Friday, June 8, 2012


It is a plastic replacement for an age-old practice. Different name, similar thing. Retainers bind my teeth like a corset and then they encase my teeth and trap them. With them in my mouth, I talk in a strange manner, I am kept from eating little nibbles of food at the side (because that would require me to take it out, put it in my case and only then eat it), and I feel generally out of sorts. Just when I thought my braces horror was over, I now have to deal with this. The retainer. It is my last and final step on my journey in orthodontia and, according to the contract my dad signed "indefinite".

My only reprieve is when I eat and when I brush. Of course, I savor those scant moments in time. My orthodontist gave me a pass so that it wouldn't distract me during finals and I also didn't wear them last night because I couldn't fall asleep with them on. That's about it, thought. For the rest of the time... I must wear them. I must wear them and deal with the plastic coating against my teeth and against my gums as I try to carry on with life. While it is oh-so-tempting just to skip out on the whole thing, I know that that would only bite me in the ass. Plus, I always have nagging parents to deal with, which is never something that's fun. Oh, not to mention my insecurities if I were to have bucked teeth on top of everything else that I have to deal with now.

In truth, the pain faced by my braces was worse. Much worse. At least I don't have my teeth reined back by strange metal things and at least I don't have to deal with prodding and poking and aching and general ugliness. I don't have to deal with keys and snapping rubber bands and things of that sort. While this does feel incredibly uncomfortable, it doesn't hurt all that much. My bottom one hurts when I put it in, but that's probably more to do with my gum issues than anything else I'm sure. Also, my retainer happens to be invisible, which is even better for me because I don't have to see an ugly metal thing staring  back at me. I really shouldn't complain, I suppose, and yet...

It just feels.... odd. So odd. Retainers are that so alien plastic compressor keeping my teeth aligned. I can't help but feel the need to feel them with my tongue and to just take them out. My retainer exists as an intruder in my mouth, and I just want to kick it out once and for all with a dainty pluck of my fingers and nice, hard tug. Yet this cannot be so.

Of course, if I wear them every day, it shouldn't hurt. They will only work if they are worn every day, simply because something cannot be preserved if it is not covered in preservatives. My teeth is that something and the retainer is the preservative.

I have to wear this all the time for three months. Then I can wear it only at nights then every other night then so on. In two years, I'll only have to wear it for a half an hour every day. Still, it won't stop. I'll have to wear this the rest of my life. I'm better off than my mother, I guess, who had to wear braces for ten years and still has a crooked set of bottom teeth. Curse my bad genetics!

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