Thursday, July 29, 2010

Bigger Picture Moment: Smiling Helps

Welcome to Bigger Picture Moments, a weekly writing event sponsored by Bigger Picture Blogs. We welcome you to join us in finding the Bigger Picture amidst the hectic, everyday craziness in your week.

I had a dentist appointment this week -- one I've been anticipating for quite some time.  It was the jumping off point for some important orthodontic work that will begin to change the way my ill-formed jaws fit together. 

It's necessary work.  It's important. 

And I hate it. 

This first step involved a retainer-like splint on my upper teeth, and it's made me into a whiny, irritated, foolish, adolescent-ish complainer.  I have to wear it constantly -- even while eating -- for the next few months at least, and I'm holding out a faint bit of hope that I'll grow more comfortable with it as time goes on.  Because I'm absolutely not used to it yet.  It didn't look thick or imposing sitting in the dentist's hand, but once in my mouth, clicked into place, it felt enormous.  Speech-impeding, lip-thrusting, teeth-squeezing enormous. 

I don't want to speak because it's hard to form the words correctly, and I don't want to eat because it's hard to chew the food correctly.  If I could only get my mind off of it....but I can think of almost nothing else except this fat, molded, plastic thing stuck to my teeth.

And if the awkward discomfort of having an unwieldy piece of plastic in my mouth at all times weren't enough, I'm also frustrated with its appearance.  I'm being vain and self-centered, but darn it, THAT THING IS UGLY!  I'm not a teenager, so why do I have to wear appliances on my teeth?!  I don't want it. 

But here's the part that's really gotten to me:

There is one thing that makes this splint more comfortable, if only momentarily.  One thing that takes away the irritation and awkwardness.


When I break into a wide smile, my lips pull up and away from the foreign plastic, my cheeks scoot back, and my tongue rests happily centered in my mouth. 

Smiling helps.

Now if I could just stop being so grumpy and worried about how the stupid thing looks, I might be able to smile more often. 

But isn't that the case with everything irritating in life?  A simple smile works like a tonic to a sharp-edged day.  It eases the tension and points towards hope.  It floats off of one face and onto another.  It promises a sweet ending to a grumpy mood. 

Smiling helps. 

I'll try.

Corinne at Trains, Tutus, and Tea Time is hosting Bigger Picture Moments this week; link up and share your moment with us! All are welcome!


  1. What a great little life lesson (although found while enduring some unfortunate discomfort!) My brother had a similar apparatus in his mouth when we were kids and I felt terrible for him throughout the process. Hope you acclimate to it quickly. Keep smiling! :)

  2. :)
    Love that smiling helps...
    Hang in there. I practically grew up in the dentist/orthodontist chair and have little to show for it! I probably need braces again, and an abundance of other work, but I've been procrastinating my visit...
    But I digress.
    It will be worth it! Hope the discomfort lessens soon!

  3. Sorry about the awful dental contraption, but what a great piece. Smiling does make it easier. In the midst of a crazy year, i found myself often laughing and when others wondered how I could laugh at the seemingly unending stream of misfortune, i would say, it's that or crying. Better to laugh.

  4. LOVE this! Such an awesome piece, though I'm sorry you have to deal with such a contraption in your mouth. Hopefully this will pass soon and that when it does you hardly remember it. :)

  5. oh, that sounds no fun.

    gives new meaning to the phrase "grin and bear it"!

    hope you're well soon:)

  6. i bet that smile helps more than just you feel better.
    great post!

  7. Aww, I had braces and now I think I ned them again. Only for a couple months, but still. Not looking forward to it.

    Love the lesson here. Just the act of smiling can help change a mood. :)

  8. I like the irony – the discomfort you feel in your mouth is giving you a reason to smile, because “smiling helps.”

    And the imagery of the infectious smile is perfect: “It floats off of one face and onto another. “ Floating, as if weightless and effortless. And it is.

  9. I love that smiling gives you some comfort while also being a comfort to those around you. (And I wore my retainers from my high-school-braces years until well after I got married. You'll get used to it, and soon you'll feel strange without it!)


Hmm...And how did that make you FEEL?