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Would you make your kid get braces?

Puppmom

Ideal_Rock
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Jun 25, 2007
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DD was a little behind on getting teeth and then losing them. She’s been under the care of an orthodontist since she was 8. She had a palette expander to correct a narrow palette. Then she had braces for several months to realign the teeth that were moved during the expansion. She’s almost 16 and has FINALLY lost all of her teeth so she’s been cleared to have her final wave of orthodontic treatment which would be braces. Her teeth look okay but she definitely has some issues with alignment and crowding.

We’re visiting the orthodontist soon for a full consult and DD is obsessing over the fact that she’ll need braces. Generally speaking DD is a pretty laid back kid but she’s seriously freaking out – I think because she’ll be really embarrassed if she has to get braces especially since most kids her age are done with their orthodontic work. She constantly tells me how she’ll refuse braces and she thinks her teeth are fine. I try to reason with her but she’s practically in tears when we discuss it. I’m hoping that the orthodontist will be able to talk some sense into her when we go.

I know the importance of orthodontia as it relates to overall dental health but I’m torn about whether or not I *make* her get braces – at least now anyway. Kids have such fragile egos at this age and I would hate to do something so upsetting to her that isn’t necessary right now. On the other hand, I feel like this is a “she’ll thank me later” situation and, as someone who had to foot the bill for my own orthodontia (and walk around with gaps in my teeth until I was 25), I can appreciate that.

I’ve thought about Invisalign but I had that and while it’s nice because it’s discreet, it’s a hassle. You can easily lose trays and the whole process itself requires discipline which most 16 year old girls, including mine, lack.

Out of curiosity – what would you do? Does this fall under "sometimes you have to make your kids do things they don't like"? Or...is this something not worth pushing?
 

Pandora II

Ideal_Rock
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Aug 3, 2006
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Tricky one... I can see both sides of the argument.

How long would she need the braces for? I think it is much better to have them now at 16 when lots of others will have them as well than to have them once she's at college or even older.

I have always hated my teeth even though they are relatively straight. Unfortunately I had a terrible dentist as a child who took teeth out without x-raying first and despite being my father's dentist and knowing that he was genetically missing the same teeth. Sadly my parents still stuck with him and he pretty much ruined my teeth.

If I was to win the lottery I would be spending a good whack on cosmetic dentistry!

So, I wouldn't want your daughter to end up super-concious and not liking her teeth for the sake of a year or so of braces...

Not sure if that helps any!
 

meresal

Ideal_Rock
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Nov 13, 2007
Messages
5,720
Pupp- They have braces that go on the inside of your teeth. You should ask the ortho if that might be an option.

If that isn't an option, just ask her... would she rather have braces in high school and head off to college with a perfectly beautiful smile to meet all new people... or push the braces of until she is in college?
 

Octavia

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My teeth were always straight, but I had an incisor that didn't descend until my freshman year of college that caused me issues. They had to put braces on so they could create space and pull the tooth down, then hold it in place until everything healed and settled. I got the braces during the summer between freshman and sophomore year, and it was a pain trying to schedule appointments when I was home from college or going home at random weekends and missing a Friday or Monday of classes so I could have things adjusted (it was a 4.5 hour drive from school to home). The worst was when I studied abroad my junior year, though, because the braces weren't off yet and finding orthodontal care in a foreign country isn't always easy. Fortunately, I did find a doctor associated with my university and it worked out, but it would have been SO MUCH EASIER to have gotten it all done when I was younger. Having BTDT, I really don't recommend waiting.

ETA: if she's embarrassed now, it's that much worse when you're 20/21 and still have a mouth full of metal. I'm not even particularly self-conscious and I felt like a fool, especially meeting people when I was abroad who thought it was the strangest thing ever to have braces at my age :rolleyes:
 

soocool

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What got my DD on board with braces is seeing a girl who was much older and had very crooked teeth. She looked at my DD and said that she wished that she had braces when she was younger because she hates to smile because her teeth are so crooked. Even though DD had her braces removed about 2 years ago she had a problem with slippage that her retainer could not fix. She had to have the tooth shaved down a bit and then got an invisible retainer. In less than 3 weeks the tooth went back into place. DD still remembers the girl with the crooked teeth she met when she was 12 years old (DD turns 18 in a few weeks) and says she is the reason that she wanted to get the braces.

So it depends, would your daughter be more bothered by crooked teeth or the braces. I know a mom who had to wear braces for almost 4 years because the orthodontist said it was easier to treat the problem at an earlier age.
 

zoebartlett

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Have you looked into Invisalign? Those might help your daughter not be so self-conscious about wearing braces.

When I was in high school, I needed braces. So did my sister who was in middle school at the time. I was like your daughter in that I got braces later than most kids, unlike my sister. I don't think it crossed my parents' minds to give us the option of getting them then or waiting until we were older. We needed them so we got them. It wasn't the most pleasant experience but I survived. I will say that I'm really glad I got them back then and I don't need to worry about it as an adult.
 

Bella_mezzo

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I had braces from 15 to 17 (for them off just before my Sr. pics in high school) SO GLAD! My teeth didn't look so bad before but they were so tight I couldn't really floss...I had 4 teeth pulled (plus later my 4 wisdom teeth), had a baby tooth that never came out sawed off my jawbone (somehow it was attached) and then had braces. It hurt and I'm sure was expensive for my parents at a time when we had very little money, but I am so glad that my teeth are straight and healthy and able to be cleaned. All my friends had had braces in Jr high and elem school (when it was cool to have braces) :rolleyes: but it really wasn't a big deal for me...
 

packrat

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I got them when I was in 8th grade I think. Or 7th. Anyway, I had them my Freshman year as well, and didn't wear my retainer properly afterward so my teeth are crooked again-not as bad as they were, but it's there and I don't like it. I looked into the braces on the back of the teeth and they're more expensive than that regular ones, as are invisi-line. We've got a new dentist now and I've not talked to her about it, but my other one wasn't real impressed w/the clear ones b/c the teeth had a tendency to not "stay" as well as w/the metal braces. Plus, my parents aren't footing the bill this time around so I'm just stuck w/crooked teeth and it's my own fault. I've known a few adults who've gotten the regular metal braces-both a year or year and a half before their weddings so they'd have purdy teeth, and none of them were thrilled about it, cost wise and looks wise. Your daughter is older than I was when I got mine but still..I'd much rather have had them at that age than in my 20's or now in my 30's. I can guarantee that nobody I went to school with even remembers I had braces.
 

Deelight

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Would I make my daughter do it - YES in a heartbeat

Not everyone can get invisalign - I couldn't and I had my braces on at 27 and taken off at 30 just before my wedding - seriously best thing I have ever ever done - do I wish I got them when I was younger - YES because I would not have had as many dental issues as I have had, like when I cracked the corner off a perfectly healthy tooth earlier this year due to years of clenching from a misaligned jaw or filings from over crowded teeth etc.

Seriously I might be a freak but I loved my braces - I had clear on top metal on bottom and you really can not notice them that much I also rocked the coloured bands :D

There is a braces forum you can check out and daughter as well called archwire or something like that.
 

swingirl

Ideal_Rock
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Apr 6, 2006
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5,654
Since your teeth continue to move throughout your entire life make sure your DD knows that hers will continue to get more crooked and not stay the same. So even if she likes her teeth right now, they will get worse from the pressure of them being misaligned. That could mean braces in college, braces in her wedding photos, braces at her first job, and braces when she isn't covered by dental insurance.

My son got his braces off just in time for his senior pictures so at her age there still are many kids who are starting their treatment.

That being said, you can't force the issue. If she doesn't want them she won't take care of them, which can mean more time (and money), cavities and damaged teeth. The patient really needs to be a participant in their dental care.

By the way, I had Invisalign and it was wonderful. I had a very knowledgeable orthodontist who tweaked the program for my particular situation. My lover teeth were very crowded. One was rotated 90°. I have crowns, root canals and had a lower front tooth removed. He was able to put them all in perfect alignment and match up my bite. I have to wear my retainer every night but they have stayed straight for several years. Well worth the money but I don't think I would trust teens to keep track of the process.
 

anchor31

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7,074
I had braces at 13-14 and I glad I've had them. I have had countless compliments on my teeth for the past 11 years! It was very important for me to have them becaause it wasn't only a question of aethestics, but I had an overbite that needed to be corrected.

For your DD, if it's not a question of health that need to be fixed ASAP, I would leave her the choice. If her teeth are crooked, chances are she will want them later. As for Invisalign, my orthodontist made all his patient wear trays for a certain amont of time after braces. My two siblings and myself were all younger than your daughter when we had them, and we never lost them. They were either in our mouths or in their containers on the bathroom counter! Our mom made sure we wore them every day.

I also agree that you had to be committed to care for them. It's work, and I saw the results of someone not caring for them... Not pretty.

Good luck!
 

MonkeyPie

Ideal_Rock
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Apr 23, 2008
Messages
6,059
I should have gotten braces and never did. Now one of my front teeth overlaps the other front tooth (not terribly noticeable, but I am very aware of it) and my bite doesn't line up at all. I have never had issues, but I absolutely HATE the way they look. My mom let me say no to braces, and I wish she had just forced me to get them now. I hate my teeth.

She's 16. She will get over it. She won't be irreparably damaged from a year or two of metal. She WILL be upset later in life if they remain crooked. You're her mom. What you say goes.
 

somethingshiny

Ideal_Rock
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Jul 22, 2007
Messages
6,746
Well, I had a long post and Lily deleted it.

Bottom line. Yes, I'd make her get them. Better now than later when she has dental problems and no insurance and comes back on you for it. It's your job to make the best decisions for her, and if the orthodontist says braces are best, so be it.

You're such a good mom to be so caring of her feelings.
 

PinkTower

Brilliant_Rock
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Mar 15, 2009
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My daughter just got hers removed last month at 16.5

The only real problem with an uncooperative teenager would be if she has to wear a lot of rubber bands, which my daughter had to do. I don't know what we would have done if she was not conscientious about the rubber bands.
 

TheDoctor

Shiny_Rock
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Nov 30, 2005
Messages
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It's so hard to align teeth until the kids are about 17 or older. Their entire head changes shape and the intervention at an early age just guarantees longevity of committment to the orthodontist.
Wisdom teeth screw up early work and the orthodontists won't necessarily share that info with you, so it's then 8-9 years of care at several grand per year. Wait. Have the kids look after their teeth with good, sensible hygene, and then brace 'em up when they are at their highest risk of causing a teen pregancy. Cost effective and, when administered responsbly by a practical orthodontist, effective for life.
 

DivaDiamond007

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TheDoctor|1290824850|2780092 said:
It's so hard to align teeth until the kids are about 17 or older. Their entire head changes shape and the intervention at an early age just guarantees longevity of committment to the orthodontist.
Wisdom teeth screw up early work and the orthodontists won't necessarily share that info with you, so it's then 8-9 years of care at several grand per year. Wait. Have the kids look after their teeth with good, sensible hygene, and then brace 'em up when they are at their highest risk of causing a teen pregancy. Cost effective and, when administered responsbly by a practical orthodontist, effective for life.

:lol: at your teen pregnancy comment!



I got braces late; I think I was in 8th grade when they were put on and a freshman in hs when they were removed. My parents didn't give my sister or me a choice. Our teeth were horribly crooked and we got the palate expanders, braces and retainers to "fix" the problems. My sister's teeth still look perfect today (she's now 26) but I hate how mine look (I'm 28) and I wish I could afford to correct them. Basically, I had two upper molars removed (one from each side) and now there's a gap between my right front tooth and the tooth next to it. It's not a huge gap and nobody really notices unless I point it out but I know it's there and I think it makes me look like a hillbilly. The permanent retainer that was put in fell out years ago so that's part of the problem. My bottom teeth still look perfect, but I also still have a permanent retainer down there, complete with the bracket things that go all the way around your teeth to hold it in.

TheDoctor brings up a good point in that your teeth will continue to shift into adulthood, as mine did, and that wisdom teeth could also screw things up later on. When I was undergoing my treatment my parents were told that none of my wisdom teeth would come in, and low and behold, both of the top ones are now coming in. The right one is almost all the way descended and the left one is well on it's way. Who knows what that will do to my mouth!

Even with all of the orthodontics that I've had I will admit that I hate going to the dentist and haven't seen one in years. I also do not floss my teeth (barf!) but do have excellent brushing habits. I've only had 1 cavity in my entire life and it was a hole in my head before I went to have it filled. As I suspected when I went in to have it taken care of I was given the run around by the dental office and had to make three separate appointments and then the tech called me a baby when she was scraping my gums with that pointy hook thing and I started bleeding everywhere. I'm pretty sure that experience traumatized me for life! I'd go in for a cleaning these days but that's it. No x-rays, no scraping with the pointy hook and no multiple appointments for a simple procedure.
 

TheDoctor

Shiny_Rock
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Nov 30, 2005
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371
8th grade is NOT late. It's early. Stuff still expanding and moving around. As a result, you have issues in your adult years.

I had braces installed when I was nearly 18, after many (maybe 7?) years of seeing the orthodontist for consultations at a few bucks per visit.
They pulled 4 teeth prior to intalling the braces because I had too much enamelled bone for the size of my mouth. My kids had the same issue. My two eldest didn't get braces until they were each about 17, and the results, in each case, are wonderful.

Mind you, those were old school orthodontists in my day, but...same schtick with the kids. Maybe some of the newer ones are eager to pay for the Ferarri? Patience.
 

Jennifer W

Brilliant_Rock
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I think my take on this is slightly different. At 16, I would be less worried about her being embarrassed socially about wearing the braces, and more concerned with her right to autonomy over her own person.

Will the orthodontist treat her without her consent at age 16? I don't know how that works in the US, but where I live, it wouldn't be possible to treat her against her will and the decision would be hers alone, regardless of whether it is a smart decision or not. I would strongly encourage her to have the treatment, but I really don't think I would try to force her, nor would I expect a competent professional collude with that.
 

diva rose

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Apr 9, 2010
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451
I had braces when I was a child at 14 years old for 3 years. Then I got invisalign at 27.
No matter what age you get your braces - you have to wear your plates for the rest of your life. Your teeth do move otherwise.

At 16 - I would recommend you let her do what she wants.
She is old enough to make her own decision about her appearance.
If she decides in the future she wants braces, she can get the braces herself as an adult.

At age 13 - I'd say it's parents' call. :)

Now days there are other options other than your average kind:
- clear ones
- braces were they put it behind your teeth

Bear in mind these ones are more costly and doesn't get your teeth done as quickly as the usual one.
 

february2003bride

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Jan 18, 2005
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I had braces from 21-23 but I should have had them from 13-15 but I refused. In hindsight, I wish my parents had made me do it when I was a teenager. But my parents tended to just give in to make us kids shut up :errrr:

I would insist that your DD get braces now. If she doesn't, she won't want them in college and then after college she'll be job hunting and then working. Suddenly, there's no time for orthodontist appointments, and who wants braces in their 20's? Plus it's free when mom and dad pay for it, not so much when you're an adult! ;))
 

elrohwen

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May 20, 2008
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I wouldn't force her to do it, but I would definitely point out that she'll have to do it at some point - doing it now is much less annoying than doing it in college, or as an adult. I know a 45 year old man who just got his off - talk about a pain! But if she's adamant about not doing it now, then it'll be her choice and she can pay for them as an adult.

If she were a bit younger I would make her do it, but by 16 it gets harder to make a kid do anything. If you think you can push her into it, go that route, but if you think she would resent it so much she wouldn't follow through and would make things worse, then it's not worth spending your money on it.
 

Tacori E-ring

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20,022
I would really, really encourage her and remind her this would be the only time *I* would pay for braces. If she decided she wanted them as an adult, she would be on her own with the bill.
 

lliang_chi

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Mar 13, 2008
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3,740
I got braces at 16. My sister and I needed jaw surgey to correct and overbite. Yes we were the only people in high school and first year of college with braces on. Honestly, it was NOT that bad. My BFF made a tease the first day I got it, and everyone else just related to the whole suckiness of braces. I had them playing sports, got my lips/checks cut up by the metal. Had them in my senior pics and at prom. In the whole grand scheme of things, she'll see it's not a big deal. Honestly it's all in the head, you know?

I wouldn't want to force her either but try reasoning with her. Sounds like she self conscious, maybe find ways to help her cope with how she feels instead of just avoiding getting braces. What might help is showing her this thread. I think we can all relate to the neurosis of sixteen year olds. But I think helping her sort her feelings out with this will help with all the other peer issues young'uns face at 16.

Good luck
 

Brown.Eyed.Girl

Ideal_Rock
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Speaking as someone who should have gotten braces (my teeth look fine, but my lower jaw is out of alignment and so my jaw is crooked - not horrible but should have been corrected), and didn't because 1) my parents didn't think it was that bad; and 2) I begged not to get them because by the time we realized I really NEEDED them I was already in high school, I have to say I'm on your side, Puppmom. I WISH I had gotten them when I was younger - let's face it, I wasn't that cool in high school anyway. And once you're in a professional career (or in a professional school) you really don't want to be the person with braces. At least before you're fully independent and on your own, it's far more acceptable - even if it's a later age than your DD would wish.
 

partgypsy

Ideal_Rock
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I guess I'll be the dissenting voice. All the kids in my family had to go to a dentist who was a family friend. I hated going because he was very rough. I didn't realize till later that going to the dentist didn't have to hurt. He recommended that all 3 us us older kids needed to go to an orthodonist and we all needed braces. And yes the orthodontist was a friend of the family, etc. I was the most compliant one so I had 2 years of braces while my two sibs rebelled and refused to get them. Did I need them? My teeth looked and felt fine. In fact the week before I got braces a girl in my school asked if I had braces because my teeth looked so "perfect", to which I responded, no but I will next week. When I asked the orthodondist why I needed them, he said it was so I could keep my wisdom teeth. Regarding my twin sister who refused, alignment-wise there was nothing different between my teeth and my sister's teeth.

So maybe I was just unlucky, but I feel that it can happen that people push orthodontia that is not completely necessary. At the least get a second opinion from someone who does not view you as a cash cow.

And what is the worst thing that will happen if she refuses? If she hates her teeth she can pay to get braces when she is an adult. Heck even Tom Cruise did that.
 

monarch64

Super_Ideal_Rock
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I wouldn't force the issue if she's so against having them. Self-acceptance is hard to come by in teenagers, and unless her bite is out of whack to the point that it IS causing health issues, then let her decide for herself whether she wants them. There is a great website where you can do further research and so can she: archwired.com.

I had braces as an adult, and I loved them, which isn't typical but it happens. You've offered to get them for her, so it isn't as though she can look back later in life and feel like she didn't have the opportunity to have them.

Another way you might convince her, if you decide to try, is to sit down and do a cost comparison of what braces would cost now with your dental plan and you paying for them, and projected costs of a random dental plan for an adult living on what she thinks her salary might be minus all the other expenses in life at that time (will she have student loans? car payments? housing?) Perhaps breaking down the benefits cost-wise will have an effect.
 

decodelighted

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Find an ortho that specializes in adult braces. Take her to the waiting room. Ask the folks to describe WHY they want braces now & how much they are costing them.

I know three 40+ folks with braces NOW. Folks who are starting to have to budget for their KIDS' braces and go "Hey! What about ME!" Anyway. I think the wake up call would be talking to the adults full up of metal.
 

TooPatient

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I like the suggestions of talking to adults who are dealing with it now. I'd also suggest you print out this thread and let your daughter read it. She's old enough that she shouldn't be forced into having braces BUT ---- I think you are correct that she should get them now rather than later.

I should have had braces. My teeth started as a bit crooked (but okay enough that I didn't mind) but got worse. Now I am 25 years old with no insurance and I 'm stuck with a mess that I don't know when I'll be able to fix. My bite doesn't line up pretty severely which leaves my face looking a bit funny -- and means I can't eat corn-on-the-cobb without cutting it off the cobb so I can use a fork; eating a banana leaves my gums bleeding (due to how my teeth line up);etc. I've got a crooked (sideways) tooth in front that makes it hard to clean a couple of other teeth. Got some crowding so flossing is unpleasant (to say the least). Oh... and I have to sort of hold my tongue a bit back in my mouth because if I just let it sit naturally I wind up biting it (it sits between my upper & lower teeth).

So... yeah....
I could have had braces almost entirely covered by insurance with the rest paid for by my family and been done with it when there were still a few people my age with them but I said no and now I'm facing engagement & wedding photos with crooked teeth that make me terribly self conscious. I'm also dealing with meeting new people in college (some of them instructors & potential employers)...


Good luck.
 
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