My son had an appointment with his orthodontist today, to have his braces taken off. He got them on during the summer before he entered into 6th grade, so he's had them on for a total of three years.
It had gotten to the point where I got so used to him having all of that metal in his mouth, that he looked so weird to me when he smiled and I saw his bright white teeth!
My son is the typical teenager -- he can sleep until doomsday, if I let him. But, he was up bright and early this morning -- breakfast eaten, teeth brushed, clothes on, and ready to go! He was SO excited about the prospect of getting his braces off once and for all, that when we arrived at the orthodontist's office, I don't think the car came to a complete stop before he got out to go inside! :)
What I thought would be a 45 minute appointment (declared to me not once, but twice, on my answering machine yesterday) turned out to be an hour and a half appointment! So, my oldest daughter and I took the opportunity to head off to a couple of stores nearby to see if we could begin what I thought would be the daunting task of buying her back-to-school clothes.
After a brief trip to the supermarket (to stock up on soda that was on sale there), we headed off to Payless Shoes. I was psyched to find so many cute shoes on sale! :) She picked out two that she loved and I relented to... a Hannah Montana pair (of course!) and another pair of Van-like shoes. I still need to get her sneakers, but we couldn't find any that we liked all that much.
We then went into TJ Maxx. I've never, EVER had any luck in that particular store, but I figured as long as we had time to kill, it wouldn't hurt to take a look. Turns out, we hit the jackpot today!
We found a bunch of cute things -- all on the clearance rack, no less (and some even marked down several times, which is always a wonderful bonus!), and we headed off to our loot to the dressing room so she could try them all on. My 'tween child has developed a slight chest and teeny beginnings of hips... but it's just enough to put her in that "funny" stage when it comes to clothes fitting her body right. So, gone are the days when I can buy stuff off the rack and know that they fit. But, she wasn't complaining; although she's a self-professed "tomboy", the girly-girl comes out in her when it comes to clothes. She LOVES 'em!
Of all the things we found, we only put back a few items (two pairs of jeans that, although they fit perfectly in the waist, were ridiculously long for her, and a couple of shirts that were just way too see-through for my liking). We wound up getting her a pair of denim long shorts, a pair of jeans (with zippers along the sides of the calves that she absolutely adored. She told me "When I feel like being a rocker, I can unzip them and leave the sides open." She's too much! :), two really cute t-shirts, one long sleeved t-shirt, one denim short sleeved, button down shirt that she could either button up and wear alone, or leave unbuttoned and wear over another shirt, and a hoodie with a really deep v-neck, that she would wear with a t-shirt underneath (and, as she excitedly proclaimed, is the same hoodie that Vanessa Anne Hudgens wore on some TV show she saw recently!).
I still want to get her a few more pairs of jeans, some new undies and socks, and a pair of sneakers, but we definitely made a good dent!
By the time we were done, it was time to go back and pick up the boy, who was just finishing up with his "unveiling". His orthodontist was practically busting out of his shirt, his chest was so puffed out! He said that my son's teeth looked "awesome", and that he did an excellent job of wearing his headgear and elastics when he was supposed to. He showed me the "before" pictures, and even though I was supposed to be looking at my son's teeth prior to any work, all I could see is that little boy face looking back at me in the pictures taken three years ago. It's amazing how much his entire look has changed in such a short span of time.
On the way home, I asked my son the typical questions, "Did it hurt?", "Does it feel funny?", "Was there anything weird?" He told me that it didn't exactly hurt, but it was very uncomfortable at times. He said that when the doc was removing the four anchors (used for connecting the elastics to the braces, and other stuff like that), each time the pressure was released from him he heard a loud "pop" in his mouth, and thought the doc broke his teeth. He also said that after all of the braces were removed, he ran his tongue over his teeth, and freaked out a little... until he realized that the sealant that held the braces to his teeth hadn't been removed yet. He thought all of his teeth had been permanently deformed!
His orthodontist said his teeth and gums might be a bit sensitive for the next couple of days, so I made chicken, broccoli and ziti with Alfredo sauce for dinner tonight. I figured it would be better for him to have something soft like pasta to eat.
He's got to go back again tomorrow to have his retainer fitted (they took an impression today, too... never a fun thing). His top retainer will be clear (I guess like an Invisalign?), and he'll have to wear that night and day for four months. He'll get his bottom retainer (a regular wire variety) soon after, but will only have to wear that at night. His clear retainer will be replaced with a wire one, too... and that will be worn only at night for awhile, as well.
He'll then eventually only have to wear his retainers periodically, but could possibly wear them once in awhile for the rest of his life.
I also talked to the orthodontist about my oldest daughter, asking him when he thought she should be evaluated for braces. I told him she was the "Pacifier Queen", and didn't stop using one until shortly after her sixth birthday. Much to my surprise (and contrary to popular opinion), he said that pacifiers always get a worse rap then they actually deserve, because they don't do as much damage as people think. He asked me to make an appointment for him to examine her, because if she does need some work done, he may be able to do some minor corrective stuff now, rather than needing the full-fledged braces down the road. Hey....anyone who tells me I can save a couple of thousand dollars is singing my kind of song, that's for sure! :)
All in all, I'm really proud of my boy. He did extremely well, not only today, but in the past three years. Oh, sure....he grumbled and moaned at me from time to time, but he always did what he was supposed to do. And now, he's got some beautiful pearlies to show for it!