Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Kinda Scared

When I was in college, my mom suggested I get braces.  I didn’t.  A couple of years ago, once I was out on my own and had money and insurance and all that good stuff, I looked into.  Eek, it was expensive!  Not only would I require braces, but also surgery to correct my jaw.  I spent the money I had set aside on Lasik instead…  Recently, the subject came back up.  The DH agreed that we could afford the whole procedure if I were something I truly wanted.  

Yesterday I made the call to the orthodontist.  Today I went in for diagnostic imaging.  X-rays, plaster molding, photographs galore, the whole nine yards, the results of which fit in a 8 ½ x 11 inch folder.  Now I need to visit with the maxillofacial surgeon (and figure out the insurance drama) and within 24 months, I’ll have a whole new smile.  I’m excited.  And scared.  Terrified actually.  I’m not a big fan of pain…or giving up foods I love…or not being able to talk well…or just looking weird in general.  And I’m about to sign on the dotted line to PAY for all of these things!  Am I crazy?!?  Probably.  I know it’ll pay off in the end, but the end seems so far away…

Something that is nagging at me, though, is the whole superficial nature of it.  True that my bite is WAY off and I’m starting to have some pain in my jaw, but am I doing this for health reasons or just in the name of vanity?  I recently finished reading Jessica Valenti’s Full Frontal Feminism (I highly recommend it – a must read), and I agree with most of what she says, especially when it comes to looks and the value placed on them for (and by) women.  Men aren’t judged by their looks nearly as much as by their ability, but for women, appearance seems to be held higher than any other factor when determining worth – self-worth especially.  I’ve never felt pretty.  Is this my fault, or have I just been conditioned this way by our silly supermodel-loving culture?  Does fixing my teeth mean I’ve fallen for the whole pretty-girl con hook, line, and sinker?  Does it make me shallow?  Am I less feminist because I want to like my smile?

On the other hand, it’s not like I’m getting breast implants or collagen injections or something.  This is dental work.  It is as much about the health of my teeth as it is about self-esteem.  

Hmmm…I guess I will justify it to myself anyway I have to, because it is something I want to do…