The Battle of the Braces

We knew it would come. And tomorrow’s the day the braces go on. Maybe.

Years ago my daughter went to an orthodontist who recommended braces two different times, but for shorter lengths of time and at just the right time. Well, braces never come at just the right time for a kid, I’m sure…but at the right time developmentally. At least that’s what the expert told us. My daughter’s in college now, long done with her braces and smiling beautifully.

The Boy has been through his first set of braces. Between then and now his orthodontist went through a succession plan and sold the business to a young upstart. The new doc is so cool. That’s what my son thinks. He knows all about basketball. He recognized that The Boy’s Nike Elite socks were coordinated with the Oklahoma City Thunder team colors. He has TVs in the ceiling and you wear headsets and watch during an exam so you hardly even know where you are.

We’ve been waiting for a couple of my son’s teeth to completely grow in before the second set of braces would go on. The teeth took forever. The last check-up they had finally shown up. To my surprise, the orthodontist said, in front of my son, something like this: “If he’s not going to wear the rubber bands once we get the braces on, it’s really not worth the time and money you’re going to put into this.” I think he was trying to push compliance. My son heard: “No big deal. You decide. Yes, or no.” His bite is off on one side. You hardly even notice. It’s not like he has horsey teeth.

Two days before the braces-on appointment, he decides to get in touch with his belligerent little self. “Think of all the money we’ll save! Think of all the video games and basketball shoes and well, groceries we could buy with that money! I’m not going to do it.” Sigh. Great.

First thought in my head. Time to be Mean Mom. Oh like that’s really going to work. I’ll ground him from something for a while and then I’ll wimp out because he wears me down. He’s really good at that. I see a career in sales for him. And since I’m just launching my own business, it’s not like there are piles of cash sitting around. I’m having a hard time with my resolve. I call the orthodontist’s office and ask why it’s important that he has braces. The teeth are more likely to move if the bite is off, jaw problems later in life…stuff like that. It all made sense to me, but I knew none of this would hit his hot buttons.

He brought it up again on the way home from school today. I mildly suggested that he think about some of his relatives and how their teeth look. Genetically, that same thing is quite likely to happen to him, without some prevention. And then I let it sit and said no more. No, that’s not true. I told him he might as well have braces at the same time as all of the cute girls in his class. I’m sure that really helped.

He came to me later, wanting to bargain his compliance for a new video game. I told him we’ll see. In the meantime I called the young orthodontist again and suggested he do a better selling job in front of my son tomorrow. Stay tuned.


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