ABC’s of Parenting: “O” for Orthodontia

I didn’t have braces as a kid. Neither did either of my sisters. Today pretty much every kid has braces at some point – often, twice! Braces are about as sure a thing as death and taxes.

All three of ours had metal mouths – the girls for 18 months each, The Boy for three years (and three major oral surgeries). Hard to believe it, but Mr. Motor Mouth actually had a mouth WAY too small for his teeth.

So we have a lot of experience with orthodontia. Here are a few things we learned:

•Don’t go to the most popular doc in town. He/she will also be the most expensive. If he/she has weekly ads in the paper and gives away trips to Disneyland, run away.
•Choose a doc who has an office close to your kids’ schools. You will most definitely be pulling them out of school many, many times over the course of the treatment.
•Don’t jump into orthodontia too fast. I made the ridiculous mistake of getting Middle Sister lined up to get her braces on just a few days before I had brain surgery with a 6-week recovery time. Times of stress are not good times to make decisions. She definitely could have waited.
•That glorious day when you make your final monthly payment (for us it was SIX YEARS of those) is worthy of a New Year’s Eve in Times Square-type party. Celebrate.
•Retainers are disgusting. Don’t look.

Good luck!


11 thoughts on “ABC’s of Parenting: “O” for Orthodontia

  1. At this point, son is halfway through braces and I’d love to think of being down to a retainer, but probably you’re right….retainers can’t be that appealing…..wish I hadn’t read that…..


    • Sadly, equally disgusting is the container in which the retainer is kept. Once the kids went to only having to wear their appliances at night, they refused to ever wash the cases. I shudder to think of the bacteria that must live in those things.


  2. I had braces for a short time and I hated them. This just brought it all back – retainers are totally disgusting! Thanks for the handy list – I need to come back to it when my two are older! x


  3. Neither of my two had braces and they are now in their twenties. So this leads me to believe that it is another expected perfection – why does everything today have to be perfect because life sure isn’t. What do you think?


    • I think that’s a good point. Especially in this very affluent suburb where we live. Actually, our three really did need braces for varying reasons – jaw problems, serious crowding leading to impacted teeth, etc. But orthodontia should definitely not just be done because it’s what everybody does!


  4. I had braces from 12-15 years old and then retainers until I was 20! I am hoping and praying that my daughter Zoë won’t need them… Her dad didn’t, so my fingers are crossed!


  5. 🙂 Three here too! Unfortunately, I opened my big mouth and told my oldest that if he had to get braces, then so would I. So…..there I was, one of the 40-year-oldies with a tin grin.


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