Tuesday, August 23, 2011

A Case Study: The Evolution of an All-American Kid’s Mouth

The evolution of my son’s mouth? Oh, it started out like any other little mouth, except for that slip on the concrete that yellowed his front tooth. It wasn’t purdy, but I was thankful that it was his baby tooth that looked like a corn kernel. He lost teeth, the tooth fairy descended and a month later this cycle repeated. This  went on for years. He had teeth disappearing and popping up faster than Pop-Tarts in the toaster. Then there was that mouth of awkward adult-sized teeth trapped in a child’s pie-hole; a once-in-a- lifetime photo op if you ask me!   

Oral disaster hit in fourth grade when a metal limbo poll forcedly met his permanent-front tooth. Although sad to know it would forever be half-composite, I reminded myself “At least it’s not open heart surgery!” and moved on.
Fearing his orthodontic consultation in first grade, I flashed back to my decade of oral work I suffered. No, suffered is not too strong a word. I had nine teeth pulled, a horrible overbite, neck gear, headgear, and braces for 2.5 years. Mine were not the braces of today that look like a metal dot glued to the tooth and decorated in colorful bands (and you could not customize your  color every month!). What I am describing is a full-metal jacket around each tooth. “Bands” are what they were called, but that name is too musically cheery for something that had to be fitted and positioned with a small hammer and what looked like a dull ice pick clanking in my mouth. Oh, the bad memories I carried with me into Lucas’s first orthodontic appointment six years ago.  Lucas was doomed from the start because the poor kid had my teeth , but it really didn't matter because my husband  wore top braces for one year (I know, big-deal!).

So, we put our money where his mouth was and started Phase One of orthodontic care. Back in my day there was only First-and-Last-Phase called Brace Face. Nowadays, the mouth stretcher, AKA: Expander, is used to make room for teeth, instead of pulling them.  Working this metal-bridged contraption nightly on my little one was miserable. Whenever I turned the key in his mouth to stretch the roof, he moaned and often cried. No, I did not miss that appliance four months later.  At this point I was unsure of what I had invested in after seeing the results.
Check out that gap!!
Please welcome, Phase Two: Top Braces. He was nine when he had this top-only set put in and they lasted a year.

He had a short (retainers only) break while we waited for more teeth to fall out and then the Jewel of the Jaw, Phase Three: Full set of braces for 18 months.
I remembered starting high school with braces and hating my often painful and shiny-metal mouth. Luckily, today Lucas got his braces off and I said a prayer of thanks, as his first day of high school is tomorrow! The last six years of this  All-American kid's oral-cavity evolution was well worth the money and long wait.
Thanks Dr. Mark Mc Dade, we are very pleased!

Look Mom, no braces!

Parents rejoice when our kid's orthodonture needs end. Not only because the payments halt, but our kids are happy to have it over and you can finally see some return on your investment: A big beautiful smile that warms your heart. Forever.
It kills you to see them grow up. But I guess it would kill you quicker if they didn't.  ~Barbara Kingsolver, Animal Dreams

2 comments:

Comeca Jones said...

Great end result I bet you are proud of your handsome son.

Ellen Marie "Mama" Pike said...

My goodness, what a long dental journey! That must have been hard on you emotionally as well as financially. The end result looks awesome.