Orthodontists Are Evil

Photo by D Sharon Pruitt (http://flic.kr/p/6qFjhn)

Photo by D Sharon Pruitt (http://flic.kr/p/6qFjhn)

Alix Neenan ’12
Features Editor

Photo by D Sharon Pruitt (http://flic.kr/p/6qFjhn)

You know the drill. You wait in an uncomfortable sitting room that reeks of alcohol and toothpaste, with “The Suite Life of Zack and Cody” playing as background noise. There are grimy children scampering around beneath your feet like rats. You would pick up last year’s issue of “Parenting,” but the lady with the mustache beat you to it.

The nurse, dressed in blindingly bright blue scrubs, calls your name. You get up and follow behind her. She seats you down in a plastic-covered plastic chair, and tells you to wait. If you’re lucky, you’ll only have to wait 45 minutes. Of course, the seat that you’re sitting in has no service, whatsoever. That’s so you can’t call the police to rescue you.

You wait and wait and wait (they like having you wait, because it increases tension), and then the orthodontist comes in. They take a quick glance at your teeth, proclaim some sort of problem, and walk out, checking their gold Rolex watch.

The horrors that orthodontists impose on us are both vulgar and unconstitutional. It seems like every time I see a kid walking out, they’re either bloody, crying, holding their jaw in pain, or all of the above.

First, they tell you your teeth are messed up, and that it is vital that you change them. Otherwise, your life will be ruined. Forever. No one with bad teeth ever got anywhere in life. I mean, only the first 30 presidents of our country didn’t have dental care.

Then, they put a miniature medieval torture device to “expand” your mouth. If you’re really lucky, they’ll give you one that wraps around your whole head so people can laugh at you.

After that, they start pulling teeth. 90 percent of them are baby teeth that will fall out anyway, therefore making the painful extraction completely unnecessary. But I hope you’re noticing a pattern here. Everything orthodontists do has no point, whatsoever.

Well, that’s not completely true. All of these “necessary” procedures do have one very important motive behind them: it puts your money into the orthodontist’s pocket. How much money do braces cost? Three thousand dollars! If we do a quick calculation, the metal probably costs $50, maybe $100. Probably about 15 hours are spent putting them on, taking them off, and maintaining them, multiply that by $60 to cover the pay for nurses and secretaries. That leaves the orthodontist a whopping $2050.

But I digress. The next step in your journey to perfect teeth is the most painful (physically and mentally) procedure of all: getting braces on. Not only will they hurt for about 54 days after getting them on, but you won’t be able to have gum, popcorn, and caramel (theoretically, but this law is about as much obeyed as the speed limit). If you do, then if your braces break, it isn’t your orthodontist’s fault, but yours.

They create all of these possible liabilities that create a wall of distrust between you and your parents. They expect you to brush three times a day, floss twice, use fluoridated mouthwash, use regular mouthwash, and wear your retainer for the 10 hours that you sleep.

I don’t know about you, but I consider six hours a good night’s sleep. And I’m definitely not about to let that be ruined by an uncomfortable retainer.

But of course, the fact that the retainer is uncomfortable isn’t the orthodontist’s fault. It’s mine.

But it’s never the orthodontist’s fault! I remember once at a checkup, they thought I had a cavity, and told me to go to my dentist to get it checked out. Uh, yeah. It was just a shadow. I went back to the orthodontist’s a week later, and they didn’t even apologize, but merely said “everyone makes mistakes.” Who do you think you are, Hannah Montana? Nobody’s perfect, but doctors should be. I’m putting my teeth in your hands, and if you can’t even discern a gaping black hole between a slight shadow, I really don’t trust you with laughing gas. At least be willing to take some blame. It would be a lot more reassuring.

And I don’t even want to discuss the inane “Smile Points” club. It’s where, if you come in with your “bag and a good attitude” 50 or so times, you get a $5 gift certificate to Coldstone (which technically, because it has sugar, you aren’t supposed to eat).

This method of silencing the crowds with little trinkets is very reminiscent of Rome, when the lords and kings would pacify the roaring mass, make them forget their pain by giving them theater shows. Or when factory owners would give their workers hams once a year.

This is not okay. We, as independently thinking teenagers, should rise up against the terrible oppression that orthodontists impose on us. We shouldn’t have to wear metal on our teeth for three years. We shouldn’t have to get our teeth pulled. We shouldn’t have to be expected to wear a retainer for 10 hours every night. We have more important things on our mind, like homework, and friends, and figuring out how to get out of 2012 alive. Yeah, straight teeth are nice, but they won’t do you any good if you’re a hobo, friendless, or dead.

And their statistics? “You live three more years if you have good teeth?” Complete propaganda. I won’t believe a word of it. Just look at the oldest people in the world. They probably didn’t have braces. They achieved their high age through a consistent eating and exercising regime, not through good orthodontia.

It’s not right, that our nation has gotten to the point of micro-managing our body so much that we spend thousands upon thousands of dollars on orthodontia. Having perfect teeth won’t give you a perfect life. We are giving our children the completely wrong image when we make them go through mass amounts of pain in order for them to have a “beautiful smile.” If you are truly confident in yourself, your smile will be beautiful, even if it is crooked and yellow.