This week we reached a major milestone in our household, both kids began their journey with the orthodontist. The funny thing about braces is that when you are young, you look forward to them with such anticipation. You think about how cool it will be and how it will make you stand out in a socially acceptable way. Most kids are too young to have experienced tooth pain and to realize it is a pain unlike any they’ve ever experienced.
My daughter is almost the exact same age I was when I got my braces. I was in 7th grade and it was Valentine’s Day. I was so excited to go back to school to show off my new mouth full of metal! The excitement wore off when I realized I couldn’t eat any of the Valentine’s treats because my teeth were too sore.......maybe there was more to having braces than I realized. How often does that happen to us? We anticipate doing something (going to college, working full-time, getting married, buying a house, having a baby) and then when we actually do it we realize it’s so much harder than we anticipated. For all the joy it brings you, there is the unexpected soreness that comes along with it too. My daughter has been on a steady diet of soft foods these last couple days. Each day she asks me when is it going to get better? The honest answer is that I don’t know, so I tell her that every day she should feel a little bit less discomfort. Sometimes that’s how you have to measure improvement, in small and tiny increments.
Speaking of small and tiny, you could probably use those words to describe the amount of room my son has for the massive permanent teeth trying to make their way into his mouth. As a result, he too got to experience the fun of the orthodontist this week. He had spacers put between his back molars to prepare for the expander that will be placed on the roof of his mouth next week. The expander is a fascinating device when you think about it. His jaw is not big enough for all his teeth, they are fighting for space, trying to cram into an area that is too small. Each night, we will turn a small crank one time that will slowly expand the jaw. Each night it will get bigger by a fraction of a fraction. After thirty days, all those fractions will add up to the total amount of space his teeth need to come in straight and not overlap. I picture the ease with which the teeth will be able to slide down, finally having the room they need. How often do we try to cram too much into a space that’s not big enough? How often do we think that when we make a change it must be one big action? Do we ever stop to think that thirty small actions might be more manageable?
Orthodontics is all about moving the roots of your teeth. When you put it like that, there's no surprise that it’s painful because roots take hold and lock in. With the right tools and equipment, it is possible to shift those roots slowly over time. For my daughter, they estimate eighteen months. For my son, the time will be shorter, but chances are this is just round one. Change takes time, maybe more time than we think that we can put in. However, the payoff is having re-anchored roots that will be better prepared to handle the daily grind. The joyful smiles at the end will be wonderful too.
Do you need to shift your roots but don’t know where to start? Let’s talk, direct message or email me at balancedheartcoaching.com and we’ll set up time this week
I started writing this blog because I wanted to have deeper conversations beyond "How are you?", "Busy", with other parents. Over the years I've shared personal stories, articles, authors and topics to facilitate conversations with parents about the joys and the challenges of parenting.