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
- 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.