Almost two years ago I slouched along to a consultation at the orthodontist to see if I needed braces, a meeting that ended with me getting the dang things applied that same day in a blur of glue and metal.
Those 21 odd months have passed alarmingly quickly and a couple of days ago I entered The Chair once again to have them removed.
And it feels... a bit weird but not in the way you might expect.
I get used to certain things ridiculously quickly.
Within a week of having braces put on I couldn't quite remember what the interior of my mouth had felt like without them and just shrugged and got on with things.
Now they're off and I'm already forgetting what it felt like to have them on.
At the moment it feels a little bit like somebody smuggled somebody else's teeth into my mouth whilst I wasn't paying attention but that sensation is fading in some sort of advanced rate in proportion to how terrifying that concept is.
My new best friend the '24/7 for 6 months retainer' has made its introductions and wearing it is fine.
There's some discomfort when I take it off or put it back on, which I'm sure that will fade as my teeth get used to the idea that their support network is gone and start standing on their own two roots.
So it isn't my actual teeth that are feeling weird, it's... well, I think I developed some kind of Stockholm Syndrome for my braces.
Towards the end I was nervous to have them removed because I kept envisioning my teeth as having grown dependent upon them and coming loose or wobbling about, falling out or deserting me if I bit into anything firmer than a doughnut because the position they've been gently shifted to was too far for the human tooth to bear!
That fear proved to be what some may refer to as bullpucky.
But for the moment I kind of miss them.
Mostly because I'm a compulsive fiddler and I'd built up a complex little set of games which involved tapping or flicking different protrusions or attachments with the end of my tongue in odd little sequences.
Without braces on that kind of behaviour looks a bit weird.
If I'm honest with myself I'm sure it looked plenty weird when I did have braces on but at least people could work out why I was doing it.
Because I agreed to braces on structural grounds rather than cosmetic* ones I wasn't particularly thrilled or disappointed by my teeth in their new configuration as their old configuration had looked OK.
Because I didn't have to avoid any foods I couldn't bear to live without I haven't gone into a glee-spiral of reacquaintance.
Because they didn't change my self-image or make me feel self-conscious or less attractive I wasn't fussed when they were there and don't feel particularly fussed on that point now that they're gone.
All of which seems to slightly miff all the people who have been saying "I bet you're glad they're gone, hey?"
"Meh" is not the response they expect.
Luckily I'd already had my wisdom teeth out way before this adventure began so I don't even have to worry about those coming in and pushing things about and undoing all those months of good work like some of my friends did**.
I know I'm going to get used to this whole retainer malarky and quite, quite soon I will have a new set of weird tongue flicking games centred around the little wire glued to the back of my bottom teeth to keep me occupied***.
I'm not even sure what I'm trying to say here. It's more musings than anything else.
There was a thing, then there wasn't, doodily doo doodily doodily doodily do.
So, uh, I guess to give some sort of educational value or something I'll say: never forget to floss.
You might think you've brushed your teeth adequately to keep everything clean and shipshape but there are always bits of food squirrelled away in those little gaps and crevices and if left there they rot like corpses jammed into a ravine. Except unlike the putrescent vapours of ravine corpses, the tooth graveyard allows you to waft the stench of death and decay over friends and bedmates. Also it's bad for your gums. So floss your damn teeth.
I promise to stop talking about ravine corpses if you do.
Oh and my apologies to those who might have thought this post was going to be a wicked ass saga about a shark.
*The way they were sitting would have gradually caused severe wearing that would have left me stumpy and steak-less in my autumnal years.
**Imagine wearing braces for almost five years and then having nothing to show for it because your wisdom teeth rolled into town like a gang of outlaws and started shoving all the law abiding citizen teeth around and Sheriff Braces is so long gone that there's no hope of reprieve or order.
***Uh, the wire was glued to my teeth to keep them from ever trying to wander back into their old positions, not as a means to keep me occupied. That's just an unintentional benefit.