My older two had their first visit to the orthodontist this week, at the recommendation of our dentist. I thought it was a bit early – the Captain will be 12 next week, and Gal Smiley is only 10 1/2 – but both had alarming-looking sideways teeth on their recent x-rays so we went for the consultation.
Here’s the conversation I had with a nervous Gal Smiley the night before:
Her: What’s going to happen there?
Me: Nothing scary. They will be just looking at your teeth and taking some measurements. At most, they might ask for new x-rays.
Her: Will they be pulling out my teeth?
Me: Definitely not. Even if that’s what he thinks is required, he won’t do that tomorrow. He will give us all the information and we will have time to think about what we want to do.
Her: Do I have to get braces?
Me: We don’t know, but if so, likely not for a while, because you are very young still and you have lots of baby teeth left. We will consider the options, and take our time thinking it over.
So, that was the plan, anyway. Actual events: we went, there were measurements and discussion and a lot of tut-tuts, and next thing you know I’m making an appointment two weeks out for her to have an appliance put in. GAH.
Lest you think the orthodonist is some sort of money-grabbing charlatan, I actually really liked him a lot, and he was very cool about the Captain, saying he just needs time for his mouth to get bigger and there’s no rush and his bite is fine for the moment, so let’s just let him grow a bit and we’ll see.
(Except for the fact that he does need one baby tooth pulled, because the molar above it is breaking loose out the side of his gum, which is SO HORRIFYING TO ME I cannot even type it without squirming, but our dentist can do the tooth pulling in 10 minutes some morning next week, although we may have to literally drag the Nervous Nelly Captain kicking and screaming into the chair to make it happen.)
But for Gal Smiley, her upper palate is smaller than the lower, and she is compensating for the mismatch by shifting her lower jaw to one side, resulting in a noticeable shift in her face that will cause weird jaw growth that is “easy” to fix now, but hard to fix later on, so yes, now it is. She has to have this device like a metal butterfly put into her upper mouth that we will expand with the turn of a key once a day for a month, then she has to keep it in for another six months to set the bone.
I’m trying to be Super! Upbeat! about the whole thing, and not just because I don’t want to seem like the Biggest Lying Mother That Ever Lied after promising her an ortho appointment with little ongoing impact. Also, I didn’t have braces and neither did Sir Monkeypants, so as far as we know, braces are just pretty little things that make your mouth pleasantly sparkly for a year or so. It COULD be true, right?
But the more I think about it, the more I worry – WILL it hurt? Will she drool a lot? Will she talk funny with it in? Will it stop her from eating her favourite foods? Will it stop her from eating altogether? Is it worth it?
Any advice would be welcome.