Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Adventures in orthodontics...

Orthodontics. The very word strikes anxiety in my heart and brings back childhood memories I'd rather repress. :0 That being said it, although I loathe any and all dental work (but suck it up for the greater good), I currently and previously have had excellent, kind dental providers. So, I wasn't *traumatized* by having braces, and am extremely grateful to have straight teeth today, but all things being equal, I really wish God would change our DNA such that no dental work beyond regular cleanings was ever necessary. I really don't think this is that much to ask. 😇

Our Henry has been in for orthodontic consults annually for several years now, so we knew that this day was coming. He's 11, has all of his adult teeth, and he needs braces. For his sake, I wish that he didn't, but this is a fact of life for many children. No big deal, I figured. He won't stick out or anything, over half the school has braces from grades 6-8. At the forefront of my mind was how we would budget for it, and that was pretty much it.

Well. Then I accompanied Mike and Henry to the orthodontist yesterday wherein Henry had x-rays, and we sat down to seriously look at what needs to be done for him and discuss a timeline. And I just...

You know how sometimes, with your kids, something  just strikes you in a soft spot and you can hardly control the urge to just burst into tears right then and there? I had that moment yesterday. At the orthodontist. Looking at ceramic teeth.

I am so averse to all dental work. Like I said, I do it because it's the right thing to do, but I HATE it. I swear, I'd rather go through labor and delivery. :0 There's something about it that makes me so fearful. But with my kids, it hasn't been a big deal because all they've had so far is just cleanings. And our dentist is sweet and wonderful.

But this braces thing? Henry needs his jaw moved forward. Which means he doesn't just need braces to straighten the teeth. He also needs something to move his jaw forward to correct his overbite. And that's a little bit more involved. There are 2 possible ways of doing it, and I'm not wild about either one. The first one is a retainer, which sounds easy, but it's a 24/7 retainer and will impact speech. My Henry already struggles a bit with speech issues, and the thought of burdening him with all of this extra plastic in his mouth made me want to weep anew. The other option is a device that attaches at the sides of the mouth to the braces. On the upside, you can't see it, and it won't impact his speech, but on the negative end of things it doesn't look terribly comfortable, and it will impact your ability to open your mouth very wide. Cue the sobbing.

I don't want him to have to go through this. Maybe he can just have crooked teeth? I'll be honest, that seems like a very rational possibility to me right now.

*Insert about a thousand weeping emojis here*

I feel all vulnerable and on the verge of clutching Henry to my chest and not letting him leave the house. And he's 11, he would hate that. :0

Are any of you scarred by the threat of orthodontics or is it just me? ;-)

Tomorrow is book club day for Chapter 5 of Live Today Well. And Tea Time this week will be an amusing dance troupe edition!


  1. Get the retainer.

    I had massive ortho work done as a child. Those things that fit over braces are awful and you have to try and sleep in them.

    Get the retainer. It's far easier to live with even if it does make you a bit sore. He's going to have some speech issues having the braces put in anyway. And this is from someone who herself had braces and was learning to play flute and now has a flute student who also went through the whole braces thing. You eventually get past it and there's no difference if you work at it.

    Get the retainer. In my day they called it an expander. The one on the top was glued in and the one of the bottom was removable. I cranked it open ever week or so. I'm guessing his apparatus would be similar.

    Get the retainer.

    Promise you. It's not that bad. Better than a friend of mine who as an adult had to have her palate broken to fix her teeth. That they put you under for.

    Hang in there, Momma. You can do it!

    1. Hi Delta!

      So this retainer option would be a top and bottom piece, both removable. So that's both good and bad. It's good in that it's less invasive, but bad in that he could lose them. And the more he has them out of his mouth, the less likely they are to work with any expediency. The other thing would be glued in, not removable at all. Much higher rate of success and no plastic over the palate. But, you know. It SUCKS.


      We have time to think it all over, we won't be moving forward til late summer. And that includes the crooked teeth option. ;-)

    2. The internet ate my response....So here's the short version.

      1) I had the metal thingy glued in the top. It caused permanent scarring on my tongue. I had it removed in 8th or 9th grade.

      2) I also had the removable plastic one when I was about 11 or 12. I never lost it because I never wanted to have to "start over" the process. I also had to eat with it. No scars with that one.

      So it's up to you. But that's my experience. (I can show you a picture of my scars if you like. I had to wear those things for 2 years and the dentist didn't seem to care when I told them it was scarring me. They didn't think it would be permanent. Well....)

  2. I feel for Henry because I too had to have serious orthodontics work done. I had braces for four and a half years and jaw surgery because braces alone was not enough to fix the problems. I'll pray for Henry and for wisdom for you and Mike as you make decisions about which treatment option to go with.

    1. Hi Melanie!

      Thank you SO much dear one! Mike and I both had braces too, for about two years each. But back in that day, there were kids that experiences similar to yours: 4 plus years. They seem to have bettered the technology at this point, but seriously. The equipment still looks like Medieval torture devices. :0

  3. Honestly, I'm terrified of the dentist snd start dreading it at least a week in advance!

    1. Right?! I swear it, the obstetrician is easier!


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