To Brace Or Not To Brace

August 9th, 2012

During the last two visits to the pediatric dentist, we were given referrals to an orthodontist. My pre-teen has pretty straight teeth except for one of his incisors, which hasn’t come down, so it looks like a fang. Both of my husband’s fangs stick out, so he tells our son that they are “Team Edward.”

To brace or not to brace? That is the question.

When I was growing up, braces were an anomaly. Kids were embarrassed to come to school with their braces and had to endure being called “Brace Face” or “Metal Mouth.” And I recall that braces were only for kids who had seriously crooked teeth or a big over or underbite.

Now, having braces is a rite of passage. My son’s friends announce when they are getting their braces, then they Instagram photos so everyone can see the proof. They even give each other advice on how to eat and what color rubber bands are best. It is now an anomaly not to have braces.

The question my husband and I ask is, ‘Do we need our son to have perfect teeth?’ We would not hesitate if we saw that his teeth were terribly crooked, or that it created some sort of health issue. But we both went without braces and seem to live fairly normal lives (even with the fangs).

Does everything in our world have to be perfect? Will our pre-teen be chastised as an adult for having one out-of-place tooth? Or, will it give him some character?

Oh, by the way, this is a First World problem.

Okay, this is not the biggest problem in the world, nor is it the biggest decision I’m facing at this point in my life. So I’m going to sit on this for the next six months (until our next dentist appointment) and reevaluate then. And maybe that’s what we should all do when faced with decisions — take time and evaluate. It will make you less crazed and probably lead to a better conclusion.




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