At our daughters' last dental appointments, the dentist recommended that all three girls meet with an orthodontist. Susan selected a highly recommended one and scheduled appointments for the girls this morning at his office in Bismarck. The appointment was for a consultation, after which Susan intended to contact a second orthodontist for another consultation as a point of comparison.
I had to stay at work today for several meetings, so Susan and the girls left in the wee hours of the morning, and I relied on text messages from Susan throughout the day to stay informed on what was happening at the orthodontist's office. And, mind you, quite a lot happened!
Susan was impressed with the doctor's level of friendliness and professionalism when interacting with the girls and with her, when explaining the X-rays that they took, and when recommending a course of action for each girl. She was SO impressed, in fact, that she told him to go ahead and put the braces on TODAY! Yep, my ladies went to Bismarck this morning for a consultation and came back with mouths full of braces. ALL THREE of them!
Suzanna has an impacted permanent tooth that is coming in crooked, so it is pushing on the permanent tooth next to it but NOT pushing out the baby tooth that it's supposed to replace. An oral surgeon will pull the baby tooth and place a chain (literally) on the permanent tooth to guide it down into place. She is expected to need her braces for 18 months.
Abigail needs only "mild correction" and will wear braces for about 12 months to correct her cross-bite and straighten her teeth. The X-rays show that her permanent teeth are perfectly aligned to come in right where her baby teeth are, so they should just slide right into place when it's time.
Hillary's problems are the most serious. In addition to an abnormal jaw angle that must be monitored for possible surgery to correct it, there are two impacted permanent teeth in her mouth and three baby teeth whose roots are not releasing. Hillary will have five teeth pulled and two chains installed. They did a special 3-D X-ray on her to see if the impacted teeth have already affected their neighboring permanent teeth, but we'll have to wait for those results. She may have braces for up to three years!
Susan reports that the girls were actually excited to get braces! Abigail was so excited that she was practically shaking. (That's utter excitement in her eyes in the photo above, even though it looks a bit like sheer terror. Fine line.) Because I had braces as a teenager, I know that the excitement will wane as the pain from occasional adjustments hits them, or the pain from wires scraping the insides of their mouths, or the inconvenience of not being able to eat certain favorite foods anymore, etc. We'll see how they're feeling about this when they go to the oral surgeon for the more invasive procedures.
In the meantime, I'll try not to be too obvious as I eat all their Halloween candy, most of which is now on their "do not eat" lists. Hey, it's the least they can do for me since they won't be paying the bill for three sets of braces at once!