"Ignorance isn't only for deep things." -Dragon Lady
Question #77094 posted on 04/05/2014 12:12 p.m.

Dear The Board,

How many of you have had braces, and how long did you have them for? Also, regardless of whether or not you've had braces, what is your funniest story involving going to the dentist?

-Nellie Bly


Dear Nellie, 

I had them for two and a half years with an expander beforehand for forever because I have a small palette and they needed to wrench it open like a solid half an inch. I may have had spacers for a bit, but I don't remember. Very little else beats the feeling of getting to see yourself braces-free with a dang good looking smile right after you get them off. I mean, I imagine holding your newborn for the first time, or getting married and stuff like that beats being braces-free, but it's still a close runner up. 

I don't really have any dentist stories, besides the one time that I accidentally bit my dentist. I was 17. 



Whoa Nellie,

3 1/2 years in braces the first time from age 13-17. I had it all: spacers, headgear, rubber bands. Then during the mission one retainer broke, then the other got lost.

At the ripe old age of 26 I paid for braces a second time for just over a year (though the orthodontist gave me a killer discount, he said it was a volume discount as he has seen everyone in my family except my oldest brother - there are 11 of us).

I moved to Texas 3 years ago and both retainers broke again. My teeth are much slower to shift this time, though, so that's good. My only real dentist story was back when I was at my first orthodontist. His new partner saw I was reading Heir to the Empire by Timothy Zahn (I highly recommend the Thrawn Trilogy). He saw the Star Wars book and started singing... but it was the Indiana Jones theme. Poor Dr. T, suffering from Williams confusion.

There was also the time I was getting my braces on for the first time and unintentionally got to second base with the orthodontist's assistant who was older than my mother. That was a very awkward and not my fault. There was also the time I got my wisdom teeth out and after getting the happy juice started laughing maniacally, to the point that I supposedly disturbed the staff and the door had to be closed.

Have Fun Storming the Castle,

-Il Guanaco


Dear Basil,

I have not had braces, but I've had enough cavities/root canals to make up for it.

I always get so stressed out going to the dentist (I feel like I should be over that considering I go so freaking often), so they have to give me laughing gas or the numbing agent won't work (apparently you can be so stressed that you neutralize the numbing effects and then the dentist is like, "You've got to be kidding me..." and it's not a bonding moment). One time I went to a new dentist who gave me WAAAAAAY too much laughing gas. I kept making them stop because the lights were trying to speak to me in German and it was freaking me out. Especially since I don't even speak German. They made me lie in the chair and breathe straight oxygen for a very long time before they'd let me drive home.

When I had my wisdom teeth out, they gave me the shot to put me under while the dentist told a joke. The last thing I said, with total contempt, was, "That was the stupidest joke I've ever heard." I remember crying when I woke up because I'd forgotten how to walk and believed I was too heavy for them to lift me into the car (which they did without a problem). My mom said I was a complex wash of emotions for the rest of the day.

Other than that, usually my dentist visits involve me getting laughing gas, having them put a block in my mouth (so I don't have to hold it open, which is for suckers) and falling asleep. They even have a heated blanket ready for me. Clearly I go to the dentist far too often.

-Marguerite St. Just


Dear Bly,

I had the wonderful misfortune of having braces for 5 years. The only reason it wasn't longer was because I had senior pictures coming up and my mom insisted they come off. My teeth are fairly straight, but I still have an overbite.

In addition to spending a lot of time at the orthodontist, I've also spent quite a bit of time at the dentist. When I was in middle school (8th grade specifically), I still had 10 baby teeth. The dentist decided they needed to come out, and since I didn't want to come in twice, I had him pull all 10 at one time. That was fun.

Lastly, before my mission I had oral surgery to have my wisdom teeth removed. I don't remember much from that day aside from the ride home. As we were driving down the road, I felt the car lift off the ground and begin to fly through the air. Apparently this led me to hold out my arms and make propeller noises. Ah, the joys of modern drugs.

Good luck!


Dear Nellie,

I had my braces for about 3 years, though they were taken off probably too soon because my family was moving to Indonesia, which isn't known for its orthodontic possibilities. I wore my retainer faithfully until college (meaning, 5+ years) but my teeth still shifted into their current slightly crooked locations. (They're still nowhere near their original crookedness, though--I literally had two rows of teeth on the bottom since there wasn't room in my mouth for everything.)

My teeth shifting back post-orthodontia isn't just cosmetic; since they're crooked I have a strange bite that puts too much pressure in some areas, and I'm suffering from gum disease as a result. I first learned that during a dentist visit my senior year of high school; when the dental assistant told me to bite down, she didn't believe that I was actually biting down, and ran to fetch the dentist. He came in, took a look, scoffed, and pulled my mother into the room, shouting (for everyone in the waiting room to hear), "Mrs. P., your daughter's teeth would make a rabbi go cross-eyed!"

From then, I visited a wide variety of dentists, orthodontists, and oral surgeons to figure out if and how we should fix the issue. In trying to get a diagnosis, I was told, by professionals, that I "had no chin," "had excess vertical height," was a "tongue thruster" and a "mouth breather," and that I "swallowed like an infant."

Funny now, not so funny then.



Dear friend--

I had braces for two years, as I recall. Maybe three. My issue was that genetically, my mom's side of the family doesn't have eyeteeth, and mine were super late coming in. I lost them at a normal age, like nine or something, but they didn't come in until I was 14 or 15. I couldn't get my braces off until I had all my teeth in.

When I got my wisdom teeth out (at Wisdom Teeth Only there in Provo!) I told the anesthetist guys ahead of time that my veins are small and no one can ever find them, so to not bother poking me because I was scared of needles and anyway, they would only have any luck with my finger.

They did not believe me. Somehow all the phlebotomists believe that the REAL problem is that my last phlebotomists were just lame. Um, false.

So they began the routine of jabbing me over and over in both elbows and hands in a vain (get it???? I'M HILARIOUS, OKAY) attempt to find a vein to use for the anesthesia.

Meanwhile, I have this weird thing where in emotionally charged situations, especially when I am afraid or very tired, I laugh compulsively and it is literally out my control. I was very very tired, having been up all night over-analyzing a crazy date I had gone on the night before with my future husband, and then I was in super pain and in fear of more pain from all that needle stabbing.

I couldn't stop laughing.

I just convulsed and convulsed with laughter over and over. I can still see those technicians, staring at me in horror as I laughed and laughed and they jabbed and jabbed.

"You... are... the laughingest girl I've ever seen," one said, with a kind of glazed-over look in his eyes.

And then they finally believed me and tried my finger and that is the last thing I remember.

Oh yeah, then I was highly allergic to the pain medication, but I didn't realize it because I assumed all my reactions were normal side effects of getting my wisdom teeth out. And then the next morning, with my face still blown up and swollen and my body just barely recovering from my weird pain meds, my future husband asked me to officially be his girlfriend.

The end.

- Lexi Khan


Dear Nellie Bly,

I think I had my braces for about two very awkward years. I wasn't too great with wearing my retainers so my bottom teeth shifted a tiny bit. (Sorry, mom!) My husband has never had braces and his teeth are straighter than mine. This gives me hope for my children and their future.

So, a dentist story? A few months ago I went to a new dentist. It was only my second time there, I had just had my teeth cleaned the week before, and now I was getting a tiny (and my only) cavity drilled where my dental sealant had fallen out at some point, probably while I was a student and too poor to have regular dental checkups. It had snowed that morning, but it wasn't too bad so my daughter and I braved the weather. I'm sitting in the waiting room after I sign-in, and then this young guy in jeans and a hooded sweater starts trying to get my attention and beckons for me to follow him. I gave him a dirty look and told him, "No." Turns out, he was one of the dentists (not the one I had seen at my previous checkup), he just didn't think he was going to have any patients with the snow so he didn't bother wearing his scrubs. 

That was the end of the funny part, but I'll go ahead and finish the rest of the story: then he tried to give me a needle and I panicked because I hate needles and told him to just drill the cavity without anesthesia. He asked me if I ever had a cavity drilled before and if I was sure. I told him no but there was no way I was getting a needle in my mouth, so we just skipped the anesthesia. Turns out it kind of tickles, for me at least.

-Sky Bones 


Dear Reader,

I had braces from the sixth grade until my junior year in high school. It was horrible.

As far as funny stories, when I got my wisdom teeth out, they put me completely under. My memory of this is totally seamless. I remember the dentist leaning over me saying, "Ok, you're going to start to feel sleepy and you can go home now, we're all done." I put up a serious fight for about five minutes. I was all, "no way I'm leaving until you take my teeth out." The doctor finally took a mirror and showed me my swollen mouth full of blood. He asked how it was possible that I was bleeding so much without having any teeth removed. Convinced by his irrefutable logic, I walked out of the room and then I proceeded to ask my mom what time it was every 20 seconds for half an hour until the full effects of the anesthetic wore off.

Also, once while my orthodontist was in the middle of rewiring my braces he asked me, in all seriousness, if I was interested in buying a buffalo. Like a real live buffalo. I was 13 years old.


The Man with a Mustache


Dear Nellie Bly,

I didn't realize how lucky I was - I had braces for a little under a year. I had them while I was still in high school.

I got partially clear braces - the part that was actually attached to my teeth was clear, but the wire that connects all of those pieces was still metallic. I was meticulous about keeping them clean. I just hated the feeling (and look) of having something attached to my teeth, especially if it was dirty. Having them so clean kind of ruined the day I got them off. I walked triumphantly into seminary the day after they were removed to announce to the class that my braces were off, only to get reactions such as, "You had braces?" and "I always thought that was just a retainer."

So I guess it could have been much, much worse.

- Haleakalā


Dear Elizabeth Jane Cochrane,

I had braces for about 2 years, after my mission, while at BYU. The only amusing thing about it is that one of my roommates worked as an assistant at my orthodontist's office, so he would occasionally work on my teeth. That roommate is now a dentist.

-=Optimus Prime=-


Dear Nell:

I had them for about 17 months my junior and senior years of high school.

My orthodontist was my high school crush's father. I was pretty embarrassed when he asked what I'd been up to lately for a retainer check-up and I said something lame like "asking your son out." I don't think he even realized I was in his son's (very small) graduating class.



Dear NB,

I had braces for over seven years. In fairness to my orthodontists, my teeth have shifted very little without having to use retainers, but seven years.

Now you have a little perspective into why I hate the whole world.



Dear Mrs. Cake,

I've never had braces, but I have had Invisalign for the last year and a half of my life. I think I have about 2 months left? In theory. Sadly, I don't think I have any funny dentist stories. 



Dear Nellie Bly,

I had Invisalign because I was afraid of ruining my brass embouchure!  Lame, I know.

Funny dentist stories I don't really have, but I'm not a fan of the nitrous oxide they use because I was a very serious child and acting un-serious around professional adults?  The ultimate sin.  Well, that and the one time I broke down and let them use it on me my hearing went all funny and all I could hear was the background music in the llama/cactus/spinach puffs scene of Emperor's New Groove (it's "The Girl from Ipanema," if you were wondering).  And then everything started spinning and I had to rip the stuff from my face before I passed out.  Eugh.

-Yog in Neverland


Dear Nellie,

I had braces for a little over a year but I loved having them. I think it was because it was in middle school and everyone else had them so it was the "cool" thing at that time. I also only needed rubber bands for around a month and a retainer at night once I got them off. 

As for my dentist story, you'll need a little bit of background info. I HATED needles growing up. A lot of bad experiences caused me to break down if I even started thinking about them. I seriously would hide in my closet whenever I needed to go get blood drawn...and that was in high school. Anyway, I'm 16ish and at the dentist for the first time by myself. The hygienist is cleaning my teeth, says "Oh wow," and leaves the room. She returns with the dentist who then looks at my teeth. He then looks at all the stuff on the tray in the room, leaves, and comes back with something that looks like a syringe. As he sits down and comes towards my face WITH AN UNANNOUNCED NEEDLE, I completely lose it. Instant Niagara Falls on my face. I attempted to scoot off the chair by kicking my legs and flailing my arms. While I was unsuccessful in my escape from the chair, I did manage to completely confuse my dentist.

Turns out it wasn't a needle but some other tool that looks like a mini paintbrush. I assumed the hygienist went to go get the dentist because there was a cavity, but it turns out my molars are impressive or something and she just wanted to show him. Who would have thought?!?



Dear Brace Face,

I seem to recall having them for about three years (my mouth was real messed up). 

And there's nothing funny about braces.

- Beemer Boy

P.S. OK. Not funny, but anecdotal: for those three years there isn't a single picture of me (to my knowledge) smiling with my teeth showing.