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ARE YOU PART OF THE PANDEMIC’S PANDENTISTRY BOOM?

SMILE AWAY

Marsha Vickers was never happy with her smile. “I knew I had a weird bite,” she said. “My front and bottom teeth don’t quite touch.” 

But the Providence lawyer thought that was just the way things would always be. “Here I am in my life,” she said. “I have my career, a husband, a child. I have a flow of existence. I couldn’t just stop and get braces.”

SHE COULD!

Then came the COVID-19 pandemic, and with it various health and safety protocols. “Most of them were a nuisance, but a tolerable nuisance,” she said. “I understood social distancing even though it felt alienating. I got a vaccine even though I was a little scared.”

But the most controversial health measure proved to be the one that benefitted her the most. “At first I was very hostile to the idea of masks,” she said. “I was skeptical of their health benefits and concerned that the made people braver than the science thought was advisable. But then I realized that if I was wearing a mask, people couldn’t see my mouth. And then I realized that if people couldn’t see my mouth, maybe it was the perfect time to fix my bite.’

Vickers went straight to the orthodontist and got braces. Nine months later, her bite is better than ever. And not a single person ever suspected. “For my job, I just did phone calls instead of Zooms,” she said. “And whenever I was out, I was masked up.”

OTHERS COULD!

Vickers wasn’t the only one. According to Dr. Asha Granularity of the National Orthodontist Council, who performed Vickers’ procedure, adult braces were up more than 300 percent during the pandemic. And after a slight dip back down, the Delta surge has restarted their popularity. “There is a stigma, yes,” she said. “But there’s no stigma if people can’t tell.“

Vickers says that she suspects that at least two of her colleagues also got behind-the-mask-braces. “Danny, who is one of our paralegals, was so careful about masks, and he’s not that kind of person, so I think there was something else going on. And then there’s Patti. I was talking to her on the phone and thought I detected a slight lisp. That’s a telltale sign.”

“I can neither confirm nor deny,” said Dr. Granularity. “But please say that there was a twinkle in my eye when I said it.”

A TWINKLE IN HER EYE

“And you probably want to know about my last name, too,” the doctor continued. “I know. It’s weird, right? A very specific last name. That’s always my joke. But no, I have no idea of its origin. It’s always been my name.”

“I’m not sure about it either,” said Vickers. “Never thought about it. As far as I understood, this interview was only about braces.”

“What?” said Danny, passing by. “I don’t know anything about that.”

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