth did not fit those standards, I wanted straight perfect teeth. Therefore, I set up an appointment with an orthodontist and waited patiently for the day I got my braces.
The clock above my Calculus teacher’s head read 10:30 am, today was the day I would get my braces on. My mom said she would be there to pick me up at 10:40 am so those last ten minutes seemed like an eternity. It was now 10:35 and I felt like the minute hand on the clock was stuck, I felt so nervous and tense. My foot kept kicking the chair in front of me and my sweaty hands had already left moisture stains on my pants from all the times I had wiped them off. The moment I had waited all through high school was finally here, but that clock made it feel like it was still four years away.
My teacher’s phone rang at exactly 10:40 am and I knew the time was finally here, I heard her say, “Okay I’ll send her up with all her belongings.” All my things were packed by the time she hung up. She walked up and told me to head to the office and I replied happily with a big crooked smile, ” Today is the day I get my braces on Mrs. Tackett!” She smiled back and said, “How exciting, have a nice day sweetie!” I walked out the door with my bright pink sequin backpack, the fresh air hitting my face, and lots of emotions within me.
I made my way into the front office, and wait straight to Mrs. Madrigal the attendance coordinator to sign myself out. She was wearing a bright yellow shirt and the same gorgeous smile she gave every morning in the hallways of school and said to me, “Miss Saldana just put your first and last name and time.” I jotted it all down quickly and raced to the front to find my mom.
We headed out and as I walked to the car I saw my reflection through the mirror windows of the office and briefly imagined how my face would look tomorrow when I had my shiny braces on. I started to wonder what getting braces was going to feel like. Was there pain involved? If so, how much? My heart started to beat so fast that it sounded like a horse race trapped inside my chest, I had heard a lot of horror stories of how painful the process was. I was excited and afraid at that moment, but the day was here and there was no going back! I said to myself, “You got this Jazmin, take it like a champ!”The car ride to the ortho office felt like a rollercoaster of emotions.
I thought about all the scenarios I could possibly have during and after getting my braces on. We finally arrived, I hopped out the car and walked with my mom inside. The ortho’s office smelled like peppermint with a mixture of roses from a candle that was burning on the receptionists desk and there was crying and drilling noises as background “music” in the office. My mom grabbed a magazine and sat in the waiting room with me. In front of me sat an old man with khakis and a bright blue button up shirt, he was reading the newspaper, I never actually got to see his face since he never put his newspaper down, not even when the dentist assistant opened the door to call in the next person.
I was next and I walked with the dentist assistant and my mom all the way down the hall and into the room I was going to sit in, she sat turned on the television and told me she would be back to get me ready before the dentist came in. My mom put on the discovery channel and then asked me if I was scared, I lied and said, ” No, it’s not like they’re pulling my teeth out.” She laughed a little because she could sense I was nervous about the procedure at that point. A couple minutes later the dentist assistant cme in with a set of sterilized tools.
She then proceeded to put a napkin around my neck and recline me over to deep clean my teeth before Dr. Akande came in to put the brackets on. The paste tasted like blueberries and I could not wait for the cleaning to be over because I hate blueberries! Dr.
Akande came in as the dentist assistant was finishing up and put on mask that covered his whole face, all I could see was his nice afro sticking out the sides of his mask. He also put on a pair of blue latex gloves, I hate the smell of those nasty glaves! Dr. Akande told me he would glue on the brackets and then seal them with a blue UV light that beeps when the bracket is sealed.
I relaxed and closed my eyes and proceeded to let my ortho work. However, the little light created heat in my mouth and at some points it almost felt as it burned me. Why was he burning me? I wondered as I squirmed in my seat! It hurt but I did not say anything because I had a plastic tool placed in my mouth to keep my mouth open for easier application.
I was so over the whole thing and I could not wait for him to be done, once he asked me what color I wanted my bands I knew the worst had been over. In a matter of seconds he put the colored bands and I was all done! Dr. Akande grabbed a mirror and showed me his work and proceeded to explain how to properly maintain hygiene with braces. I thanked Dr. Akande and walked out to book my next appointment with the receptionist. The receptionist, Julia, said, ” See you in a month Jazmin, and don’t forget to floss!” I replied, “Promise I won’t forget Julia” My mom then drove me back to school, I grabbed my pink sequin backpack and rushed to grab lunch since I came back during lunch.
I found my group of friends and they immediately noticed my new smile especially my best friend Jamie, “Where have you been we’ve been looking all lunch for you? Wait!!! Did you get braces? “Yes! And my mouth hurts only a little bit it is not even as bad as everyone made it seem” Everyone was happy for me because they knew how much I wanted this change in my life! They proceeded to ask me questions about the procedure until it was time to go to class, I walked to class with a shiny bracket filled smile knowing that in a matter of two years I will be doing the same walk in college with a nice straight smile.