Using her big mouth for good (not evil).

I never thought I’d be so happy to declare my child has a big mouth. Well, biggish. And, um, actually quite small, but HEY! Big enough!

The last time Gracie went in for her teeth cleaning, her dentist suggested that we might want to take her to an orthodontist. The Time Had Come. He’d been threatening the possibility of braces or at least an expander since the first x-rays he took when Gracie was three. Seems my little chickie has inhertited my teeny, tiny jaw. There was very little space for her grown-up teeth to come in, yadda yadda. Poor Gracie.

Once the kiddo understood what was going on, she worked herself into a quite a state. Trust me – I know all of my baby’s tones and the one she used for “Will it hurt?” was one part honest fear and three parts oh-I’ll-be-dramatic-as-possible. (Hunh. Maybe that comes standard with teeny tiny jaws.) I explained that an expander would probably hurt a bit. I explained the mechanics of it as best I understood. And then I explained to her that we might just pull one or two of her permanent teeth instead. (Hey, I’m a big believer in going down that particular path. I had two permanent teeth pulled and I’ve never had any problems. At least not any that braces couldn’t straighten out.)

Also? I had an ace up my sleeve. Of course I did, for I am an awesome mom like that. Earlier this year, shortly after Gracie declared the school library her own personal territory, she came home with a rather hefty (think 300+ page) graphic novel called Smile. In it, the heroine lived a typical teenagery life – with braces. Gracie was enthralled. Okay, in all honesty, I think what caught her attention were the illustrations when the protag’s front teeth were accidentally knocked out – what 8-year-old doesn’t love guts and gore? – but she devoured the novel in just a few days. And I had found a copy on clearance at our local second-hand bookstore. Ta-da! I figured I would present the book to Gracie after her expander was put in. It wouldn’t smooth over any of the tears and pain and frustration, but it might make her feel a tiny bit more understood.

And so Gracie and I walked into the orthodontist Wednesday morning with mixed emotions. She was kind of curious about what was gonna go down, and I was happy that I was being so proactive about getting my daughter what she needs…but not so enthralled with the roughly $800 price tag.

The dentist was awesome. He chatted with me about various things and made an effort to get to know us. He spoke to Gracie instead of directing his questions over her head to me. And he gave us a straight up, honest evaluation: Gracie really doesn’t need any work done right now. Yes, her jaw is smaller than normal for her age. But, he pointed out, Gracie has a very petite build. Her jaw still has time to grow and it’s not lagging that far behind. He wants to keep an eye on her, and he does think braces or some sort of orthodontia is in her future, but he said he would be surprised if she needed anything before 5th grade. I love dentists and doctors who aren’t afraid to turn patients away from unnecessary work!

Gracie was excited that she didn’t any painful equipment installed in her mouth (although she did like playing with the model teeth displaying each type). I was excited that I didn’t have to fork over hundreds of dollars. And Gracie’s regular dentist was excited to hear that Gracie had declared all dentists are fun. (For reals. What is wrong with that kid?!) Even if I didn’t get to show off my book-buying genius, I’m still more than happy to report that my daughter has a big(ish) mouth. Too bad she’s not afraid to use it.



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3 Responses to “Using her big mouth for good (not evil).”

  1. Kathy Says:

    Such good news! That price tag is hard to swallow – especially if you have a small-ish mouth. Oh, that was so bad. 😛

    All dentists are fun! Gracie must be my kid – I love the dentist.

  2. Gayle Says:

    That’s great that Gracie doesn’t need any orthodontic work yet! And super great that she likes dentists!

  3. Mary Says:

    such a great feeling that the orthodontist just isn’t going to take your money ’cause he can! and when the time comes for her to get them, she won’t be so nervous because of the great experience she had with him!

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