Sucks to Suck

There are some things I never take for granted. Some things or phases in my life I know I’ll never have to survive through again. For instance, every August whenever I find myself driving by a school, the only thought that undoubtedly runs through my mind is this: Haha *Suckas! Well, I didn’t say it was a mature thought, just a thought. Does anyone else do this? No, just me? Okay then. You’re all a better human than I am.

But it’s true. When I was a kid, the worst time of year for me was the dreaded anticipation of summer ending and a new school year beginning. The only thing about this time of year that I enjoyed was back-to-school supply shopping. My mom would take me and my sisters to Walmart and let us buy reams of paper for a quarter each. There was always a limit of 4 reams per family, so we’d cash out and then go back in to buy more. Why any fourth grader would need thousands of loose-leaf, lined Hilroy papers was beyond me, but it was a quarter each and, damnit, we needed it!

At that age, all I wanted to do was grow up so I wouldn’t have to suffer through another back-to-school season again. I’d often envy the adults that got to go to work every morning instead of having to wade through the emotional turmoil of reconnecting with friends not knowing if they’d forgotten about you after the summer break, worrying about being called on by your teacher for class presentations you were petrified of and wondering if, somehow, you’d fit in somewhere after all. I knew as soon as I got to be older and out of school, I’d never take it for granted. I’d enjoy every minute of being an adult.

So, now, every time I drive by a school at the end of August, that’s what I think of. I think of that rite of passage that I had to endure (all a natural part of growing up), and I am thankful I never have to experience it again.

Here’s another thing I thought for sure I’d never have to live through again: braces. Guess what everyone, I have braces. Again. My orthodontist said something about teeth grinding at night, jaw shifting, misalignment, and eventual overcrowding while ringing me up an invoice totaling thousands and thousands of dollars. Just my luck!

While the rest of the world eats normally (something I will never ever take for granted now), I’m over in the corner trying to quietly break down food (aka rip it apart) with my one back molar, like a wild baby animal, until its densest remains are malleable enough to swallow semi-whole. And that was an improvement from my soup-only diet a week ago (if I couldn’t swallow it without chewing, I wasn’t eating it).

I’m hungry. My lips are always dry. My jaw constantly aches. Each tooth feels like it’s only held together by this antique wire and any sudden movement crunch will dislodge a tooth from its unsteady root.

I guess they call this karma. Karma for thinking immature and selfish thoughts while driving by innocent schools in late August. Now I’m the sucka.

Are you a sucka? Have you ever had braces? Would you do it again?

Liked this post? Check out other popular posts on my blog:

*aka “suckers”

**Also, sorry to the children. I don’t think you suck, I’m just bitter about not being able to chew.

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56 thoughts on “Sucks to Suck

  1. so connected to this! as a teacher, I feel the same as September approaches, even though I love teaching. as for braces, I had to get them over a year ago for the same reasons, and hopefully will be sprung free in the next few. months!

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  2. I had braces twice. I got them the first time in Chicago and when my family moved to Arizona the orthodontist there didn’t like what the first orthodontist had done so they took everything out and redid it. I ended up wearing braces for probably about 6 years. Recently as an adult my dentist suggested getting braces a third time and I laughed at him. There is no way I’m doing that again. At this point my husband loves me for the way I am and I’m just not interested in dealing with it 😂😅 straight teeth aren’t a priority for me. I also have the WORST case of dental phobia (and if you’ve read my latest blog you’d probably find it ironic what happened to me last week 😅😳). My teeth are not great. My 9 years of throwing up and starving to death ruined them (thanks a lot Gastroparesis!)… I constantly have problems with my mouth. Unfortunately straight teeth won’t change that. You can’t un-do that sort of damage. All I can do is continually dread going to see my dentist 😬 and praying it gets better. It is what it though!

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    • 6 Years!?!?! WoW! That’s crazy! I can’t believe you dealt with it for more than half a decade! I’d be the same, no way Jose! I’ll live without thank you very much!! And honestly, I thought the same except that in the last 5 years it’s really changed a lot (grinding, overcrowding and the misalignment) that I thought, okay let’s just get this over with so that it doesn’t get worse and I promise to keep my retainer on forever!!

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  3. I had braces for a short period of time when I was in third grade, four on my top teeth because a tooth got knocked out early and they wanted to stop teeth from migrating. At my last dentist appointment they suggested braces because I have a small mouth and in the bottom I pick up tarter. And in my mind I’m like really…you want me to invest in braces, when my teeth and bite are close to perfect, to reduce tarter instead of say, buying a water pic or getting an extra cleaning a year? So no to me for adult braces

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  4. I can relate to what you’re going through. I started seeing an orthodontist in 2019 and I’m still seeing one now. My family didn’t think anything was wrong with my teeth but my teeth are not good. With bruxism (teeth grinding), open bite, TMJ, and constant headaches, my orthodontist suggested jaw surgery 😬

    After putting jaw surgery off for 2.5 years, I finally got it done a month ago and I’m still recovery from it. My upper lip is still numb and I get pain in my face daily. I’m healing very slowly. They suggested additional dental work but we’ll see – I never had good teeth. I just had 5 cavities filled prior to the surgery. Some people seem to be blessed with perfect teeth and no dental problems, meanwhile, we have to suffer. I was one of the unlucky ones and given the option, I rather get braces than jaw surgery.

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      • Jaw surgery is definitely no walk in the park. I am 6 weeks post-op and able to go back to work again. Not sure how I feel about it since I have been off work for the past 6 weeks, but at the same time, I am finally starting to feel better. My upper lip is still numb but sensation is starting to come back, and my face has minimal numbness these days. Best of all, I am not in constant pain anymore and can chew food again!

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      • oh man, I can’t imagine – keep me posted please on whether or not you feel it was worth it? What would have happened if you didn’t undergo jaw surgery? Was that even a considered option?

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  5. If they had a category in high school called “least likely to become a teacher,” that probably would have been me. I liked (“tolerated” is a better choice of words) school until high school. High school was the least favorite part of my life. Yet, oddly, if I could have one do-over, that would be it. I found my confidence when I became an adult, and I like this version of myself much more. I wish I could bring that attitude back to high school when I felt much more like how you described it.

    Braces—somehow, I avoided them, though I have some regret that I didn’t go that route. My teeth aren’t awful, but I’m a grinder. I think that’s how I express stress. I tried a mouth guard for a time but had trouble sleeping with it. You’re molar may go down in history. “Amazingly, this girl was able to eat with a single tooth.” 😊

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    • Yes, same! I did not like high school and did not like who I was in high school, I did not feel myself. I really came into my own when I started working… even just part-time jobs really helped me be so much more independent and stand out, and gain other life experiences that I found more helpful and relatable! I had a mouth guard too, a VERY expensive one that I never ended up using because it would make me gag when laying down (it went back a bit too far for my liking lol) and it made me snore so bad! LOL for the sake of my marriage I had to sacrifice the guard LOL

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      • My wife and I often don’t sleep in the same room since we’re both obnoxious snorers. If someone filmed us sleeping, it would be pretty comedic. We spend half the night rolling each other over in bed, trying to get the other on their side. Earplugs are a standard accessory when we travel. 😊

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      • Haha I know a lot of couples who have this arrangement. My husband and I are not there yet. Although when I met him he was the SOUNDEST sleeper, I remember checking to make sure I could feel air flowing out of his nose to make sure he was alive and I wasn’t dreaming up a partner lol… but now he’s the bigger snorer… our trick is this: as long as he gets to sleep before me (he is a quick sleeper) he can sleep through my snoring and for me, as long as I wear one ear plug (just one) that way when his snoring gets bad, I just roll over and sleep on the non-plugged ear (bc the ear exposed will be plugged) then I am good. I also like to make sure I have one ear open in case Charlotte calls for me etc.. 🙂

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  6. I was the opposite. I couldn’t wait to get back to school at the end of the summer (first week of February in Australia). I hated being at home, and I loved school. I used to get to school at 7:30am to “study” so I didn’t have to put up with my family. Nowadays… lol… still studying 🙂 Put part-time and by distance education now.

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  7. Ugh I totally feel that dread before school thing too. I really had zero fun or enjoyment from about 4th to 12th grade, and it was a really hard time. And I agree, I’m sooooo thankful to be out of that time. And even though life as an adult can be totally hard, I would NEVER want to go back to that age again, and I really do sympathize with any youngsters struggling. I always tell them, just wait, it gets better, it’s hard I know, you just have to survive it!! PS I’m so sorry you have to deal with braces ugh! Hang in there J 🌺

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    • Yes, I feel for the kiddos too, especially the ones who are dealing with self-esteem issues and bullying- it’s so important to have a good circle of friends and a good family support system! It seems so much harder now to be a kid :/

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      • It’s funny I think it has always been hard, although luckily I think kids have a bit more sympathy now. I think my dad’s generation had it terribly hard and kids are just so little and fragile. But thanks for angels who are placed in their lives to get them through! Even if it’s just one kind person 💖

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  8. I’ve had braces twice, once as a teenager, once as an adult to undo the mess the first orthodontist made. Braces are better now, as in less painful, than they were when I was a teen AND I cannot overstate this enough, as an adult you can down a few martinis to lessen your awareness of the pain. Much better than Tylenol.

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    • So true! Although, I did wonder this time around, “am I just not remembering how painful they were before because it feels worse this time” but I am getting a different type of braces this time around to fix a bite problem that I didn’t have the first time around.. so yea.. things are definitely getting better for sure … (thank GOD!)

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  9. I never had braces, thankfully, but I do have one front tooth that’s out of wack. Straight on, it’s fine, but as soon as you step to the side, you see how off it is. It does sound tough (ha) to eat with braces though. How long do you have to continue like this?

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  11. I had a brace face long after my peers did unfortunately and before it was “cool” to be an adult in braces. I had the old-fashioned metal braces, not where a brace was affixed to the front of each tooth, then wired together, but each tooth had a metal jacket. I can remember going to get the braces tightened/adjusted once a month, then it was “mush” for dinner. My mom would make shepherd’s pie or mac-n-cheese for dinner for two days and even eating a banana was painful. We moved to the U.S. when I was 10 and it was suggested I get braces, but since we were moving, my parents said we’d find an orthodontist here. Mom didn’t drive and no orthodontists near me and they, of course, did not have evening or weekend appointments. So all orthodontic treatments were on hold. I got braces and drove myself. I had to wear headgear to pull my teeth up and back – two sets of headgear but only wore it at night as I looked like a martian and I had long hair which I set on rollers, so picture this … two sets of headgear, curlers and sleeping with my head over the side of the bed. Yikes. I wore a retainer for the top and bottom teeth, but the bottom retainer never fit correctly, even using Poligrip or other denture adhesive – I was paranoid it would come off and I’d choke on the stupid thing. I worked at a diner during college, which was when I had the braces. I had rubber bands criss-crossing in my mouth. A customer said something funny, I laughed and one of the rubberbands went sailing into his soup!

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    • ohhh no!!! That’s now one of my fears – choking on a rubber band or it snapping out of my mouth in front of someone lol… My first set of braces I don’t remember having rubber bands in my mouth connecting top and bottom row but I have that now and that seems a bit ancient practice to me lol.. seriously, thousands of dollars and my bite is being fixed by 2 rubber bands!??! lol…. oy your life must’ve been one to reckon with at that time with the headgear and the teeth jackets and the rollers … oy vay! But so glad you made it through!! 🙂

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      • Jen, I was mortified with a capital “M” when that rubber band shot out of my mouth. I had small rubber bands and couldn’t open my mouth all that much. And I had a rude orthodontist. He had two assistants and he would stand there doing nothing while on on each side of my face he would have these rubber mallets to pound the teeth jackets or a gizmo like the old sardine can key (my father ate sardines) to tighten the wires. One time over 4th of July weekend, one wire came loose and plastering wax on the inside of my cheek to thwart scraping from the wire did not work, so my father took tinsnips to cut the wire. Orthodontist on the next business day said “you were eating caramels weren’t you?!” I was not and the room had different chairs for all the patients, so a community treatment room. Here he is berating me for eating sticky food. Chairs were made for kids – what an experience as I was tall and legs hung over the chair by a mile. I hope your adult orthodontia experience is much better. Lots of people are doing the “Invisalign” now. My dentist advertises it at his office.

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      • I think the invsalign is maybe for easy cases – mine was not an easy case, but it was before that concept or even the braces that were affixed on top of the teeth was introduced. That would have been less painful – that’s for sure. Even a milkshake, which you’d think would be welcome unless you had it with a spoon as using the straw hurt, the sucking through the straw.

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  12. I never had braces, just a retainer. Both my kids had braces in high school and couldn’t wait to get them off. If I recall correctly, they even effected the way she smiled in her graduation photo.

    I can’t imagine what you’re going through, though when I look at my own teeth, I’m surprised braces have not been suggested for me since some of them overlap. Another thing about my kids is that it was suggested to both that they continue to wear retainers to keep their teeth “fixed.” Since they haven’t, I’d say they regress a little.

    So I’m really confused about the whole issue of why people of any age need braces. If they have them when they’re young, it seems the benefits don’t last. In my case, maybe no one has suggested them because it’s too late? In your case, and I guess also for many adults, I guess you could say they’re “medically necessary.”

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    • Yes! I had braces as a teen and I was supposed to keep my retainer on for a long time (maybe even permanently), I made the mistake of removing them and that’s when things started to shift. I think the idea is if you get your teeth fixed young enough, you maintain it the rest of your life… such as with retainers, regular check-ups… I was told that I grind my teeth in my sleep and I was given a (given = bought a VERY expensive custom-made) mouth guard to use at night but I rarely used it because I hated the way it felt… so I’m needing braces now because it’s technically all my doing LOL… sigh.. but I totally get why older ppl (ppl my age and up) have no desire to go through that and just accepting what they have going on … I’d do that too but I feel like I have a shot at changing it before it gets worse.. and it’s actually affecting my jaw so that was my biggest concern…

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  13. Oh noooo. Braces – ouch! I recently had to get a root canal done for a tooth ache that I had been ignoring for years – and I died – it was so painful and had to be done over 8-9 sittings. ARGH. I literally begged my dentist to just fit me with dentures already! 😀

    I loved going to school! I had this cutesy friend circle that I’d spend most of my time with being upto no good. But then I switched schools in high school and my last two years in school weren’t the best. So I wished them away wondering how magical college would be (spoiler alert: it wasn’t :D).

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    • OMG I am so anxiously lately about my teeth and whether or not I did the right thing and could I have lived without it and now possibly needing to remove my molars! ARGHHHH But so glad your dental nightmare is in your past!

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  14. Every time I see a pregnant woman, I thank God I’m not pregnant! It was such an uncomfortable feeling, as if your body wasn’t your own. Anywho, I just got my Invasalign retainers. Apparently, we have the same issues, and I’m starting to think adult braces is a scam.

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