Should I get braces?

Dental braces, with a powerchain, removed afte...

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I woke up in the middle of the night because I was laying on something hard – my mouth guard, which I had manage to remove while sleeping (no small feat). But let's go back a bit.

A couple of years ago my dentist referred me to a periodontologist i.e. a gum (and other tooth-supporting structures) specialist. When I found out his address (just off very expensive Harley Street) I shivered, then after enquiring how much my treatment would cost, I nearly fainted.

I failed to find cheaper alternatives, so I submitted myself to (look away now if sensitive to yuckiness) regular scraping of the deep pockets inside my gums (a result of two decades of heavy smoking and fizzy drinks), and learned how to maintain them clean at home.

I was also given a custom-made protective guard to wear around my upper teeth at night, to keep them in place and prevent damage caused by grinding.

When I went for a checkup a few months after finishing my treatment, I was told that there had been visible progress. Well, you'd think he'd say that after what I paid him, but I must say I am indeed pleased. Nobody noticed, but this improvement means that I will hopefully be able to bite into an apple with my own teeth for another few years.

So now all I need is to pay alternate visits to my regular hygienist and the periodontologist's hygienist every three months to keep everything in order.

Although… There is something he mentioned, and I have been thinking about it for several months now: because of gum disease, my front teeth have grown apart, and it could be possible to rectify this with orthodontic care. Which basically means I might be wearing braces at the tender age of 42.

So you lot, stop smoking now, kick the diet coke habit, see a dentist regularly and brush your teeth. I was not so careful and I am (literally) paying now.

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