Thirty White Horses

…on a red hill.  First they champ, then they stamp, then they stand still.”

–Bilbo, “The Hobbit”

Although my horses aren’t – have never been – in neat, orderly rows.  The two front and center like to step forward away from the rest.

I didn’t actually even notice those eager little guys had moved until about my freshman year.  Teeth just weren’t something I thought about.  Besides, since mine aren’t twisted inward or anything crazy like that, I didn’t really think there was anything wrong with them.

But as I got older, I started to notice how mine stuck out a little.  And okay, I didn’t tell anyone, but it really bothered me after a while.  Teeth, to a teenage girl, can be the difference between liking and hating self.

I don’t hate myself.  In fact, I rather like my personality, and for the most part, how I look.  And like I said, as bad teeth go, mine aren’t all that.  They’re clean, they’re white, they’ve never seen a cavity. . .they’re just a little crooked.  I mean, come on – even my wisdom teeth came in straight.  Perhaps crooked teeth are the opportunity cost of them growing in so quickly…I’ve always been older than my years when it comes to teeth.  I lost my first tooth at barely five, and my wisdoms have been in since two years ago.

But ever since I noticed that my teeth weren’t straight, I’ve liked my looks a little less.  But I am not one to be open about that.  I am not emotional; I bury things inside before I realize that they’re there.  By the time I notice them it’s way too late to nip anything in the bud.

Therefore, I stayed silent about my teeth.  No one in my family noticed them much either.  I did develop a habit of pushing on them, blindly hoping that random pressure would do the job of braces.

Yeah, right.

The teeth stayed crooked as I went through high school.  I finally mentioned them to my mom the summer after my junior year.  They had actually been paining me a little, and we were about to have some extra money.

Fix my teeth?


So I waited.  And waited some more.  My teeth left everyone else’s mind, but settled in mine like a chest cold.

I began mentioning it more frequently as I got promising reactions.

Fix my teeth?


We scheduled an orthodontic consult in January.  That was a week ago.

The brochure for the office states that while most orthodontics patients are younger, they treat people into the late adult years.  You’re not weird!  We fix everyone’s teeth.

Apparently fixing everyone’s teeth does not entail treating everyone like they’re their own age.  Thank you, orthodontic assistants, for speaking to me like I’m five.

Although one lady did actually adjust her actions to my age range.  Gotta commend her for that.

Still.  Look at who you’re talking to once in a while.  Don’t I seem tall for elementary school?

As those who have had braces know, those first visits also entail getting instruments that look suspiciously like torture devices stuffed into your lips so they can be stretched (and stretched and stretched) back to reveal your teeth for pictures.  Then you get to view those lovely photographs on a big screen computer monitor.  After that self-esteem boosting experience, you get sticks stuffed into your ears so you’ll hold still for x-rays.  And if that wasn’t enough fun for you, you then get a gag-worthy mouthful of clay so they can make a cast of your mouth, although they’re going to have to do it again in two weeks so they can make sure your teeth haven’t moved.

Do teeth really move that much in two weeks?  And if so, why not make the cast then?  Surely the doctor can draw up a treatment plan using those lovely pictures we took.

But I’m not complaining.  This girl’s teeth will be straight before she graduates college.

Oh yeah…almost forgot about that starting-braces-while-almost-in-college thing.  “You should get them off in two and half years!” they say.  Thanks. . .I’ll be almost twenty.

Oh well…by the time I get them off maybe they’ll think I’m fifteen instead of five.


  1. Very well written article, I can only relate, I still have my braces as well and I am in senior year at high school. And I so agree with you that teeth really can change your attitude towards yourself from liking to hating.

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