Dear Dr. Wallace:
I was told by my orthodontist shortly after I got my braces off that I apparently tend to grind my teeth at night. I was told to get a night guard or Invisalign type of product. Both of these options are expensive, and I know this because my mom bought me a night guard, but I lost it at a slumber party in the county next to ours.
I attended this sleepover with a good friend of mine from my school who knows one of the other girls in the next county over. When I realized my night guard was missing, I had her call that home, but nobody there could find it.
Now I’m worried because my mom can’t afford another one. Do I have to wear one, or is there something else I can do? Would it just be all right to do without one of these products?
— Lost My Grinding Protection, via email
Dear Lost My Grinding Protection: Yes, you should get a new one as soon as possible and wear it! Be sure to take good care of the new one and don’t lose it ever again! The good news is a properly cleaned and used night guard should last you for many years.
How to replace it? Seek a part time job babysitting, cleaning your neighbors’ yards or garages or perhaps working at a local store or restaurant. Be sure to garner approval from your mother on this idea first before you proceed. I trust she’ll view your willingness to make up for your mistake favorably.
Dear Dr. Wallace: When I look in the mirror, I see a nice but generally normal face on an average girl. I’m a good student and I have some really nice friends at my school, but I really wish I were more attractive physically.
When will I be prettier? I’m 14 now and I’m not sure if I will ever be considered pretty when I grow up.
— Worried Young Girl, via email
Dear Worried Young Girl: My first suggestion is to walk in front of your mirror the next chance you get and give yourself a truly nice and large smile! It’s amazing how one’s overall facial features change quite favorably when one broadly smiles.
The next time you are walking through a large mall, select a safe person who is going to be walking up to you soon and make eye contact and smile silently at that person as you walk by. Over 95% of the time you’ll get a genuine smile back! Human beings are naturally wired to be sociable and being friendly and smiling is a wonderful attribute that nearly everyone finds very attractive.
Remember, you’ll be found to be attractive to others for reasons that go way, way beyond your physical looks. Yes, do your best to present yourself well with good hygiene, grooming and pride in your appearance, but be sure to focus on the intangibles you have full control of.
It is very important to embrace yourself and acknowledge your inner beauty and to respect and cherish yourself as the wonderful, attractive young lady you already are.
And the good news is that you will grow wiser and more attractive as you develop from an attractive young lady into the beautiful woman you’ll soon be.