The day finally arrived. The day I have been dreading. Our first appointment at the orthodontist. My daughter turns 10 this summer and I knew the day was fast approaching when we would get our referral. As I look at the mouths of all my daughters classmates I see every variety of dental equipment. To be honest, it scares me a little.
I am one of those rare creatures who has naturally occurring straight teeth. I’ve never had anything done with my teeth…okay I had my wisdom teeth pulled…but that’s it. I was raised with the belief that teeth are sacred…sounds crazy when I write that down…but it’s true. Countless times was I reminded that my grandfather, who grew up in the generation when toothbrushes were hard to come by, still had all his real teeth on the day he died. My grandmother on the other hand, has always scared us grandchildren by pulling out her upper and lower dentures…making the most obscene and terrifying faces. It’s enough to drive anyone into having a severe tooth complex.
Unfortunately, my husband has the complete opposite teeth. While his teeth are lovely now…it took a lot of pain and suffering to get them in this condition. He had to live through years of “railroad tracks” running through his mouth. I guess that love made me blind to this dental flaw in my husband. I crossed my fingers and hoped that my girls would get my good teeth genes. No such luck.
To be honest, my daughter has beautiful teeth. They are big and strong. They set off her most beautiful smile. Her face is perfection…absolute perfection. I have never looked at her delightful eyes and seen anything but beauty. Am I looking at my daughter through rose coloured glasses…maybe. I think I’m looking at her with my motherly, unconditional love glasses. She’s beautiful, she’s strong, she’s smart, she’s everything. I made her…with a little help from her dad…and she’s perfection.
Not according to our newly acquired orthodontist. The list of “corrections” is pretty long. Big, strong teeth and a small jaw make for lots of oral appliances needed. My intellectual mind knows that she is right. As we examine x-ray after x-ray I can see the crowded big teeth. As the orthodontist takes me through each tooth in my daughter’s head, I can see how they are being pushed in all the wrong directions. I can see that her avid brushing is leading to recessed gums (and those dang genetics from her dad, who also had recessed gums). I sat in the office looking at my daughter with a critical eye – I didn’t like what I saw – even though I knew it was probably right.
I am super fortunate. My girls have never had a serious illness, never really needed to visit the hospital, never had trouble learning at school. I’ve never had to doubt that everything within them is just perfectly fine. So, it’s no surprise to me that at the end of the appointment when the orthodontist asked “So, how are you with all this?” My daughter replied “I’m fine. I’m getting braces!” with a silly smile on her face. Then I spoke up, while fanning my face, “Oh, I thought you were asking me. To be honest, I’m feeling a little overwhelmed.” The orthodontist assured me that they can work out a financial payment plan, not to worry. I said “It’s really not the money, it’s all this.” I said passing my hand over my mouth.
As I put my daughter to bed last night we laughed at my memories of when she first got her baby teeth…and the time when she had no teeth at all! Hard to believe that time has gone by so quickly. Ring the bell, sound the alarm ~ my daughter is officially a tween. I will always be looking at her with my motherly, unconditional love glasses. She’s growing up and our trip to the orthodontist is the first solid kick into that reality.
Tell me I’m not the only one? How did you feel at the end of your first orthodontist appointment?