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BRACE FACE - Dances and Boys and Braces, Oh My!

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Stuttering Shell: BRACE FACE - Dances and Boys and Braces, Oh My!

Sunday, May 31, 2009

BRACE FACE - Dances and Boys and Braces, Oh My!

I'm sure you heard me say it before...I had braces in junior high school. Me and just about every other adolescent girl in my school. Not only did I have braces, but I had a perm, too. But, that's fodder for a completely different blog post. If I had my junior high school yearbooks, I would gladly post - for all to see - me in my 7th grade glory. But, thank goodness, my junior high school yearbooks are 2.5 hours away in my parents house...whew!

Anyways, this is part four of the "Brace Face" discussion series and I'm featuring another post by Catherine Manabat. She so elegantly & humorously captures to awkwardness of being a preteen in braces. Let me know your thoughts - share your stories with me - and you could be entered to win The Braces Cookbook & The Braces Cookbook 2!

Dances and Boys and Braces, Oh My!

Catherine Manabat is a guest blogger, writing on behalf of the American Association of Orthodontists. The American Association of Orthodontists is a resource for parents to learn more about orthodontic treatments and provides general tips on how to achieve healthy, beautiful smiles, get braces-friendly recipes, and find an orthodontist near you by using the Find an Orthodontist Locator service. Why should you choose an orthodontist? Orthodontists receive an additional two-to-three years of specialized education beyond dental school to learn the proper way to align and straighten teeth.

Catherine is also a proud former “braceface” and smiles every day to prove it!
When I look back on my junior high days, I won’t lie and say I have only fond memories. Let’s face it—junior high, with all the issues that come with transitioning into adulthood, is and always will be a tricky time in a person’s life.

The 8th grade was quite possibly the most life-altering time for me—at least, that’s what I thought back then. I had to deal with three major differences from my pre-middle school days. First, I had to find a date to the end-of-the-year dance. Secondly, one of my best guy friends had inexplicably turned on me and became a crush. (The nerve of that boy!) And finally, that was the year I was going to get my braces. Naturally, it seemed like all three of these situations were tied together somehow.

My parents and I had known for a long time that I needed my tremendous overbite corrected, but I wasn’t sure how I felt about getting them at that exact moment. At the time, most people got their braces in high school (The American Association of Orthodontists actually recommends your child come in for a check-up no later than the age of seven), so you can imagine my mixed feelings about getting braces. I tried to get them postponed—but my dentist and my orthodontist insisted it was the right time. So I complied, and the braces came. I got the day off from school, so that was a nice treat.

That first week got some getting used to, with the list of things not to eat, or to eat in a special way… a special type of floss along with a special way to brush. The aforementioned boy noticed there was something new about me— so, of course, I agonized whether or not this was entirely positive. But at least he noticed, right?

Along with the new oral hygiene routine, I had to get used to how I looked. I had one of those friends who touted a disposable camera all the time. At first, I didn’t want to show my teeth as much when smiling for pictures. I had this irrational fear that the metal was too bright for the flash. But when I saw my ho-hum smile compared to my wide, bright, brace-wearing smile, I quickly got over that complex and got used to smiling normally.

In any case, I had bigger issues looming. I had to figure out a way to turn my friend-turned-crush into a crush-turned-date. Imagine my surprise when, just a couple months after I got my braces, he showed up to school donning his own! It gave us a new subject to talk about—I liked getting navy blue rubber bands and he enjoyed black ones. Basically, it was a sign we were soul mates.

It made me wonder if we went to the dance together, whether that would be the night of my first kiss. And it made me wonder if having braces was going to be a problem. (A popular myth about braces is that they can lock together during kissing—not true, so kiss away!) In any case, the end-of-the-year dance was fast approaching and he still hadn’t asked me. A different kid asked if I would go with him as a friend… but I was holding out hope for my special crush.
One day, a week before junior high graduation, I found out my crush had a new girlfriend. The news was devastating. And because of my idealism, I was probably going to the dance date-less.
So how did it all turn out? There isn’t an ideal ending here (it’s real life junior high, after all). I got a cute outfit and went to the dance on my own. And I didn’t get my first kiss that night.
But in the end, I had a great night and lots of memories to look back on. I had a lot more fun dancing with my girlfriends rather than worrying over what to say to my date. And I even got the chance to dance with him. And what about the braces? As planned, I got them off a couple years later in high school, and couldn’t believe how beautiful my teeth turned out—just in time for formal and prom photos, too! I guess you could say out of dances, boys and braces, my braces turned out to be the only thing that didn’t let me down. I have the smile to prove it!

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Blogger Kayla said...

Oh, that sounds just like me. Only the braces days aren't a memory, they're right NOW! Love this post!

May 31, 2009, 2:23:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is a fantastic site! Well done!!! I own Platypus Co and we have the only floss pick in the world for braces. Your blog made me reflect on how self conscious kids are with braces and how we enjoy so much helping to make that easier in any way possible. I would love to help you with your contest - and would be happy to donate samples to give away! Check out our site and see what you think, it's packed with information. and feel free to contact me anytime:

again, lovely site - i will visit again!


Jun 1, 2009, 3:07:00 PM  

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