Braces Off!

Our middle daughter, Gal Smiley, got her braces off earlier this week. Like many things regarding children, it felt like both forever and just yesterday since she’d had them put on. Needless to say, she’s overjoyed to have them removed and celebrated by eating all the chewy, sticky candy she could, all week long.

Now that we are through the process, I’m still not sure we should have done it and likely I will have ongoing guilt about it for an unreasonable amount of time. She does look amazing, and our orthodontist is both cool and capable, and the whole process was very smooth and easy. If you’re going to do braces, you really can’t ask for better.

But I have to say, her “before” and “after” photos aren’t really that different. In theory she had a bit of a side-bite that was fixed, and one oddly twisted front incisor is now perfectly straight. She still looks pretty much the same though, unlike in this YouTube video, recently shared by Chris Hadfield (so you know it is awesome):

Now she’s up for a literal lifetime of a) wearing her retainer in the evenings and overnight, and b) having a permanent retainer wire on the back of her bottom teeth.

Was it worth it?

Let us review. The Pros:

  • really nice teeth
  • managed to keep her away from candy for almost two years

The Cons:

  • two years of feeling self-conscious when smiling
  • occasional pain
  • permanent retaining wire (preventing FLOSSING, which I am obessive about, so this is upsetting) and retainer
  • in theory, additional brushing and managing of elastics and other braces care things, which Gal Smiley literally NEVER did, so this one is kind of a wash.

I don’t know where that ends up. I asked her about it, and she says she thinks it was worth it, but that it’s maybe too soon to tell.

We have one more kid coming up so I’ve been thinking about this a lot. We’ve already been getting noise from our dentist about an ortho referral, but she is just-turned-12 and still has only lost 8 baby teeth, so I’m thinking it’s way too early. And like her sister, she has some crooked teeth but no serious problems and maybe they will sort themselves out if we just let her grow up a bit, and get a bit bigger, and get some more adult teeth.

Giving it time seems like a good idea.

And then, we’ll only do braces if it is something SHE wants – and is willing to OCCASIONALLY wear her elastics in pursuit of her own goal of straight teeth, SO HELP ME.

3 thoughts on “Braces Off!

  1. Our oldest is one of a very small number of people born without enough “adult” teeth in his head. He is short 5 teeth, and will need a combination of clever repositioning (I think his eye teeth become incisors or something?) and implants to have a “normal” smile. At 6 teeth missing, the government pays for it… am I a bad dad for wishing he was missing just one more tooth? 😀

    In any event, we are not looking forward to orthodontic work, but we at least have the guilt-free knowledge that he MUST have it done in order to have any semblance of a “normal” mouth. There’s no wondering if we did it for the right reasons or not. Sorry you’re feeling guilt, but you’re going to have to take her at her word that she thinks it was worth it! Chin up, you done just fine, mama!

  2. Shan

    Yay on the braces off!

    Abby also has a permanent retainer, top and bottom and she uses floss threaders by Gum that she gets from her ortho and our dentist (they say they are also available to buy in the store). They are a loop that allows you to pull the floss through your teeth under the retainer. Just fyi. Abby’s teeth were quite a mess before we started, so no question about whether she (and we) think it was worth it. One of her little kindergarten kids at co-op actually said his favourite thing about her was her teeth, so there’s that.

    Maya is already into regular orthodontist check ins. They are just monitoring how the teeth in her mouth are moving and are ready to go ahead with any preventative measures to keep things for getting too out of hand as she isn’t ready for braces yet. They have also suggested baby teeth that need to be pulled by our dentist to keep things moving on track. Maya took forever to get her teeth and is taking forever to lose them. Our orthodontist works closely with our dentist, so they everyone is on the same page with what needs to be accomplished and these check ups will allow for an easier and more effective time when the braces finally go on.

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