There has been very little so far in my life that I’ve found more upsetting than the worry that comes with my daughter’s teeth. It’s one of those things that it’s too private to go into detail about on here, but sufficed to say she has a long dental road ahead of her – one that will last into her adulthood.
A couple of weeks ago she had her impressions taken by chomping down into thick pink goo. The resulting model of her teeth was a dramatic reinforcement that braces are necessary, not only for how she feels about herself in the future but for good function in terms of eating. “Loads of kids have them”, “kids are resilient”, “she’ll get used to it” and other platitudes are all probably true but we have to get past this first hurdle of being in twin blocks hell. Ironically of course she was excited. The reality of course was not likely to live up to positive expectation.
They are bulky and cumbersome in her mouth, which created so much saliva in the first couple of days I thought it would never end. She couldn’t speak and it’s no wonder – letters like T D G J N (the list goes on) seemed almost impossible because her tongue can’t find the roof of her mouth. It hurt – aches and rubbing have been the norm this week despite only having them in for a few hours at a time. I have cried and fretted and almost regretted starting this journey altogether.
What’s even more upsetting is that she loves her smile. She doesn’t care about her overbite really – but then she is only young and it isn’t all about that anyway – her teeth simply don’t meet how they should.
She’s worried about what people will think of her and how she will make new friends. It’s been quite an emotional week so far.
We were fortunate that her consultant (quite possibly the loveliest dental specialist in the world) said she could build up her usage so it wasn’t so scary straight away. Her dad gave her a spreadsheet on her phone so she could track the increase of hours she had them in. She tried – she really tried. And then she started to cry uncontrollably.
I took her back today. They fitted her in straight away and fixed the problem immediately. Her consultant noticed her on the way in and said “hello”, having a quick chat about how she’s doing. The braces were adjusted and her smile reappeared. She was thrilled – thrilled that they didn’t hurt anymore, and thrilled that her efforts all week had been for something. All the rest of today she’s had them mostly in and she’s been chatting away (albeit sometimes incomprehensibly) with a smile on her face.
The NHS are making my daughter’s smile even more beautiful, and doing so with skill, knowledge and kindess. I’m so proud of her for getting on with this really tricky stuff, and grateful that this treatment is excellent and, of course, free.
My worries are fading already – not least because she just came down wearing her braces while singing “Eye of the tiger”. Oh and because Alexa told her there would be thunder storms when she asked her what the weather would be like tomorrow. Things are looking up.
Better to do it now though, Katie.
Although all my siblings had braces as teenagers, for some reason I wasn’t given them (apparently you had to ask, whereas I thought they’d tell me).
Anyway, I ended up getting braces as an adult. I had my first consultation the day after my 39th birthday and hoped to get my teeth nice and straight by my 40th, but sadly it took a bit longer.
I also underwent some excruciating pain, a lot of discomfort and the inability to eat at times, but it was worth it in the end. As I left it so late, I now have to wear plastic retainers for about 14 hours per day, because my teeth want to go back to the position they spent over 30 years in, so that’s a bit annoying. As is the hefty price tag when you can no longer get it on the NHS.
Do tell her my sympathies are with her, but the time will fly and she’ll have gorgeous teeth for the rest of her life.
Lots of love, Ellie x