I was a thumbsucker until I was 12 years old. My mom was mocking me that I’ll be all grown-up, at university when I was still going to suck my thumb. Well, I honestly don’t remember how it happened, but one day I stopped and I never needed that comfort ever again. The more than a decade long intimate time spent with my left thumb left a horrible mark on my life. Now I understand why some parents take it very seriously to make sure that their children stop doing that. As the title suggests and you have guessed it: I have serious problems with my teeth. And obviously not only with my teeth, but with my jawline in general.

These days I am trying to be a better family member, I am trying to call my mum once a week, usually on Friday, before the weekend I have the feeling that I should call. Depending on who is at home I say a few words to everyone. It is usually my niece, who picks up, my mum, who instantly wants to grab the phone from her like a crazy person, and then my sister is also usually delighted to hear that I am on the phone. The topic was my niece’s consultation with the orthodontist. In order to get her braces money is needed. Well, my sister does not have money, she has just changed jobs and she is the worst at keeping track of her spendings. She never knew how to do it, and doesn’t bother to learn it. I can get glimpses of how she spends her money when I am home, and it is bad. My mother spends her pension on my niece, my sister and herself. She uses the tiny money she has to take care of three people and others too. And I know she could always use a bit more money.

I haven’t earned a single penny in the past six and a half months, I have been living off my husband and our savings. Not having money sucks very hard. You can’t focus on things that matter at all as you are trying to reach the basic level of Maslow. I have been trying to get to the second level of Maslow for a very long time. And every so often when I got to it, I would just jump in-between the levels. Well, my sister is the same in that respect. However for her I don’t see too much hope to ever reach further than the second level if ever.

Well, for me health is something I have been trying to establish for fifteen years. It was fifteen years ago that I was told I needed braces. I went to the dentist with the school. I knew I had problems, but I didn’t know how bad it was. I had to go back several times to get several of my teeth fixed. And then the dentist told me: oh, wow, you can’t actually close properly your jaws, they don’t match. Have you ever noticed that while eating? So, she was putting the filling in my tooth, I was supposed to “bite on it” to make sure the shape was good, and then she said: you have a serious a problem, but braces can fix it. Get braces. I told her straight away: I don’t have money to pay for it. She said with health insurance – as I was under 18 – I could get it cheaply. I went home, I told my mum I needed braces. She looked at me and said: oh, your teeth are fine, you don’t need them.

So, I never had them. My mum at that point had stopped brushing her teeth for I don’t know how long. Not because she had fabolous teeth. She stopped taking care of herself slowly, but surely. She did not have the energy and the will. For whom and why? What was the point? All my friends, who have good teeth had parents, who made sure they found a good dentist and took them year after year for check-ups and got braces or not at all, many times if wasn’t needed, they got their problems fixed farly early.

Years, literally years later I understood another aspect of my jaws and teeth. The dentist asked about noticing something at eating. And she was correct. I can only chew on one side, because my jaws simply don’t match in most places, and when they do, they are completely wrong. The teeth are not on top of each other, I guess it can be called a cross-bite. Because of the thumbsucking I also have an open bite. Yes, both. In the past, when I had plus one teeth, my jaws were completely slipping away on each other, I had the worst smile. So, what I learnt is that this is the exact reason why food literally falls out of my mouth every time I eat. I thought I was just clumsy. It was silly that food landed on my shirt every time I ate. My husband finds it funny, because I made fun of it to hide how incredibly bad it is. As you are moving the food around with your tongue, your teeth technically bar it from going outside. Well, my teeth let them fall through, otherwise I would have to make my lips superstiff to keep them in. It is bloody hard, and I need a solution.

As I am old that solution is becoming more and more expensive. I know that. Still, I decided to get proper health care that I need to pay more for to include taking care of my teeth this year. At least to start some treatment. To get consulting. And I am deeply-deeply ashamed of the state my teeth are in. I remember a distant acquaintance of mine once said: you know that a country is not healthy when you look at the teeth of the general public. How true. So, I chose a health insurance and there was a fourteen day opting out period. I received my confirmation on the 19th day stating I couldn’t qualify for the dental treatment I wanted as I am at “risk” of using the service and the insurance company cannot afford that. I would cost them too much. So, I wasn’t informed before I could cancel with them, and now I am stuck with them until the end of the year.

This is what happens when you are honest about needing treatment in a country where health care is not free. What can I do? I got fucked over, I don’t have an income I cannot start it on my own pocket now, as I am living off the one salary my husband gets. Half of it is for renting two rooms and the other half is food, transport and the usual things. At this point we can save from his salary.

I usually read upon illnesses, as I have to. When you can’t afford to be healthy you have to try to do it yourself. This is how I know that the fact that I have a problem with my jaws, give tension to my shoulders and this way I get tension headaches and also migraines. I don’t sleep well, and it is not the pillow. It is the fact that when I sleep on either side of my face I get up in pain, or at least a slight pain. I don’t know when was the last time I was fine for longer than a week. And when I am well, I am positive, productive, happy and get going. I don’t remember that happening for longe than a week in the past fifteen years. How sad, typing that here, my stomach sinks. So, while I am waiting for being in the position to get healthy, I don’t want my niece to suffer. She is only 14, the right time to get braces. The attitude of my mother and sister are so obvious to me, I am hardly suprised: well, if we can’t pay now, it is okay, her teeth can wait 1-2 months, no problem. Well, there is a problem. They will just keep postponing as if health is not important, as if it wasn’t the first thing on the list. If you are not healthy, you have a problem. If you are not 100%, you can’t be 100%. I want my niece to get her braces before school starts again, so when she does have a problem, pain or discomfort it gets figured out before she goes back to her final year before secondary school.

Something I couldn’t get, and would have desperately needed. Maybe it is time to actually get real and see that despite my stupid health insurance how much it would be to get started for me as well. Maybe soon I can build the courage to get a consultation. However I have to say I am deeply scared of the reaction, even if it is a professional, who is supposed to stay professional I know that this country is very famous for its open and direct opinion. So, I just have to be prepared, maybe at this age I can take it better than I would expect it. I am fine with pain, with needles, I have had enough experience having to endure it in all forms and shapes, apart from child birth… But I will never forget not having enough pain killers for my root canal treatment once, a while ago. Let’s hope I get well enough to go to a doctor and take the first step. It is so scary. In the mean time I hope my niece will stay as fearless as she is right now, as I used to be at her age…







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