Trusting Pre-Teens with Braces

Round One

I remember the day my son got his braces on. He did not want them. I was overwhelmed at the idea and had no idea what to expect. However, he needed them, our insurance helped to cover them, and on they went.

During the course of treatment, his gums began to cover the brackets, and the orthodontist referred him to a periodontal specialist. While I waited anxiously, my son underwent gum surgery to trim them back to size.

I shared in his excitement when at last the braces were removed and he could eat crunchy, chewy things again. He has always been faithful in wearing his retainers and has beautiful, straight teeth.

Round Two

A few months later, my oldest, who we thought had dodged the bullet where braces were concerned, had to get them after all. Her younger sister soon sported a shiny metal mouth too.

I was incredibly worried that they would face the gummy issues their brother had encountered and would need corrective surgery somewhere along the way. We had a couple close calls and warnings that the girls’ gums may need some trimming, but they worked hard with their toothbrushes and avoided the need for any surgical procedure. Before we knew it, the braces were removed, and both had beautiful smiles!

Round Three

We suspected that the twins would eventually need braces as well. In addition to the spacing issues all my kids have faced, many of the twins’ adult teeth have appeared in abnormal positions. For most kids, adult teeth come in exactly above or below the corresponding baby teeth, dissolving the roots so that the unneeded teeth fall out. Some of the twins’ adult teeth erupted in front of the baby teeth, leaving the roots intact. Were they going to end up with two rows of teeth?

In November, the dentist referred the nearly twelve-year-old twins to the orthodontist. There we learned that the remaining baby teeth must be extracted. Then braces would correct upper gaps and lower crowding, along with the strong overbite that tends to cause these issues.

In mid-January, we made return trip to the dentist, who extracted the last five or six baby teeth from each girl. While each twin took her turn in the dental chair, I sat in the waiting room, praying all would go well and reading to distract myself from worrying too much. My daughters returned to the waiting room, smiling through the gauze while toting bags of baby teeth.

Braces On

Though snowy weather delayed the inevitable, they finally got their braces on last Friday. You would think the ordeal of braces would be easier for me to face this time around, wouldn’t you? It is not. I am in no hurry for my last two kids to grow up. They are still so young!

Walking into the treatment room without Mom by their side was a huge step for them, and it was a challenge for me. I have usually been by their side for similar visits and procedures. As you can see from the pictures, they did just fine.

Remembering to Trust

This brings me back to Trust, my Word of the Year for 2018. I must trust God to give all of us the wisdom and patience we need. I need to trust the orthodontist to do her job and trust the girls to take care of their teeth and gums while the braces are on. At the same time, it is essential that I follow through and support them in this new experience and be sure they are doing their best to care for their teeth.

So far they have been incredibly conscientious about caring for their metal smiles. It has been an adventure as they have learned how to properly brush and floss with braces, how to put wax on the brackets to prevent mouth sores, and even how to swallow pills to relieve the initial pain and discomfort of having braces. My little girls are growing up!

How did you handle it when your kids got braces?