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The day was here. My trays were in.

I felt ready, anxious but mostly curious. I was not scared, but a slight apprehension prevented me from being totally excited.

I began to think of all the questions I had ask Dr. Jacquie. As a 30-something with an active lifestyle, a boyfriend, and a penchant for cooking and eating and well, spontaneity, I began to wonder: Could I continue martial arts training as usual? Could I swim in the ocean? Would I drool? Would my teeth dry out? Will my face change shape as my teeth take shape?

After a quick briefing about care, and cocktails (tequila!), an assistant showed me my trays. They went on in a snap. Literally. I felt them, but they did not feel painful. They felt tight but I liked it. The initial discomfort reminded me that I was working on my smile, finally taking control of something that had bothered me for years.

Dr. Jacquie walked over to remind me of my new reality: You are wearing braces, she said. Yes, I was. And strangely, it felt really, really good. It reminded me of when I had to wear a retainer at night, after having my braces removed in junior high. I left with a goodie bag of floss, toothpaste, two toothbrushes and a container for my trays.

Day (evening) one went effortlessly. I went straight from Dr. Jacquie s office to the martial arts academy I train at, and put a solid 90 minutes of working out in. I felt fine. My boyfriend (who was intentionally not reminded of my appointment) did not even notice I had them on.

The trays barely hurt; I tried to look at any twinge of pain (which I felt mostly when removing and replacing the retainers) as a reminder that the braces were working. My bottom tray left my most misplaced tooth sore, as it should it had the furthest to move.

My teeth were also tender immediately after removing my trays, making the first few bites of each meal um, interesting. But as quickly as the pain came, it disappeared, and I was able to enjoy my food just as I had before braces.

I was incredibly busy the first few weeks after getting my trays. From coffee shops to concerts, festivals to family feasts, dinners out and meals cooked in, I came equipped with a toothbrush, toothpaste and floss all stuffed into, for the first two weeks, a little plastic Ziplok baggie decorated with yellow, pink and green duckies. I know, classy.

There was a slight change in my speaking voice, but only when I talked too loud or for too long. I could easily get by with a slower-than-usual, deliberate articulation, and go unnoticed. I did feel the trays, they are foreign to my mouth, of course, but this was a lot easier than I thought. So far, so good. Only 15 more trays to go

Next week: No pain, no gain