When I was in 3rd grade, around the time the other kids were sporting jack-o-lantern smiles, I was informed that I did not have all of my adult teeth. In fact, I was missing four. This was really no big deal at the time, because everyone my age was missing one here or there. I also proudly repped a lovely gap between my two front teeth, which I could shove a straw in – which was cool.
The dentist told me that he had to pull those baby teeth – the incisors – so that he could straighten my smile and put me in braces for 8 years. I vaguely remember this. More than anything I remember these bright neon t-shirts that had a dinosaur with braces on them. All the patients got one, and so my sister, who was enjoying her full-braced, frizzy hair 80’s adolescence at the time, and I wore them, of course on different days. When I received my full mouth of braces, I changed the colors seasonally and got these cute little fake teeth put in the place of the holes that would never come in. They just kind of hung on those braces, like a bite from an apple. Since I was lucky enough to wear braces from 3rd grade to 10th grade, I didn’t even notice. But of course, all good things must come to an end, and the day I got those bad boys off I understood that I truly did have two holes in my smile. I cried when I got my braces off. At this point, it was no longer acceptable to be missing teeth – I was in high school for gods sake. The orthodontist tried to ease my sadness with a retainer that I could flip out of my mouth, holding on to two little kernels of corn.
That’s when Dr. Hoedt came along. A basketball friend’s dentist dad somehow got wind of my situation and offered to make me temporary bridges – something a little more permanent than a flipper retainer and would fill the gaps until I could get adult implants. Thus he installed the bridges prefacing it by saying that they were only meant to last a year or two. They were attached to each neighboring tooth and looked relatively real, (at least that’s what all you nice folks said). Eight years later, they finally started to fall apart, as if telling me it was time to get serious and grow up.
They call my condition ‘congenitally missing teeth’ (CMT) aka I got the short end of the oral gene stick in my family. But now, as an adult, I’ve come to have an affinity for my congenitally missing teeth. They are my quirk; my weird thing that you would never know about me unless you too had congenitally missing teeth, in which case you would know what to look for in others’ dental composition.
Monday, I finally had my temporary/permanent bridges removed and Tuesday, I had my dental implants installed. It’s not a very short description when trying to explain A. why I look like a chipmunk, B. why I now have an Invisalign retainer with two pieces of wax posing as teeth for the next six months while the implants heal (ahh how technology has evolved) and C. that no, my implants are in my mouth.
History of Dental Implants: I’m pretty sure the guy on the Clear Choice billboard that hovers over Broadway and 5th (Denver) sums it up:
It’s also become a running joke in the office, too. I had this put on my desk the other day.
This sign was hanging out in the warehouse were we get our signage done – my friend took a pic and printed it for me. Always on my mind, she says.
It’s also been referenced in meetings – I was comparing a short term, piecemeal solution to a long term, off-the-shelf, ever customizable solution for e-marketing. I said, it’s like bridges are to implants. Bridges may be quick to get and look great for 15-20 years, but your definitely going to have to get them redone, where implants last forever – in fact, they’ll out last me.
Bridges are to Implants, as Exact Target is to Eloqua:
As I’ve been working on my business, trying to define what Claire Blue Ideas is and what it’s all about, I keep hitting the same wall. By trying to brand my sole proprietorship, I am essentially trying to brand myself. Am I a digital marketer or a writer? What do I want potential clients to know about me and my capabilities? Do I market my personality or my portfolio? Can I do both separately or together? What about my interest in writing outdoor adventure editorials? How does that fit into the mix. And this blog, The Weekend Warrior – well, originally it was just supposed to be about adventure sports. But my job as a marketing consultant is such a big part of my everyday life, how could I possibly exclude it from my blog? So then, should I have three separate blogs? One on adventure sports, one portfolio and one about digital marketing? Finally, how do you define the umbrella in which Claire fits under?
Going through a branding exercise for me and my business has been bogging me down, and even depressing me a bit. I am like a disjointedness pie chart – there are too many pieces and I don’t know which is my X or Y axis. And to be perfectly honest, my audience is really just the people that know me. My loyal readers. You guys. And you guys read my blog for probably no other reason than because I pester you with Facebook updates and emails. Yet you email me, respond and comment and tell me something was funny or confusing or misspelled. And you do it almost every single time I write. And I think, wow, maybe it doesn’t matter that the name of this blog is almost completely irrelevant to its content. Maybe it should just be my name, because truly, my readers are really just my friends of past and present, co-workers and colleagues, family and the occasional Google searcher who randomly typed a keyword that I randomly matched my metadata.
So doesn’t it make sense that my brand be something that is wholly me? Something that has been with me from the beginning? The one thing that has been an ongoing source of humor, contention and wierd stories from the start? My brand is really just the foundation of who I am – a congenitally toothless girl.
The implant surgery that I had on Tuesday signifies an end of an era. My removeable teeth will soon be a thing of the past; I’ll completely forget about all of the retainers and braces and off-colored porcelain and denture picks and threaded dental floss. In six months, I’ll be able to floss straight up and down for the first time ever. But even though those implants will look and feel real and will last forever — we will all know that they are still just my fake teeth.