Sunday, August 28, 2011

Changing Face

When I was about ten years old, I had four teeth removed. My teeth were coming in crooked, and there wasn’t enough room for them all, so teeth were pulled. That ‘s just they way it was done back then.

Now, the philosophy has changed. You don’t pull teeth if you really don’t need to. You expand the jaw to make room for the teeth. And you get braces.

All three of my kids are likely to need expanders and braces. I’ve been asking the orthodontist we’ve been visiting about the change in policy. She’s just keeping an eye on the kids to see when is the right time to start intervening and doesn’t charge until the process starts. To her credit she has told us that we don’t need treatment. No-one died from having crooked teeth. But I’m well aware that people are judged on appearance, and having straight teeth does matter. She’s assured me that although the children’s faces will change, she won’t let them look like they aren’t my children anymore. Thanks. I’ve asked my dentist too. Why the change in policy? He told me that, because I’ve had four teeth removed, I have unsupported lips. Unsupported lips. I spent the next day wondering how my life would have been different if I’d had supported lips. My face would have been different if I had kept all my teeth. And, being in my mid forties now, I’m aware that your teeth do start to deteriorate and the longer you can keep your own teeth the better.

So, intervention either way changes the shape of your face. Is it better to expand the jaw and make the teeth fit, or remove teeth to allow room for them to be straight? Or to just accept crooked teeth and not mess with the shape of your face?

Strange how I wouldn’t dye my children’s hair, or tattoo them, but I’m prepared to change the structure of their faces.

At the moment, we’ll be going with expanders and braces.

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