Friday, February 8, 2008

Let's start at the very beginning, a very good place to start

It seems fitting to title this post with a line from a musical (name that musical!), seeing that it was a musical that helped me realize that I needed jaw surgery in the first place.

But I'm getting ahead of myself. This whole thing started way before I was ever in a musical. Rewind to the winter of 2003. I had a job with great benefits, so I decided to look into something that I had wanted to do for a long time: get braces.

When I was growing up, I always liked braces. I thought kids who had them were lucky and also looked super cute. I was incredibly jealous when my brother got his. True, his teeth were all gibbled and he needed them way more than I did, but I was a kid and didn't see it that way. He got all the brakes. (That, and I still have a scar on my lower back where he bit me with his braces on. I totally deserved it, but still - ouch!) I didn't like my overbite or my crooked bottom teeth.

So, once I had the resources, I decided to look into getting braces at the age of 27, just as I had taken matters into my own hands by signing up for voice lessons for the first time at age 25. The best part about being a grown up is that you can make these kinds of decisions for yourself.

I made an appointment with an orthodontist to see what it involved. I expected it to be a few thousand dollars, half of which would be covered by my insurance, and maybe a year or two of braces. I did not get the answer I had been hoping for.

Instead, he told me that I had a Class II malocclusion (overbite) that couldn't be treated with braces alone. I would need surgery to move my lower jaw forward, in addition to braces, and the cost would be more like $7,500.

I resisted the urge to tell the dude he was on crack, and politely ran screaming in the other direction. I'd take my crooked teeth and overbite, thank you very much.

So, I shelved that thought and went on with my life. Three years later, I was cast in the chorus of the Wizard of Oz, my first musical as a grown up (hooray for the voice lessons!) However, this was a show with three-hour-long rehearsals, four times a week. Once the show opened, we performed five days straight, a day off, and then four more performances in a row. About this time, I started having horrible migraines and tension in my jaw.

Something the orthodontist had said three years ago came back to me. He had mentioned that some people with the same bite problem as mine end up having TMJ and migraine problems when they're older. I wasn't having any problems at the time, so I didn't really pay attention to what he was saying. But now...

When I called his office, his staff had to go into the archives to find my file. "You must have come here right when he opened the office," the receptionist said.

"I'm a bit of a procrastinator," I said. "I'd like to make my second appointment, please."


Related Posts with Thumbnails