SHARP TEETH Do I really still want braces at 40?

At 16, our author refused to wear metal brackets on her teeth. The reward: crooked teeth, a not-so-charming smile, and the eternal question: should I or shouldn't I?

I love to laugh. Well, sometimes. When I don't feel quite so comfortable around, I prefer to smile Japanese: Either completely with my mouth closed, or at least with a protective hand in front of it. Because when my teeth are bared, there's one in particular that shifts into the limelight: my vampire-witch canine. And even if a lot of people find it "cute and likable". I find him above all ... uh... crooked. 

Braces at 40? I don't know
I had almost resigned myself to my Dracula gene when my dentist asked me the other day if we wanted to do something about it. At first, I laughed (and extra Japanese), then I started to think. The before-and-after pictures in the brochure looked a bit tempting. But at 40, do I really want to iron out the mistakes I made when I was 16? That's really a fundamental question. And do I really want to make a splint out of my mouth before every meal at work? It doesn't seem quite as "inconspicuous" as the brochures make you believe. Also not to be sneezed at the costs. After building a house or taking a family vacation with three children, the sums mentioned no longer seem quite as astronomical as they did 20 years ago, but still: thousands of euros remain thousands of euros. 

The options to correct your teeth
Once you start looking into the subject, you suddenly see them everywhere, the options for a vampire-toothless smile. From so-called invisible aligners to whip-and-snap surgeries at beauty clinics, to inside brackets that you can't see. I started browsing websites, poring over brochures and saw nothing but perfect teeth everywhere. I was on the verge of putting an end to the misery. But then I flipped through an old photo album. In it, I saw myself at 16, myself at 20, myself at 25. Always there: the tooth. And suddenly I realized: He is still neither cute nor likable, but he has become a part of me. And one that I can obviously live with very well.

My flaws and I - we make a great team
What all these thoughts about my tooth have brought me? I've decided to make friends with this stubborn fellow. Because if I'm honest, in the end, he's just one of twenty blemishes. Where would we get if we eliminated them all? Sure, I could inject my fat from my butt into my breasts, have my ankles sculpted more delicately, and tighten my upper arms around. Then I could have something done to my forehead wrinkles. More difficult would be the too narrow fingernails and the too-long second toe. Man, the list of flaws gets long once you start. But who would I be without all that? Maybe a woman who always feels comfortable in her skin and never laughs with her hand in front of her mouth. Or maybe a perfect woman without a profile, who has long since lost her laughter because she was obsessed with perfection. No, we won't even start that way. And so I see the tooth simply as a good exercise because I say so: Probably one or the other blemish in the next decades still comes to it. And then I'd rather say WELCOME than make plans to get rid of it. The price to be perfect is just too high for me.


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