Wednesday, March 6, 2013

The Orthodontist

I remember having braces.  Did you have braces?  Because I did.  For nearly three years, I wore giant metal railroad tracks on my teeth and avoided Snickers bars and popcorn like the plague.  After that, I had the retainer.  I had the case for it, too... you remember, the one you had to take to school to stash your phlegmy plastic mold while you chowed down lunch, and then you had to remember not to throw it in the trash can.  And then you had to do the tooth check in the bathroom mirror before you crammed the retainer back on your teeth, because otherwise you'd wind up with pepperoni pizza displayed proudly on your top left front tooth for everyone to stare at all afternoon.

Not that this ever happened to me.

A couple years ago, the dentist started hinting that perhaps, one day, I should take M1 in to see an orthodontist.  At the time, he was barely 8, and there was no way I was hauling my kid to see an orthodontist until he'd lost a few more teeth.

Since then, he's lost precisely one more tooth, for a grand total of 8 teeth lost.

That's right.  My 10-year-old has lost 8 teeth.  Five on the bottom and three on the top.  Still, the 'hints' from the dentist have become less like hints and more like suggestions/recommendations lately, and Oz and I figured it was time to go ahead and get the one free visit to the orthodontist that we'll ever get out of the way.

M1 had his appointment today.  The guy was nice but clearly busy, and he seemed rather surprised that I came prepared with educated questions, which rankled me a bit.  Still, he did answer everything and said that since he's lost so few teeth, there's nothing we can really do yet, anyway.  Come back in 8 months.

M1's teeth aren't all that bad, really.  He's missing one tooth congenitally - one of the four that I'm missing (I'm missing both top lateral incisors as well as my top two wisdom teeth) - and that's what's causing all the commotion.  The dentist and orthodontist seem to think that they should let the other one, which isn't even fully developed and is called a peg lateral, come in, make space using braces, and then insert a fake tooth where the other lateral should be.  Me?  I'm all for yanking the peg lateral and shoving everything together.  The orthodontist also wants to close gap between M1's front teeth and, if necessary, trim the muscle that pushes those teeth apart.  Me?  If you can't flip your tongue sideways and shove it in between your teeth like I used to be able to do (OK, so the tongue flipping is another hereditary thing, but M1 didn't get that... M2 did, though), the gap isn't big enough to worry about.  *I* think it's rather cute, thankyouverymuch.  No overbite.  No underbite.  Plenty of space.  I fail to see what the fuss is about, if I'm honest.

We will go back in eight months.  The consults and any follow-ups after that are complimentary, and there is the possibility that the canine could make the peg lateral come in sideways or other spacing/crowding issues could develop, so I'm not going to say it's a bad idea to keep an eye on things. Still, after what Oz and I went through to get very minor adjustments in the end... well... maybe orthodontics just isn't my cuppa tea.

Any braces experiences that you'd like to share?  Were they worth it for you/your kids/your siblings?


jeannine: waddlee-ah-chaa said...

I never had braces and do not look forward to any such decisions with my children.

Why is it that doctors always seem surprised that we have questions?!

Beth said...

Ohhh I have orthodontia stories. Mine were completely hell, but completely worth it. I had the canine on the bottom left completely twisted sideways and not coming up so they had to do surgery to expose it and attached a bracket and twist it up and pull it out to make it come up, that tooth is still a little shorter than the rest. I had only 1 wisdom tooth, but it was twisted and wayy crooked. I had and overbite and an underbite at the same time. And TJM so bad that they were considering jaw surgery. I had the old head gear you had to wear at night strapped to your face because they had sooo many rubber bands at one point that in it's self was dislocating my jaw.. It was worth it in the long run. Both oral surgeries (even though I pulled the IV and woke during both) and had braces for 4 years because I can eat *most* everything I can eat now and don't have much jaw problems like I did.

Kim said...

I had braces for four years. My teeth were that bad. I just remember by mouth being sore all of the time.

Richard Wright said...

I had a great orthodontist in Edmonton. He really wanted everyone to have great teeth without the embarrassment of braces, so he subsidized his invisalign program as much as he could. Much appreciated Dr. Kennedy!