My oldest has been begging for braces for two years. And when I say begging, I mean B-E-G-G-I-N-G. Every other day I would hear “can you call Dr. Grant (we’re buds) and ask him if my teeth are ready? Can we go in for an x-ray? I KNOW I’m ready, so-and-so and so-and-so just got hers on…yaddah, yaddah, yaddah.” Ansley’s no dumby. She’s watching all of the other tweens around her get their braces on. And off. And she hasn’t even begun her treatment, which she knows will be a two-year diddy. Do the math and right now we’re looking at braces in high school for sure. Well her day finally came. Her baby teeth finally came out (she’s got delayed teeth-losing genes on both mama’s and daddy’s sides). So off to Hull & Coleman Orthodontics we went.
Over the last two years, we’ve monitored Ansley’s teeth closely and we were holding out for a few more key teeth to come out and then it would be time. I remember at one point siding with Ansley thinking that she’s going to be headed to college still in braces if we don’t hurry up. I too was watching all of the kids around us get theirs on and off and wondered what our hold up was. But Dr. Coleman assured me the timing wasn’t right yet. That’s what I love most about Dr. Coleman. His goal is to time the treatment in such a way that maximizes the results in the least amount of time. He does his best not to have two treatments (because what child really wants that and what parent really wants to pay for it?) or have unnecessary teeth pulled. We had no reason to do anything but wait. But I truly think that worked in our favor. Because now, she is super pumped! It also helped that I had Invisalign as an adult (also by Doc Coleman:-) and she watched me take very good care of my teeth and I still sleep with a retainer most nights of the week six years later. I too had waited a very long time to get my perfect smile!
As eager as Ansley was to get her braces, it was still a shocker for her when she looked in the mirror that first time. HORRIFIED is the only way I can describe her initial reaction. I, of course, thought she was C-R-A-Z-Y – just look at this child! She looks amazing in her braces, doesn’t she? (BTW, she still hadn’t looked in the mirror yet, thus the huge smile!)
I could not for the life of me figure out what was wrong. And then I saw them. She picked Smarty pink for her braces color, bless her heart! Now pink or green or any groovy color is probably hip for kids 5th grade and under. But once you hit middle school, you are in the big leagues, so you want to draw as little attention as possible to your new metal smile. So, we swapped them out three days later. Easy peezy, problem resolved.
Now with a few months under our belt, here are my Smarty Top 10 tips for first time braces:
1) Make sure your child asks for the right color. Duh.
2) Go ahead and take her out of school for the day. Ansley told me that all of her friends got Starbucks and treats when they got their braces. I was thinking this was insane. I mean really, I had her convinced that braces are a privilege. No need to go overboard here. But then the day came. And her mouth really hurt. And her self image. So my baby girl could have asked me for anything she wanted that day, I was ready to deliver.
3) Load up on Motrin. You’ll need it for two days. It’s not the worst pain ever, but it’s for real.
4) Get soft food – pasta, smoothies, ice cream, frozen yogurt, mashed potatoes, soup. Nothing hard for the first few days.
5) Make sure your child follows your doc on facebook and instagram and enters for each and every cool contest they have. Great use of social media! Seriously, Hull & Coleman gives away the BEST prizes ever. Think new mini iPads, iPod speakers, Beats, Carowinds season passes – you name it! Get on it!
6) Make sure your child has good dental hygiene. You get extra points for those contests and, it makes for a better outcome (the true meaning behind the contests). Also, if she gets her teeth cleaned, don’t forget to bring in something signed from your dentist. Yup, this equals more points to win those contests.
7) Make sure she brushes at school. Or at least does a quick drive-by in the mirror. Nobody wants to talk to a tweenager who has a turkey sandwich or cheetos smashed in her teeth.
8) Do buy a cute Vera Bradley or Lilly satchel that fits her tooth brush and tooth paste in her backpack in style. This will be extra incentive for brushing at school.
9) Invest in a good mouth guard if she plays sports. We bought ours right at the ortho office. You can’t use the kind that molds to your teeth since they are constantly moving.
10) Enjoy the experience. We have had hers on for only a few months and I can see so much change. It’s so cool to watch!
If you’re in the market for braces, I would highly recommend Dr. Coleman (and Drs. Hull!). Grant is passionate about his work, he loves working with kids (he’s a big kid himself, just look at this picture:-) and treats his patients as part of his family. I say with conviction that all four of my children are in line to have Grant as their orthodontist and I’m looking forward to the experience. I know they will be in great hands!
You can find Hull & Coleman Orthodontics at:
7800 Providence Road, Suite 201
Charlotte, NC 28226
Wesley Chapel Office
5941 Weddington Road
Wesley Chapel, NC 28104
You can always find them on facebook.
Share in the comments below your braces experiences!