Last night, I was scrolling through Instagram and was suddenly taken back by a photo on-screen.
It was a photo of my daughter.
A typical teenaged selfie like I’ve seen before…except for one thing that made it completely stand out…and warm my heart.
You see, around the time that Bones was 7 or 8, her lateral incisors (the teeth on either side of her two front teeth) fell out like every other kid her age. The tooth fairy came as expected, and we waited for her teeth to grow in.
Except that…they didn’t!
A visit to the dentist and x-ray confirmed that her lateral incisors didn’t exist. There was nothing to grow in. Ever. Nada. Zilch.
Eventually, Bones’ canines started moving forward and the gap from the missing teeth began to close in a little…but it was never quite right and we’ve always known that someday, as soon as she stopped growing, she’d need implants to add the two teeth that were never there in the first place.
This past summer, the process began. While Bones has to wait until she’s 18 to actually get the implants (you have to wait until your jaw and bones have stopped growing), it was time to get braces to open up the space that had begun to close in, to settle all of her teeth back where they belong and make room for the new/fake ones!
I did a bit of asking around to get recommendations for an Orthodontist and we began looking into various options for braces. Essentially, there were standard braces (the metal type with wires) or Invisalign (clear, “invisible” ones.) While some would suggest the procedure is too complicated for Invisalign, there are a couple of Orthodontists in town who could take on the challenge and a few months ago, we went ahead and spent the little extra money for “invisible braces.”
In our case…Bones had gone without these teeth for a long time and for a young girl…it can kind of be tough to deal with. She didn’t really like the way she looked in pictures and it was rare to see an open smile. She disliked the gap in her teeth and it was beginning to affect her confidence and now, with braces, we were about to make an even bigger gap to make room for teeth that would be implanted in a few years time.
The thought of bigger spaces than she already had and making things worse before they got better…didn’t appeal to her in any way!
However, Invisalign provided an option she could live with. While the gaps were opening, when it got to a certain point, the Invisalign aligners would create a space for you to add a piece of tooth-coloured “wax”…emulating the look of a tooth…that from a distance (and even up close), you wouldn’t be able to tell there were missing teeth at all!
Over the last few months, I’ve watched Bones’ face structure change as teeth move to where they belong. Every ten days, she switches to a new aligner and things are moving along as expected. Last week, after 19 of about 50+ aligner changes that will happen over almost two years, the gap was finally big enough to add the “tooth shaped” wax…and for the first time since her baby teeth fell out in grade 2…I could see what she looked like with ALL of her teeth.
And this is where Instagram comes in.
I was used to seeing THIS picture.
The one with her freckles and pretty smile.
The one with her fresh washed hair and the perfect light.
I was used to seeing the photos that showed her personality and her closed-mouth grin.
I’d seen it many times.
But what I hadn’t seen was THIS ONE!
Until last night.
When, for the very first time…
Along with the inventors of Invisalign…a huge thanks to the awesome folks at the The Brace Space…most especially to doctors Dan Stuart and Sarah Davidson, for making this possible! That’s one helluva smile!
Update: May 18th, 2017.
The invisalign journey is over! Megan is now wearing a retainer with two “fake teeth” that look identical to real ones. At eighteen, she’ll get more permanent implants but for now…for the first time in her life, she can’t stop smiling!