After scrolling through high school photos this week, 25-year-old Anna Fischer put in her retainer for the first time in ten years.
“I was trying to find this one old picture for my friend’s birthday,” Fischer says. “But once the photos app was open on my computer, I ended up taking a bit of deep dive into the entire recorded history of my life.”
Two hours into this nostalgic and masochistic journey, Fischer was zooming in on Photobooth selfies from 10th grade and running her tongue over her teeth in horror.
“Everyone looks at old photos of themself and thinks that they used to be hotter,” Fischer says. “And we all know that’s just because we can’t see our current selves in a detached light. But the absolutely perfect, rigidly straight pearly whites I had during Spirit Week 2012? That’s not telling any lies.”
After rooting around her room for a few minutes, Fischer located the retainer she hadn’t worn since the week she got her braces off and immediately shoved it into her much-changed mouth.
“It really does hurt,” Fischer says. “But I think that means it’s working. Or it just means the gods of orthodontia are punishing me, which I also do deserve.”
While experts confirm Fischer deserves to suffer, it’s unclear how productive her efforts will be.
“If you saw Anna’s teeth when she came to me, you would not believe,” says Fischer’s former orthodontist, Dr. Sean Hajak. “We had to do a palate expander, we had to do permanent retainers, we had to do rubber bands. She had braces for four years. Four years!”
“All she had to do was sleep in her retainer,” Dr. Hajak added. “That’s all any of them have to do.”
But Fischer is unsympathetic to Dr. Hajak’s pain.
“He got his check,” Fischer says. “I’m the one who has to have ever-increasingly janky teeth for the rest of my life, all because I didn’t elect to do something mildly inconvenient when I was 15-years-old.”
“But I’m going to wear it every night now,” Fischer lisps through her ancient, ill-fitted retainer. “Then one day I’ll look back at pictures from my mid-twenties and say, ‘wow, my teeth are exactly the same!’”
Professional opinion really doubts it.