All Smiles in This Family

21 Mar 2006
March 21, 2006
Teeth, before and after braces

My daughter’s teeth: before and after braces.

“Do my teeth look whiter?” my wife asks, looking at me with a Cheshire grin.

Lately, this has become an ongoing question in our relationship. Suddenly and seemingly out of nowhere she will stop me and bare her teeth. Not a room in the house is safe. This morning it’s at the breakfast table just as I’m sitting down to eat. Her smile is bright as she pours my cup of strong dark coffee. The contrast is striking.

I laugh. This sounds all too familiar. Last year I was the one asking these probing questions. “What do you think? Whiter, huh?” Back then I stayed far away from coffee. Nothing would come between those pearly whites and me. Halfway through my ten days of brightening Crest Whitestrips I expected to be dazzled. And I was hoping others would notice, starting with my Significant Other.

Was it the yellow cast of the bathroom light? I had a hard time seeing any change. Outside consultants were constantly required for verification. I took every opportunity to smile at work, while making sure the reflection did not blind my coworkers. Project management suffers when people can’t see their project management plans.

You know those casual grins at your boss’ jokes? It takes a few weeks to hone that look. You want the smile to seem sincere despite your ulterior motives. But that’s why those strips aren’t instantaneous. You’ve got to ease into your new persona. It takes practice.

“I think my teeth DO look whiter,” my wife continues before I can weigh in. And, yes, I know the “right” answer.

Coincidentally, my eldest daughter just had her braces removed yesterday. What a difference a year and a half of hardware can make. An underbite has turned into a perfect bite. My daughter runs to the bathroom mirror every few minutes to take a look at her makeover. She jockeys for viewing space with her mother.

We are all smiles at our house –uncharacteristically self-absorbed at the moment. I push my coffee away. I’ve got a year before I can safely use those strips again.

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