It had become evident that my 13 year old son was losing his battle against straight teeth and braces were being recommended by our dentist at one of those rare moments when I could get him to the dentist and open his mouth (at the same time).
It was discussed how fixing his teeth will assist his speech, his chewing and eating as well as his smile.
Feeling like I would be a negligent mother if I didn’t pursue this avenue, plans were made for a referral to an orthodontist.
Several months later sitting in the orthodontist’s office with the process having been outlined to me, a glaringly large colour photo of my teenager’s wayward teeth in one hand and a payment plan with far too many zeros on it in the other, the specialists asks: “Mrs McMahon, do you have any questions?”
I go through in my head what I really want to know.
‘I have a teenage boy, are teeth really that important? I mean he doesn’t talk, he grunts. Teeth really aren’t necessary.’
He even inhales his food. No really this is true. I sat and watched him eat one day, much to his disgust. He had ranted while pacing up and down the kitchen “Where is the meat in this house? I need meat, get me meat!” I was quite taken aback at this almost prehistoric outburst from my caveman son - the transition to teenager was occurring before my eyes. When the aforementioned food was produced and laid out on the kitchen bench to a much-relieved teenage caveman, the meat just disappeared. Literally disappeared. I saw it go near his mouth and then it was gone!
At the next meal I sat and watched this new phenomenon. Did it go up his nose? Did it actually get eaten? The food just seems to go into his mouth, and then a big swallow later it is all gone.
So - no teeth required there to bite or chew.
“His smile will be dazzling,” the orthodontist affirmed to me when the braces are scheduled to be removed in 18 months time. I am thinking, in eighteen months, I wonder if my son will remember how to smile at all, given that he doesn’t do it now. I see a small glimmer of a grin when meat is served for dinner in enormous serves.
His chosen sport is water polo. Often a head, elbow or knee knocks his mouth, I fear these precious teeth straight or crooked will be knocked from his mouth. The way these boys wrestle in the pool in the pursuit of a ball it is any wonder that there are teeth there at all to even put braces on.
I am still wondering why I am about to part with $6,000 to correct my son’s teeth?
I will tell you why. I am glass half-full girl and I live in eternal hope that my once smiley, chatty son will return to me in years to come. In a way I am quite relived to press ‘’pause’ on all that chatter from when they’re 2-13 years. It gives my ears a break. I hope that, with his perfect teeth, he will find his way through school and university, woo some lovely young lady and fit into the emerging ruggedly handsome good looks that are starting to appear around these crooked teeth.
I return to my conversation with the orthodontist, smile my best mother smile and say “No further questions thank you. Where do I sign?”
My son looks at me. He too smiles; deep down he knows what I do. This is just a passing time and we will be already for the return of his bubbly self when the time is right. Bring on the braces.