The Orthodontist by Anna Welsh

There is absolutely nothing in this world that I detest more than the orthodontist. The dentist may be a close second, but the orthodontist always prevails. At least at the dentist, I can feel like I have accomplished something. I can walk out with a brighter smile, despite the pain I endured in the dental chair to get it. I walk out of the orthodontist feeling heavier, beaten down. My mouth is battered, and I carry a new box of Invisalign trays in the crook of my arm. The orthodontist seldom delivers good news. My teeth, somehow, are still not straight.

I have been going to the orthodontist since elementary school. I have gone through teeth pulls, rubber bands, and tooth attachments. I have felt the squeeze of their tools in my mouth, begging my stubborn teeth to realign themselves. My older brother graduated from the orthodontist and subsequently was voted “best smile” by the senior class. I’m the bitter younger sister, left behind on a gray plastic chair beneath a bright yellow light.

I begrudgingly went to the orthodontist this past Friday. I sat in the corner of the waiting room, ten years older than every other patient. Suddenly, the sun began to shine through the windows. Birds began to sing. A rainbow extended from the dry asphalt of the parking lot over the building. The orthodontists smiled widely and told me what I had been waiting for, waiting for since I first entered that godforsaken orthodontist’s office. I was almost done. By next year, my teeth would finish the cruel cycle of Invisalign trays tightening around my teeth with every coming week. I would be done. I could almost hear a choir of schoolchildren singing “Hallelujah” in my ear.

There were certainly setbacks. I lost a good few of my Invisalign trays, I forgot to wear them, and I once swallowed a rubber band. Alas, I had prevailed. Never again would I step foot in that orthodontist’s office, I would be done. No longer would my mouth be stretched and prodded. No longer would I have to deal with the gloved fingers of an absolute stranger touching my teeth. I have never received such wonderful news.

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