Investing in a smile for decades
Something that happened to my youngest daughter a few weeks ago took me back in time to my childhood.
Just in time for Christmas, my daughter got the gift I’m sure she probably could have lived without, at least in her mind—braces on her teeth. It probably won’t be for a number of years before she really appreciates the gift.
I know that was the case for me. I also wore braces as a teenager for about three years. I’ll never forget the days of the braces breaking away from my teeth because I chomped on something too hard and spinning the brace around in my teeth for sometimes weeks until I was able to get back to the orthodontist for a repair.
And who will ever forget the name-calling? I sure won’t. “Railroad tracks” was a common one back in my school days. Of course, I also endured the jokes of “buck teeth.”
For all practical purposes, it was no joke for me because I definitely had buck teeth. I had a severe overbite that definitely needed some straightening out. I cringe when I look back at some of the photos from my earlier years. It hurts so badly!
But, despite the grief I went through, I’m forever thankful to my parents for making the investment into my teeth and allowing me to have a nice looking set of straight teeth today. I hope the same will happen with my daughter.
For many youngsters, braces are part of growing up. With a smile considered one of the building blocks to developing self-esteem and self-confidence, parents make the investment to straighten their child’s teeth.
Nearly 4 million young people between the ages of 6 and 18 wear braces, according to the American Association of Orthodontics. Statistics also show more adults than ever before are wearing braces. Let’s just say I’m glad I got that out of the way when I did back in my teenage years. I can’t imagine wearing them now.
I stumbled across a news bulletin this week clarifying several common orthodontic myths. Among them is that you need a referral from the dentist to see an orthodontist. Not the case, says Steven J. Moravec, author of Going the Extra Smile.
Another myth is that you don’t need to see your regular dentist while in braces. “You definitely do,” Moravec says. “You need to see your regular dentist at least every six months. Having braces makes your teeth a little more challenging to clean, and nothing beats a professional cleaning at your dentist.”
Moravec also talks about the myth that braces are painful. Technology, he points out, has made them more comfortable than ever before.
Invisalign or clear aligner treatment takes longer than braces is another popular myth. Moravec said for most patients, that is not true. For most cases, the time to treat is very similar for clear aligners and braces.
While there have been changes in orthodontics since I had my braces decades ago, what hasn’t changed is the importance of straightening them at a young age. Braces do work.
Some of the things a smile can do for you include make you more attractive, relieve stress and boost your mood, lower your blood pressure and help you make others happy. In short, it’s health, confidence and joy.
I’m glad that I am making an investment in a smile that my daughter will achieve for decades.
Now it’s time to go in hot pursuit of paying that pesky orthodontic bill.