Tip #46: Please, I’m begging you: wear your retainer!

January 28, 2000

Okay, I am so mad! In second grade, I got a retainer. Then in third grade, I got braces for three years and then a retainer again since then. Now I don’t mind retainers but recently my wisdom teeth came in and uh-no! My teeth aren’t perfectly aligned on the right side of my mouth! No one can even see. Urrrrr. So anyway, my stupid orthodontist put braces in my mouth with rubber bands laced around them. When the rubber bands are in, it hurts my teeth. But when they are out, there is no cushioning and the braces poke at my cheeks. I have bloody sores on my cheeks, but when the rubber bands are in they clamp my teeth down so tight I can barely talk!

Dear Me,

I’m getting down on my hands and knees and begging, pleading, imploring you to wear your retainer. Please, little Kirsten, do not stop. Ever. This is – no joke – my number one regret in life. Look how sad you were; how much pain you endured for over a period of TEN years to get your teeth perfectly aligned. Don’t let all of the tears and fights be in vain. Think of all the money your parents spent to make you not look like your friends and family in Europe.

High School Prom (2003)/Wedding (2010). My bottom teeth don't look so bad at my wedding, but that was four years ago. You don't even want to see an updated photo.

High School Prom (2003)/Wedding (2010). My bottom teeth don’t look so bad at my wedding, but that was four years ago. You don’t even want to see an updated photo.

And your teeth were beautiful. People on the street would stop you just to compliment your smile. Okay, mainly creepy men, but who’s keeping track? All you needed to do was flash those flawless pearly whites and heads would turn, traffic would stop, and trumpets would sounds. Fine, I might be overreacting, but you did get one boyfriend (now husband) with your straight teeth.

Then one night in college you were sleeping in your dorm when a knock on the door woke you out of your slumber. You stumbled out of bed, not caring in the slightest what you looked like, to find one of your friends on the other side, taunting you for falling asleep before midnight (shhhh… it was really 10:30 p.m.). And what’s that? You have two retainers in your mouth? You still wear those? What a little baby! And that was it. Your retainers got hidden away for the next six months, until you found them when you were moving out of the dorm. You and your roommate laughed when you both could barely shove your respective retainers into your mouths. Your top one fit with much difficulty, but the bottom… well, was toast. You both laughed; silly teeth!

Ha. Ha. Ha. NOT FUNNY! The bottom teeth might have moved just slightly back then, but they will just keep sliding. Now they bother me so much that I have a habit of pushing them forward with my tongue or grinding them in hopes that they will go back in place (for the record, this has been an epic fail). I religiously wear my top retainer every night so that the top teeth don’t meet the same destiny. Luckily, I’m tall so when I’m standing, people can’t really see my bottom teeth. But then they see my double-chin, so it’s really a wash as to what’s worse.

I’ve been contemplating Invisalign for years, but I can’t bring myself to do it again. I don’t want to shed one more single tear due to the physical and monetary pain of making my teeth straight. But I’ll probably need to since grinding your teeth is like super bad. I just wish I could tell my past self: wear your freaking retainer!!!




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