Free the teeth!

My braces came off today. 😀 ← See?

The next stage is the retainer. Two retainers, really: a short bit of wire permanently glued to the back of some teeth, and a clear plastic shell that fits over all the lower teeth, and which I have to wear near-constantly for the next six months. This essentially means no tea until October, which has utterly thrown me. I also can’t talk without a lisp right now, which should probably bother me more than the tea issue, but doesn’t. After all, the instructions they gave me say my speech would get better with practice…although they don’t say when that will be, and come to think of it, they said “better,” not “normal.” Anyway, analyzing what I can and can’t say clearly is bringing back my old linguistics vocabulary: alveolar and alveopalatal fricatives—the s, z, sh, and zh sounds—are something of a struggle at the moment. The retainer fits so tightly that I can barely get it out, so they gave me a special tool to help pry it free. I can’t help but think of it as a baby crochet hook.

A hook for removing an orthodontics retainer.

And the orthodontist gave me a going away present:

Candies, toothpaste, toothbrush, floss.

That’s the middle-school student version. The adult version involved champagne, and I appreciate the symbolism, but candy is more fun.

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