I got braces during my 9th grade year. I had to get 4 teeth pulled because my mouth was so crowded.
I remember having to gnaw on PB&Js at school lunch, change out bands and nurse sore cheeks with wax. There’s no doubt braces aren’t exactly fun.
My 10th grade picture, about 6 months after getting braces. (The necklace was a birthday gift from Scott. Hello 90’s and gold chains.)
I’d had them 2.5 years when I begged to get them off for my senior pictures but he said they just weren’t ready. I finally had them removed at the end of my senior year and all the discomfort was worth it.
Fast forward 15 years.
I had no idea that orthodontists these days start looking at kids’ teeth as early as 7 or 8 years old. When one of Emma’s best friends got braces on over a year ago, we realized we were already behind.
When Emma saw what her friend was going through at first, Emma didn’t want a single thing to do with braces. And that meant I didn’t want to either. There’s no way I would force the issue. It’s enough work and pain when you want them but it would be absolute torture if she didn’t want them and I was having to force extra hygiene, bands and wax on her.
But now that Emma’s friend is nearly getting hers off, Emma wants her turn. And listen, I’m striking while the iron is hot. If she’s into it and ready for the work, then I am too. The orthodontist said there was no harm in her waiting until she was older. She doesn’t have any glaring issues worthy of an emergency but she’s ready, she has a buddy that’s been-there, done-that and that’s enough for me.
So, her treatment plan looked something like this: she’ll have spacers for one week in her back teeth to make room for brackets.
Then, get the expander which will widen the roof of her mouth by turning a screw device twice a day for 10 days. Her mouth is tiny like mine and they’re trying to avoid pulling her teeth like mine.
The expander will stay in her mouth for at least 3 months to ensure her mouth doesn’t move back. However, the braces will go in along with the expander and they’ll stay for 2 years.
So far we’ve completed the spacers and tomorrow will be our last day of turning the expander. Braces will be coming in just a few weeks.
The first few days weren’t really fun. She was having trouble keeping things out of the roof of her mouth and her teeth were sore. We were keeping her hopped up on medicine almost all the time. She only wanted to eat things like cottage cheese, yogurt, mashed potatoes and smoothies. Since we’re gluten free, it made eating EXTRA fun.
Right now, things are getting worse before they’re getting better and I admit I’m a little panicky.
Here she is last week before the expander.
Her front two teeth are perfectly aligned but you can see the back of her mouth is very narrow, she has an overbite and her bottom teeth are not growing properly because of it.
She got her expander last Wednesday and here’s how much it’s changed already:
You can see the back of her mouth is wider. On her right side, you can see a back tooth you couldn’t see before. Most glaring though is the space in the front.
Last night I told Scott, “Did we really pay for her to have a gap in her teeth??”
It’s totally expected (I actually think it’s kind of adorable) and the braces will immediately fix it but still, it makes me a little panicky for it to get worse before it gets better.
I had originally planned to get her braces on several weeks before school started so we were doing all of this during the summer but due to vacation and holidays, it looks like she’ll be getting her braces right as school starts.
She’s actually having fun with it all though. Just this morning, she said she likes turning the key and will miss it after tomorrow and she likes using her waterpik. She’s already got the color picked out she wants on her bands the first time.
That’s exactly the attitude I’d hoped she’d have when we ever decided to get braces so all in all, I’m calling it so far, so good.
I’ll be updating you (with permission from Emma) through our braces journey to let you know how it goes. I know it’s helped tremendously having someone we know go through the same thing just before us.
Did you have braces? Do your kids have braces? Any tips/tricks/advice is welcome!
Posted with permission from Miss Emma