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  #1  
Old 10-18-2001, 12:37 PM
Ivorybill Ivorybill is offline
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Today, our seven year old daughter came to the uncomfortable and (to her, at least) surprizing realization that orthodontic appliances are NOT glamorous. (She had a thumb-blocker put in to stop her nighttime thumb-sucking habit.) I assume she was enjoying the attention of getting new things, missing some school time for a few appointments, and being the first of her second grade peers to have metal in her mouth. How soon the blush fades from the rose!

Anyway, I need help - - not monetary, but if you want to send some $$, great! She's going to have several appliances put in over the next year to widen her upper jaw, move her lower jaw forward, straighten her lower teeth, all in addition to the thumb thingie. These will likely be at the very least awkward and uncomfortable, at the most, painful.

So, those of you parents who've been there before, what can I do to help my daughter get through this stage in her life both emotionally and physically? Any magic bullets? Anything you learned by experience that you wish the orthodontist had told you?

Thanks, as always.
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  #2  
Old 10-18-2001, 12:57 PM
Sunglasses Sunglasses is offline
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Groan!

I feel for you. My younger son had his braces put on two weeks after my older son had them off. I had more than a four-year run of braces related misery.

I tend to want to make my kids feel better all the time so this was a real tough one for me, too. I listened sympathetically when they complained, made sure they had lots of wax when the braces were biting into their gums, and lots of Orajel and Tylenol after adjustment appointments.

Our orthodontist offered little colored thingies to dress up their braces. Didn't help with the pain but, they kind of enjoyed picking different colors every time they went.

This probably isn't very helpful but you DO have my sympathies. Good luck to you and your daughter.
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  #3  
Old 10-18-2001, 02:13 PM
Little Bird Little Bird is offline
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Hi, I just got brace-ifyed myself a few months ago. It suuuuucks. I recomend soup, ice cream, pudding, jello, and the like. That's what I tend to live off of after a visit. Not fun. Make sure she's got some wax at school so if a wire pops out of place during school she won't dig a little hole in her cheek by the end of the day. (Do I speak from experiance? Yes I do.) It took me about a month after getting mine on before I was able to eat like a normal human being again. But after that, I was fiiiine. It was just kind of scary during that month, thinking "Am I gonna have to go through two years like this?" So, if she's hurting, break out the ice cream (no chunks!!!!!) and reassure her that it will feel better. I can't imagine having to go through all that when I was just a tot.

As far as the glamor of the whole thing, just keep reminding her what a pretty smile she's gonna have when it's all over. That's what keeps me smiling as a college student in braces.
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  #4  
Old 10-18-2001, 11:57 PM
pharoah chromium pharoah chromium is offline
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I have some reservations about the orthodontics industry and have been wondering how to proceed. My son just finished a round of retainer work. When this process was first pitched to us, the orthodontist stated that the retainer might do the job, and braces might not be necessary. Well, the retainer did an excellent job -- my son's teeth are almost perfect now, except for one that is slghtly crooked. The orthodontist, of course, wants to take the treatment into "phase two" (i.e. braces) to correct this one tooth, which poses no particular threat, and has a sales pitch that I find somewhat suspicious. The insurance allotment is exhausted, so I'm looking at 3000 dollars out of pocket to effect what appears to be a purely cosmetic result. I have a few crooked teeth myself and they have never been an issue, socially or functionally. My inclination is to stop here, since the worst problems have been addressed. I have reservations, since the results are not "perfect", and am irritated that I can't feel that a medical professional is leveling with me because he is more interested in his own bottom line.
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  #5  
Old 10-19-2001, 01:29 AM
Dragonblink Dragonblink is offline
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Three years of braces experience here, including a wire across the top of the mouth to widen the upper jaw. I concur with the general sentiment of "keep dental wax on hand" because man oh man braces tear the crap out of the inside of your mouth. Mine were taken off a few years ago and I still have scars. Soft foods after every installation or adjustment. Colored rubber bands can be fun.

Also, your daughter will be needing a portable toothbrush, or a toothpick at least, and a mirror to carry with her when possible. Food gets stuck in all sorts of unattractive ways when you have braces -- I never had a problem with gum, it was cheeseburgers that would send me running to the bathroom after the last bite to pull the rough equivalent of three acres of wheat and two dairy farms out of my braces.

And just think: after the braces come retainers. Indefinitely in some cases. My condolences. But at least her smile will be shiny and straight like mine! (my teeth were really awful before -- my right front tooth was knocked out when I was a toddler, chipping the jaw, and took 8 years to grow back. In addition, my baby teeth didn't always fall out, so I had to get six teeth removed before they could start spacing my adult teeth for braces)
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  #6  
Old 10-19-2001, 09:49 AM
Dragwyr Dragwyr is offline
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Speaking from personal experience...

Make sure to find an Orthodontist you feel comfortable with. When I had braces, the Orthodontist would do things, but never tell my mom anything. Then when she asked about what he did, he would look at her like she was crazy. Of course me being 12 at the time I didn't really know what was going on other than I needed to have my teeth straightened. My mom probably would have switched Orthodontists if he wasn't the only one in town.
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  #7  
Old 10-19-2001, 09:54 AM
Hello Again Hello Again is offline
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In terms of getting stuff caught in the brackets, Oreos are a top offender. It looks really gross, too. I pretty much gave them up when I had braces. Your child may have to give up some favored foods, like apples and corn on the cob because the crunchiness can be destructive to othodonture. (But your orthodontist can advise you on that).

I agree with everything that has been said, and only add, make sure that your child eats a solid meal *before* any apointment in which the braces/appliances will be adjusted/tightened. It can hurt A LOT, and being hungry yet being unable to eat is sooo frustrating.

I had the anti-thumb-sucking appliance it it was comfortable & effective for me.
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  #8  
Old 10-19-2001, 10:25 AM
handy handy is offline
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I remember those huge ugly grey metal braces; but these days they have new ones that are nearly invisible. You can sometimes get them on the inside of teeth; rather than the outside, right?
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  #9  
Old 10-19-2001, 11:04 AM
Ivorybill Ivorybill is offline
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Thanks, ZeGirl and Little Bird (and others). Looks like we'll be buying some wax.

pharoah chromium, hie thee to another orthodontist. Better yet, go to two. Get their opinions. As Dragwyr points out, you need to be comfortable with the doctor. We went to three orthodontists before we found one we trusted. The first seemed very technically competent, but he wouldn't tell us exactly what he was going to do, why he was going to do it, and how much it would cost. "Sign here. It'll take $125.00/month until I'm through. It might be more than a year." Uh - - buh bye! The second guy was nice, but dim. We're happy with this doctor so far, but we're just beginning.

Handy, yes, you can get clear braces and braces mounted on the inside of your teeth. I'm farily certain that the latter are more expensive and are unlikely to be compatible with children as young as my daughter. FWIW, she won't get true braces for several more years - - she'll be going through various "appliances" as the doctor does work to her jaw first, then he'll move to the teeth.

Dragonblink, Hello Again: I spent about 10 minutes last night coxing chicken out from between her teeth and the "habit device." Can only imagine oreos and cheeseburgers....
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  #10  
Old 10-19-2001, 11:07 AM
Knighted Vorpal Sword Knighted Vorpal Sword is offline
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My 9 1/2 year old had braces put on a few months ago. She enjoys the different color bands around the brackets,, so that makes things easier. One of the things I told her was that it was great that she was getting braces now, because she'll have them off when the others in her class are just starting. She's also really good about brushing her teeth-she uses a battery powered brush, floss, rinse, the whold 9 yards. She was thrilled when the dentist told her what a great job she's doing keeping her teeth and braces clean. (We're also taking her for cleanings 3 times a year instead of 2.)

In terms of cost, we're doing OK. We've got cafeteria plans and stuff set up, so taking money out each month is already done for us.

The hardest part was being strict about what she can and cannot eat. There were some tears at first, but I think she understands that she just will have to wait for a few years until she can return to eating what she wants. (Interesting note: after the orthodontist removes braces from a patient's teeth, he gives them a bag of all kind of junk food they couldn't have while wearing braces.)
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  #11  
Old 10-20-2001, 09:22 AM
The Mermaid The Mermaid is offline
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My-son-had-appliances-and-braces-for-almost-four-years.I-agree-with-the-suggestion-to-keep-dental-wax-handy--also-orabase-and-a-small-mirror-are-great.But-IMHO-the-one-thing-that-is-indespensible-is-a-water-pic.It-is-absolutely-the-best-for-getting-to-those-hard-to-reach-places.

Definitly-eat-before-the-adjustments-and-my-son-always-liked-soup-after.It-doesn't-hurt-to-take-a-tylenol-too.

Tell-your-daughter-to-smile-and-be-proud-that-her-parents-are-able-to-afford-to-do-whatever-it-takes-to-ensure-that-she-has-a-beautiful-smile-that-will-last-a-lifetime.

Then-tell-her-the-story-about-how-when-you-were-young-you-had-to-walk-five-miles-uphill-in-the-snow-both-ways-to-get-to-a-dentist-who-would-drill-and-fill-your-teeth-with-no-anesthetic-and-you-were-grateful-for-the-chance-to-do-that.
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  #12  
Old 10-20-2001, 02:34 PM
ladyfoxfyre ladyfoxfyre is offline
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I had an appliance set up across the top of my mouth that was intended to widen my jaw so that retainers could be put into place and the teeth would automatically fall into their correct place.


My god what a horrible time in my life that was. Because it takes about 1/2 cm from the top of your mouth, it leves this pleasant little space where food gets stuck, constantly, and you have to make this wildly attractive sucking sound to get it out. Using some of your drink to push it out never works, not with the desired result anyway.
Because your tongue cannot reach to the top like it usually does it leaves you with a lisp. Spitting on people is inevitable. You are required to turn a little mechanism inside the device, which means that twice a day you have to lay on your back with your mouth open while someone sticks their hand inside your mouth and widens it with a small key. The brackets on the outside of your teeth dig into your cheek, often causing them to bleed.
If you are lucky enough to reach the point where it can be removed, they pull it off your teeth. Yes, I said pull. They use a little lever which attaches to the bracket and your tooth and they literally pull it off of you; much pain is involved.

Or, in my case, one of the brackets slipped off while I was eating something, and with the next chew I managed to shove it up even farther into my gum. They had already pulled off the other side, and I was crying because of the pain. At first, they tried pulling off the offending bracket, and when that didn't work, they chose the pain free route. They cut it off. Then they cut off the last one.

They could have cut them all off and not had a screaming 10 year old in their office, but instead they tried to do it the hard way!!!!!





I'm not bitter about this. Not at all.



Oh, I also had retainers for a couple years, top and bottom. I lost them countless times, once in the school dumpster when they were wrapped in a napkin on my lunch tray.

I had to go get them.

If the devil could make an orthodontic appliance, he would have made the retainer.
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  #13  
Old 10-20-2001, 06:40 PM
handy handy is offline
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Are orthos still giving free estimates?


If you got the guts, you can visit a maxilliofacial surgeon. They cut your jaw up in one easy step & rearrange your teeth & your jaw in one operation. You get your jaw wired shut for a couple weeks & you get to carry wire cutters with you in case you choke. But it sure is fast compared to braces.
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  #14  
Old 10-20-2001, 09:23 PM
Airbeck Airbeck is offline
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I waited until I was in college to get braces. I've had them for 2 and a half years. I just had all but the 6 front brackets on the bottom taken out and I'll get those removed when I go back for my retainers in a couple of weeks. I'm so glad they're gone, let me tell you.

I'm not going to lie, there were moments when they were absolute hell. However, the vast majority of the time it was no big deal. The pain never lasted more than a couple of days after the adjustments and the rest of the month it was fine. I can tell you that It was absolutely worth it. It was an inconvenience, but I get to have straight teeth for the rest of my life. That makes it all worthwhile. I wish I had gotten them when I was younger (I'm 23 now). One advantage of waiting until I was older was that I didn't really miss the junk food that I couldn't eat as much as I would have as a kid. I also would not have taken as good care of them as I did now that I'm an adult. That being said, I still wish I would have gotten them when I was younger. It would have been better to get it over with and be done with it than wait until adulthood.
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  #15  
Old 10-20-2001, 09:59 PM
Another Primate Another Primate is offline
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Do not get caught without wax. I got braces in my late twenties, and once traveled shortly after an adjustment and forgot my wax. I was miserable and bought some stuff for ears. Well, it had fibers in it and just tasted a little icky.
So, that's my advice. Go nowhere without was.
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  #16  
Old 10-20-2001, 10:23 PM
ladyfoxfyre ladyfoxfyre is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by Another Primate
So, that's my advice. Go nowhere without was.
That's a sig line waiting to happen.
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  #17  
Old 10-20-2001, 10:59 PM
GilaB GilaB is offline
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Also, when I first got braces I couldn't swallow pills yet, and I think that your daughter is solidly in the chewables stage still. Pound the chewables into a powder, and then have her eat them, in apple sauce or something if necessary. I couldn't chew anything for a few days after I got my braces on, and used a paper-towel holder and a mug as an improvised morter-and-pestle.
Also, your daughter can probably still eat most things (I did everything, including chew gum). You just have to cut them up first. Cut corn off of the cob (butter and salt it first), cut apples up into wedges, and rip bagels up into little pieces by hand as you eat. It's really the biting-in motion that's the worst on the braces - the chewing happens inside of the teeth, away from all of the hardware.
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  #18  
Old 10-21-2001, 12:36 AM
Duck Duck Goose Duck Duck Goose is offline
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Criminy!! I hope to God you get some kind of second opinion before you start putting orthodontics on a 7-year-old. She'd have to be really, really dysfunctional, before I'd turn an orthodontist loose on somebody whose permanent teeth hadn't come in yet.

My dentist, an otherwise OK guy, has been nagging me for several years to get Bonzo some braces, to correct an otherwise minor malocclusion. I had braces myself for 3 years, and I'd have to see Bonzo's teeth a lot more crooked before I'd put him through it, and he's 14.

Has she got some kind of jaw deformity? Why in the world put braces on baby teeth?

Well?

braces hurt
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  #19  
Old 10-21-2001, 12:39 AM
Duck Duck Goose Duck Duck Goose is offline
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I have a deep and paranoid suspicion of dentists and orthodontists in the first place, brought on by direct personal experience...

Hence my shout.
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  #20  
Old 10-22-2001, 10:32 AM
Ivorybill Ivorybill is offline
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Again, thanks all. We've bought wax. We've adjusted to a nightly brushing ritual only slightly less complex than the grooming-fests of a bonobo colony. Fun.

DDG, we've had several dental professionals examine our daughter - - not just orthodontists. Virtually all of them have had the same diagnosis and treatment recommendations. In fact, we put off having a "habit" device put in her mouth when she was four based on concerns similar to those you've raised. What she'll be going through this go-round is a set of appliances to readjust her lower and upper jaw structure.

She won't be getting braces until she's much older, but apparently, her jaw and mouth structure is such that if we don't act now, she'll have to have more agressive treatment later before she can get the braces. Either way, it's not a pleasant scenario.

I do, however, appreciate your concern and advice. We're keeping a close eye on things and will be stopping her treatment for a while if necessary.
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  #21  
Old 10-22-2001, 10:40 AM
handy handy is offline
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I had a girlfriend with braces & she wore rubber bands too. Having umm, you know that "kind of sex" with those bands on sucks, oh I made a pun.
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  #22  
Old 10-22-2001, 11:27 AM
Ivorybill Ivorybill is offline
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Handy, I'll happily point you towards any of the numerous and much more appropriate funky sex threads for you to share similar little nuggets of wisdom. There're plenty of opportunities in them to get that post count up to 20k. Sheesh.
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  #23  
Old 10-22-2001, 07:33 PM
Sunshine Sunshine is offline
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I had braces for two and a half years, from somewhere in age 12 to somewhere in age 14. It was not a traumatic event.

I did have to stop eating a few things, most notably apples and corn on the cob (in fact, the whole family stopped eating the corn on the cob for the entire time because I was so miserable watching them eat it without me. Now THAT'S love!)

There was definitely some pain for a day or two after tightening but tylenol and soup took care of that. The pain amounts did vary from month to month--sometimes it hardly bothered me, sometimes it was so bad it made me cry, co be prepared for that.

Before getting the braces, I had to have four adult teeth pulled because my mouth is too small (now I only have 24 teeth) I also had to have the widening device put in the roof of my mouth near the end. (This was a spring like thing that they called something like a "quadrihelix" because it had four different loops in it.) I had a permanent indentation into my tongue from this thing for a long time, but it's gone now. Fabulous place for food to get caught--water pik helped for that.

Funny story: I had my first "real" boyfriend at 14, while I still had the braces and the "quadrihelix". When it came time for our first "french" kiss, I kept backing off and wouldn't do it. Finally, I had my best friend explain to his best friend that I was afraid of him getting his tongue hurt or caught on this stupid thing in my mouth. It was so embarassing and horrible...but the boyfriend was sweet. He sent the message back that he "had a tough tongue" and not to be embarassed. Anyway, be glad your daughter's not 14 with all this orthodontic stuff! Can't really ask the doc what the best way to kiss with braces is.
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