Driving to work today I felt a little weird. Like I was missing something. It came to me after a few seconds of pondering: my teeth were missing their retainer.
I started wearing a retainer a couple months ago to keep my teeth from moving. I had another retainer many years ago, the result of many months of brace work during my high school years (tire tracks, as they call them) to straighten out my crooked teeth. Once I was free from the parental reins and set upon the freedom that is a college dorm I got sloppy, though. I was supposed to wear my retainer every night, a mere 8 hours a day (while unconscious, even!), to be effective. I’d forget one time, but get back on the horse. Then that day turned into a couple days, and then a week, and then a month, and then a year, and then years. After a significant drought I tried putting them back in. No go, bro. My teeth had changed enough that they were now useless.
Sometime after that realization my teeth would sporadically pain me for a day, which was a new sensation. Why? THEY WERE MOVING. They move all the time, really, but I was feeling them this time. The pain was never too bad, but it was a physical indication I could feel rather than just see (which was also an indication, actually, as my straight teeth were now not-as-straight). I had to go to my dentist and shell out several hundred dollars to get new retainers made. And so I did.
The first time I popped these new mouth manglers into my maw brought the nostalgia for sure. The pressure of something solidly grabbing your chompers and molding them into a consistent form touched on some neural pathways that hadn’t lit up in a long time. Taking them off the next day left my mouth sore. Months later, my mouth is still sore the morning after, but I’m used to it now. I’m so used to it that for an hour after removing them my mouth now feels a little weird to NOT have them on. Human adaptation right there, folks.
I now have Robyn to keep me in check and make sure I don’t forget to wear this set of retainers for years at a time, causing more sporadic teeth pain and necessitating another multi-hundred dollar purchase to make sure my incisors don’t incite a riot. So far, except for a few days here and there, I’ve done well and worn them with the discipline of a monk. I don’t like having to wear them because I’m not big on accessories, but it’s not too bad. Robyn has had to wear braces 24 HOURS A DAY, save for eating, so my moaning is relatively unjustified.
At least it’s not headgear (again), right?