3:03 I’m 51 years old, and I wear braces. Some days, I almost forget I have them on. Other times, when I’m doing something outwardly grown-up, like buying wine or meeting with my daughter’s fifth-grade teacher, I’m achingly aware that my teeth are sporting accessories usually seen on kids who don’t remember a time before YouTube.But I’m not alone. The American Association of Orthodontists reports that as of 2016, 28 percent of the patients being treated by its members are over 18. That’s more than 1.6 million people. And I can tell you from experience that many of them have probably wondered at least once if they’re too old for this.I’ve been down this metal-mouthed road before. The first time I had braces, I was 13 years old, it was the 1980s and, unlike today, braces didn’t even attempt to disguise what they were.Back then, braces were silver, they couldn’t be hidden, and it seemed like orthodontists weren’t even trying. There were none of these clear brackets, or see-through, removable aligners, or rainbow-colored elastic bands to match your school colors. No one thought to put braces on the back of your teeth. Get real, kid.I didn’t even go to an orthodontist for my first set of braces. My regular dentist told my mother he could handle it himself. I’m not sure that’s a choice an informed patient would make today. But again, 1980s.With my 9-year-old daughter, Kelly, on a bullet train in Japan just weeks after I got braces. Of the two of us, Kelly would seem the more appropriate age for orthodontics, but I’ve since learned that “appropriate” is relative. Gael Fashingbauer Cooper My teenage braces did their job. My teeth look fairly straight in my college photos and my wedding album. But I never had a retainer or any follow-up treatment. I mentally put braces in the past, with acne and algebra, and moved on.But as the years went by, I noticed what I called an “overbite” and what I later learned was really an “overjet.” In an overbite, the upper teeth overlap the lower. In an overjet, the teeth kind of lean forward. No one ever called it out to me — thank you friends for not being jerks — but in this age of social media, I began to hate selfies, to wonder why smiling didn’t come naturally to me, and to stare at my friends’ dazzling Facebook grins with envy.It’s embarrassing to write this, but I saw my overjet as a personal failure, on par with getting a cavity for not brushing. Somehow in my head, admitting that I needed orthodontic treatment was like admitting I messed up. It sounds stupid when I write it down — it’s not like I caused it by yanking my teeth apart with a crowbar — but there it is. I still remember how tears caught in my throat over a decade ago, the first time I asked a dentist for an orthodontist referral. Comments And as promised, the braces are working. With 20 months down and about four to go, I can see that the overjet has shrunk to nearly nothing. The gaps where the extracted teeth once were have filled in. And I notice surprising changes every day. My lips now make more of a model-esque Cupid’s bow, something I used to envy in Facebook photos of others. Both edges of my smile rise up evenly now. I’m slowly acquiring the look I envied in those photogenic friends, even if only I notice it.Dr. Brent Larson, the president of the American Association of Orthodontists, and Dr. Lee Graber, secretary-general of the World Federation of Orthodontics, patiently took me through the changes in braces technology over the years, and answered all my questions about adult orthodontics.”As long as you’re alive, teeth can move,” Dr. Larson said.Dr. Graber told me his oldest orthodontics patient was 88, was delighted with his braces, and is now “still going strong into his 90s.”But it wasn’t the technology changes that finally made me decide to get braces at 50. I had to cross a mental line that I honestly didn’t think I could ever get myself over. And maybe you have your own mental line. It might not be braces, but it’s some kind of risk that for whatever reason, is important to you. Maybe it doesn’t matter to anyone else, but you think about it all the time, and wonder if you can ever force yourself to make it happen.The braces on the left date to 1929, and feature actual gold bands on the top teeth. They’re a heck of a lot less subtle than the modern braces on the right, which like mine, feature translucent brackets. Even the wires are impressive: They’re heat-activated nickel-titanium wires developed with help from NASA. American Association of Orthodontists I read recently that Warren Buffett, the Nebraska billionaire, reportedly has three boxes on his desk — IN, OUT and TOO HARD. Who can’t relate to that? I mentally put “braces” in my TOO HARD box for years and years.Not all life improvements are doable. Money prevents us from some. Family or job responsibilities eliminate others. But somewhere in your mental TOO HARD box, there might be a big dream you can actually accomplish.When people would write in to Dear Abby and say they dreamed of going back to college, but worried that they’d be however-many years old when they graduated, they’d get the blunt response: “How old would you be by then if you didn’t get your degree?”The point was clear: You can keep growing and changing and improving yourself as you age, or you can get older and always regret never taking the plunge.If you need to point to someone who discovered that it wasn’t too late to make a major change in her life, you can point to me.I’m 51 years old, and I wear braces. Share your voice Tags Top 5 foods I’ll devour after braces 2 Culture Wellness Now playing: Watch this: I still remember how tears caught in my throat over a decade ago, the first time I asked a dentist for an orthodontist referral. I kept that little green card for probably a year — the hygienist had casually scribbled on it, “severe overbite.” My teeth weren’t causing me any physical issues, but that one word, “severe,” made me think I was a lost cause. It didn’t help that she also cheerily remarked that an orthodontist would probably have to break my jaw to treat my teeth. What? Am I torture-victim Theon in Game of Thrones? Eventually, I threw the card away and tried not to think about it.You know how you can set email reminders to pop up regularly, daily or weekly or whatever? For about three years, I had a reminder that popped up every Wednesday that just said “call about ortho.” And like a tired kid punching the snooze alarm, I slammed it shut and did nothing. I slept on it for literally years. Zzzzz…I can’t believe my boss made me share this photo, but here I am in 1982, the first time I had braces. The brackets were not see-through and subtle like brackets are today. Gael Fashingbauer Cooper It was my husband, who also had braces in the 1980s, who actually woke me up. His top teeth are an orthodontist’s dream, but a few bottom teeth are now crooked. They bothered him, but rather than ignore the issue for a decade like I did, he decided to take action immediately, simply walking into an orthodontist’s office and signing up for a consultation.He convinced me to make an appointment, and I was blown away by how different the experience was from what I had dreaded. The staff was exceptionally friendly, the office was clean, crisp and high-tech, the treatment methods today were as different from those of the 1980s as dial-up internet is from broadband. Brackets are now clear, X-rays are digital, appliances are smaller and more comfortable.But at nearly 50, was I just too old for braces?My treatment wasn’t going to be easy. I couldn’t get away with clear aligners such as Invisalign, my teeth needed more. But that early hygienist had been wrong: No one would need to break my jaw.I did need two teeth extracted to make room for the teeth to move, and believe me, that was the worst part of this experience that’s now going on two years. The teeth were healthy, solid adult teeth that did not want to be evicted, and having them pulled was one of the most unnatural and disturbing experiences I can remember.”That was among the top 10 toughest extractions of my career,” my dentist later told me. You and me both, sister.After the extractions healed, on went the braces. My new orthodontist installed clear brackets, a huge improvement on the silver ones I had as a kid. The clunky silver wire that helped give old-school braces their train-tracks nickname is still there, yes. But in some photos, it’s not clear on first glance I have anything on my teeth at all.Enlarge ImageI’m not the only one at CNET who’s worn braces as an adult. Here’s Iyaz Akhtar showing off his shiny smile at Google headquarters in 2018. He’s since had his braces removed. Iyaz Akhtar This path to a better smile ain’t cheap. A spokesperson for the American Association of Orthodontists said that while her group doesn’t collect information on average costs, the American Dental Association does. In a 2016 survey, that group reported that fees for comprehensive treatment of adolescents ranged from $4,978 to $6,900, and that the range for adults was slightly higher, ranging from $5,100 to $7,045.I had to squeeze my savings to come up with a decent down payment, and there’s a monthly bill similar to a car payment. My dental insurance doesn’t cover any of it, and sometimes, it’s a scramble to pay.Plus, braces require more constant upkeep than I’d have given them as a teen.I can’t eat certain things, from the obvious (caramels or corn on the cob) to the surprising (certain cereals and even rice are a horror to floss out). Cleaning my teeth requires special disposable flossers that I buy online. Brackets pop loose. Wires poke me. Monthly appointments to tighten the braces leave me popping Advil and eating soup. As a teen, I probably would’ve dramatically thrown myself on the bed and demanded to know why my parents were putting me through this.But I’m 51 now, and my sense of what’s painful in life has been tempered by real experiences. I’ve lost loved ones. I’ve worried over biopsies. Two years of dental inconvenience doesn’t make my own top 10 list of life hardships, or maybe even my top 100.
The best San Diego Comic-Con celebrity disguises This created a massive problem for Comic-Con’s security team and fire marshals. An enormous crowd of people that should have been moving like normal was now standing completely still, and all the exits were being blocked by fans trying to get through this terrifying wall of human flesh.The photo op only lasted a few minutes before security broke it up. So even though many of us snapped a few photos, it was impossible to get the full shot of all the Leias at once. Now if you want to get photos of massive meet-ups between Marvel superheroes, Star Wars Stormtroopers and everything in between, Comic-Con makes it a rule to have these cosplayer photo ops happen outside the building. 7. A fan gets stabbed in the eyeNot everything at Comic-Con is fun. When lines grow longer and the celebrity panels are harder to gain entrance to, fans can find themselves in dangerous situations. In 2010, I spent a lot of time in Hall H, covering panels for StarWars.com and other geeky news outlets. I took quite a few breaks to leave the giant room, unlike the more hardcore fans who refused to leave their seats.Fans who decided to stay the full day inside the room found themselves in the middle of a crime scene when one fan stabbed another fan in the eye with a pen over a seat. This room seats over 6,000 people, and usually there are twice that many people waiting in line to get in. So tensions run high. The attacked man recovered, but the pen stabber was arrested for assault. In true Comic-Con fashion, the next day a few cosplayers decided to dress up as a fan stabbed in the eye. There’s no such thing as “too soon” where Comic-Con gallows humor is concerned. 8. Getting a hug from George R.R. MartinGeorge R.R. Martin gives the best hugs. Bonnie Burton/CNET Game of Thrones first aired on HBO in 2011, and author George R.R. Martin was just starting to become a household name back in 2012. I was attending a private party held by Big Bang Theory co-creator Bill Prady at Comic-Con that year and was delighted to learn Martin would be there. I loved Martin’s books long before the TV series came out, but I was also such a diehard fan that I ended up writing a scathing letter to the editor of The New York Times when a TV critic accused Game of Thrones of having romance so women would tune in. When Martin’s publicist found out I was at the party, he came over and said Martin wanted to thank me for writing that letter — which was pretty amazing considering I didn’t have the courage to say hello on my own. Martin told me he appreciated me standing up for female fans of the show and gave me an Iron Islands copper coin featuring the image of Balon Greyjoy. I also got one heck of a hug. 9. Bringing down the house in Geek Girls panelsHere I am sitting next to geek girl goddess Adrianne Curry dressed as Leeloo from The Fifth Element on one of the many geek girl panels at Comic-Con. Bonnie Burton/CNET Female fans of Star Wars, Star Trek, Doctor Who and so many other properties are constantly having to prove their geekdom. In 2012, women at Comic-Con were routinely accused of being “Fake Geek Girls” and, in response, Comic-Con featured quite a few panels focusing on female fandom to remind the guys we weren’t going anywhere. I was honored to be on a few of these panels alongside female actors, writers, directors, comic book creators and celebs. In one of my favorite memories, I sat next to America’s Next Top Model winner and avid cosplayer Adrianne Curry, who was dressed as Leeloo from the movie The Fifth Element. Curry talked at length about her love and knowledge of all things Star Wars, video games and sci-fi in general. It was refreshing to see a woman, who also happened to be a reality TV star, stand up to harassment and wave her geek pride flag for all to see. Back then, geek girls were treated like a novelty instead of the norm. So these kinds of panels were a great way to remind everyone that female fans knew their stuff. We weren’t showing off our fandom to impress the guys, we were celebrating our geeky obsessions as equals. 10. Jane Wiedlin and Milo Ventimiglia become honorary StormtroopersThis Is Us actor Milo Ventimiglia gets inducted into the 501st Legion at Comic-Con. Bonnie Burton/CNET When you see celebs geek out over the same things you do, there’s a sense of solidarity that can’t be matched. At Comic-Con, it’s fun to see A-list actors freak out over the latest Star Wars Lego set, or get tongue-tied around their favorite comic book artist. Enlarge ImageGo-Go’s band member Jane Wiedlin proudly holds up her 501st Legion plaque. Bonnie Burton/CNET Over the years at Comic-Con, I helped the official Star Wars Stormtrooper cosplayer group the 501st Legion with a few honorary inductions for celebrities. These are always meant to be a surprise for the celebrity nominated by the group, and can be tricky to pull off at Comic-Con.Usually, celebrities are ambushed at Comic-Con by a group of Stormtroopers who present them with a 501st Legion plaque and badge. It’s a huge honor for any Star Wars fan, and the celebrity in question is always delightfully shocked by the impromptu ceremony. In 2009, I was at Comic-Con to help present Go-Go’s band member Jane Wiedlin and This is Us actor Milo Ventimiglia with their honorary inductions into the 501st Legion. The ceremonies took place on different days during the convention but still managed to surprise Wiedlin and Ventimiglia, who were both gobsmacked.While not everyone can be honored by Stormtroopers, it’s a fun reminder that even the celebs you admire the most love geeky movies or TV shows as much as you do. Survival tips from Adam Savage, Jim Lee and more insiders Comic-Con is nearly 50: A glimpse of pop culture at its start First-time cosplay is terrifying, complicated and exhilarating Game of Thrones writers Benioff and Weiss pull out of panel Post a comment 62 Photos TV and Movies Comics Tags 3:00 Now playing: Watch this: The last time I attended one of Savage’s Comic-Con parties, it was in a packed nightclub where all his past cosplay costumes were on display. I was in a VIP area surrounded by fans and a few celebrities like director Guillermo del Toro. Savage’s parties are a good way to see your favorite geeky celebs in one place, if you can get in. Pro tip: If you really want to see celebs in party mode, hang around outside the Hard Rock Hotel on Saturday nights for the Entertainment Weekly party. It’s usually the hottest ticket for celebs who want to let loose without the paparazzi harassing them. The year I attended the party, I sat at one of the outdoor fire pits next to The X-Files star Gillian Anderson and Sherlock co-creator and actor Mark Gatiss. 6. Slave Leia photoshoot brings Comic-Con to a standstillThis is only a small section of the large gathering of Slave Leia cosplayers at Comic-Con. Bonnie Burton/CNET Every year, at the Lucasfilm area on the convention floor, cosplayers will gather to take an epic group shot. Usually it’s Stormtroopers or all the Jedi Masters posing en masse for fans to snap photos. But in 2009, there seemed to be a record number of Slave Leia cosplayers. Not just women but men donning the sexy costume made famous by Carrie Fisher in Return of the Jedi. Almost 100 Slave Leias gathered to pose with a giant Jabba the Hutt statue proudly standing inside the Lucasfilm area. When that many Slave Leia cosplayers show up in one small area for a photo op, you can imagine how many fans refused to budge. Not only were no fans moving, more of them were rushing to the spot to see if they could get the best angle for a photo. The best San Diego Comic-Con celebrity disguises Share your voice It’s not San Diego Comic-Con unless you’re surrounded by Star Wars cosplayers. Bonnie Burton/CNET I’ve been attending San Diego Comic-Con for over 20 years — as an author, Lucasfilm employee and hard-core comics and pop culture fan — and every year seems crazier than the last. Sadly, I’m not attending this year’s event, so I’m feeling a little nostalgic recalling some of the wackiest things that have happened to me at the convention. Ready? Here we go… 1. Stan Lee and Mark Hamill singing me Happy BirthdayStan Lee on one of the many comic book convention panels promoting his World of Heroes YouTube channel. Bonnie Burton/CNET My birthday falls in July, so I’ve often spent it at SDCC. One time, a waiter dressed like Batman brought me a birthday cake, and another time I used a lightsaber replica to hit a pinata shaped like Darth Vader on a friend’s houseboat. But one of my favorite birthday memories from Comic-Con involves Star Wars actor Mark Hamill and the late, great Marvel superhero comics creator Stan Lee.In 2012, Lee was briefly my boss when I created and hosted a web series called Geek DIY for his YouTube network World of Heroes.During our World of Heroes press tour, I was on a Comic-Con panel in one of the biggest convention rooms, Hall H, with Lee, Mark Hamill and a few others who had shows on Lee’s network. I was anxious about talking in front of a room full of comic book fans and thrilled to be breathing the same air as Lee and Hamill.As fate would have it, it was my 40th birthday that day, and when I told Lee he gave me a huge hug and urged me not to be nervous. We took the stage and sat down. Then Lee winked at me and told the crowd to sing Happy Birthday to me. Both Lee and Hamill led the audience in a very special happy birthday sing-a-long, which still can’t be beat as one of my best SDCC memories ever. 2. Meeting the real Loki by accident At Comic-Con, it’s not uncommon to see cosplayers looking like such dead ringers for Tony Stark, Wonder Woman, Shazam or Thor you do a double-take and think they’re the very characters you’ve seen on screen. In 2013, I found myself enthralled with a cosplayer dressed as Loki. Everyone was just starting to catch Avengers fever with Marvel superhero movies like Iron Man, Thor and Captain America. Thor: The Dark World was about to come out, and fans were buzzing with excitement at Comic-Con. I was in the secret labyrinth of hallways inside the San Diego Convention Center trying my best to get to a panel. Sometimes, if you know the right security people, they’ll let you take a shortcut through these halls, which are often used by celebrities avoiding crowded hallways full of fans jostling for autographs or coveted selfies. As I was rushing behind the stage, I almost ran right into an impressive cosplayer dressed as Loki — the Asgardian god of mischief and adopted half-brother of Thor. The cosplayer not only had the perfect Loki costume, he could have been the twin of Tom Hiddleston, who portrayed him in the movies. He even had the actor’s British accent down perfectly.I said, “Wow, your Loki cosplay is killer!”He responded, “Thank you. That’s very kind of you to say.” Then he walked off toward Hall H with a few people around him, hurrying him away. The very best cosplay we saw at Comic-Con 2019 After my panel, I found out Hiddleston had stormed the Hall H stage dressed like Loki as a surprise for fans. It was during Marvel’s panel to promote Thor: The Dark World.Turns out I didn’t compliment a random Loki cosplayer. I complimented Hiddleston himself! Loki probably would have found that amusing.3. Chewbacca actor Peter Mayhew saying hi to my Chewbacca puppetActor Peter Mayhew poses with my Chewbacca sock puppet from my Star Wars Craft Book. Bonnie Burton When I worked at Lucasfilm as a senior editor for StarWars.com, I always felt honored when my path crossed with that of late Chewbacca actor Peter Mayhew. Whenever he visited Lucasfilm headquarters or attended one of the many comic book conventions I went to, Mayhew always said hello and gave me one of his famous Wookiee hugs.When I was doing the first book signing for my Star Wars Craft Book at SDCC in 2011, I was super nervous about meeting fans as an author. Mayhew stopped by to say hello and pose for a photo holding my Chewbacca sock puppet. His visit to my signing gave me the much needed confidence boost I needed to chat with fellow fans who wanted my signature.4. Star Wars Revenge of the Sith movie title revealIn 2004, I was backstage when Lucasfilm made a big announcement — the name of its next Star Wars film, Revenge of the Sith. Back then internet spoilers weren’t a thing; and social media hadn’t taken over our lives. So it was still a big deal when a movie name — especially for something as big as Star Wars — was revealed.Back in 2004, Saturdays at Comic-Con were called “Star Wars Saturdays” and everyone in Hall H expected surprises. Fans in Hall H that day were treated to video montages of behind-the-scenes moments during filming with actors Ewan McGregor playing Obi-Wan Kenobi and Hayden Christensen as Anakin Skywalker. Finally, after the last montage video, the movie’s title was revealed to the world and the crowd went wild. Over 6,000 fans screamed the name of the movie over and over. Originally published July 18, 9:09 a.m. PT. Now playing: Watch this: Comic-Con When the house lights came up, the panel’s host wore a black T-shirt with the movie’s new title in red. The second he said the limited-edition T-shirt was on sale at the Star Wars store on the show floor, people jumped from their chairs and ran for the doors to get theirs. I ended up volunteering at the store to make sure the excited mob of Star Wars fans didn’t trample anyone in the process. It was both terrifying and thrilling.5. Partying with Adam SavageIf you ever party with Adam Savage make sure you get a selfie. Bonnie Burton/CNET These days, celebrity-infested parties are common, but in the mid-2000s it was pretty rare to see TV and movie stars mingle with fans at SDCC social functions. One of my favorite parties was thrown annually by MythBusters co-host Adam Savage. I had worked with Savage when he was at ILM and I was at Lucasfilm. We became fast friends, and when he became a MythBusters megastar, he would invite his pals to his hotel room for a small, friendly gathering over the years. At these private parties, I would meet fellow geeks, but also the original cast of Mystery Science Theater 3000, Star Trek actors, beloved voice actors, prominent scientists and popular comedians. But soon his intimate gatherings started to get bigger and he couldn’t accommodate all the guests in his hotel room. He moved his party to a slightly bigger hotel room, then later to a conference room, then to a restaurant and eventually a nightclub. More Comic-Con 2019 3:00 0 DC Comics Wonder Woman Stan Lee Mark Hamill Marvel Batman Thor Captain America Doctor Who Star Trek Star Wars Iron Man The Avengers
Share Posted by Thursday, October 25, 2018 Industry vet appointed as new Regional President of UNIGLOBE Travel (Eastern Canada) TORONTO — A former Air Canada Vacations executive has been announced as the new Regional President of the UNIGLOBE Eastern Canada Region, effective immediately.Dean Dacko, whose career includes five years as Director of Marketing for ACV, will be directly responsible for the continued growth and success of the region with a primary focus on new business development, brand marketing and building relations with all stakeholders, domestically and internationally.Prior to his new role, Dacko also spent nine years as Vice President of Travel Solutions for Carlson Marketing, and three years as Senior Vice President, Head of Marketing and Product for Malaysia Airlines, where he was responsible for the crisis management and business continuity programs during the twin tragedies of MH370 and MH17. He also served several other executive roles at Budget Rent a Car Canada, and Just Vacations Ltd.Most recently, he acted as Chief Commercial Officer of New Leaf Travel Company where he helped establish NewLeaf as the newest ultra low-cost airline in Canada, which was subsequently acquired by Flair Airlines.More news: CIE Tours launches first-ever River Cruise CollectionDacko will be located at the UNIGLOBE Travel (Eastern Canada) headquarters in Mississauga and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Tags: Air Canada Vacations, UNIGLOBE Travelweek Group << Previous PostNext Post >>