My obsession with teeth

By Mir
August 30, 2011

I’ve been thinking a lot about teeth, recently. I took Monkey to the orthodontist yesterday, and although it feels like he only just got his braces off (okay, two years ago, whatever), we are fast approaching “stage two” time. In other words: the orthodontist clearly has a boat payment to make. They did a new panoramic view x-ray which showed that Monkey’s last round of permanent teeth are descending in a full variety of crazy ways, meaning that in another six months to a year, he’ll need braces AGAIN. Awesome!

In the meantime, Chickadee’s braces are scheduled to come off next month (and then she’s DONE) (we hope). The kids hate all of this and it costs a ridiculous amount of money, but I have this thing about teeth. I want them to love their smiles, so that they don’t ever stop smiling of feel self-conscious doing so.

Baggage? Moi? Why yes, thank you. I’m over at Off Our Chests today talking teeth, because here I am at 40, still trying to learn to love my smile.


  1. bob

    When you are 60 and looking at photo albums with your grown children of when they were growing up, they will be able to see you too. That is important and your kids (and friends) will be thankful that they have pictures of you to remember you by, to show that you too were a part of their lives. It doesn’t matter what you think you look like, your friends and family love you no matter what, and they deserve to have the memories of you that your pictures will preserve.

    And yes, your smile does light up the room – but it would do so even if your teeth weren’t straight, no matter how much or little gum is showing. Smiles come from within, as does the illumination they provide – it is you shining through.

  2. Leanner

    Bob #1 is so right. Even though I hate having my picture taken, only less than I hate looking at my own photo, I try to remember that my friends, family, and especially my children deserve those memories. My dad died unexpectedly a few years ago. He too was a photo phob. We have so few photos of him, only a dozen or so from both my childhood and adulthood. Oh how I wish there were more. So the next time any of us try to shy away from a photo lens remember what you have the opportunity to leave behind.

  3. Daisy

    I finally, after 15 years, had a discolored tooth veneered. I was amazed that insurance covered it, but they considered it necessary, not cosmetic. Now I can smile without hiding my teeth! Maybe I’ll stop running from cameras now. Or maybe not.

  4. Laura GF

    I’m trying to phrase this gently, but do you not see the irony in hoping your children are not self conscious about smiling when you are showing them that their smiles are so naturally unappealing that you are willing to spend gobs of money and cause them significant discomfort to “correct” them? I don’t believe confident smiles arrive via orthodontia.

  5. Mir

    Laura, both of my children have (or rather, had) small mouths and crossbites that were medically risky to leave untreated. I guess I’m sending them the message that their teeth are naturally unappealing by providing them with what has been deemed necessary medical care? I guess my daughter should give up her glasses and contacts, too, if I want her to think her eyes are pretty…? Sorry, I don’t understand your point here.

    Yes, confident smiles don’t come through orthodontia, but neither is orthodontia purely cosmetic.

  6. Heather

    I think you have a totally adorable smile. (Particularly in the photo at the bottom right that Karen took of you!)

  7. Amy

    I battled my own obsession with teeth and had braces twice. Once as an adult, after five years as a teen. As perfect as the orthodontist said my teeth where, they where never what I wanted. I basically wanted some one elses mouth! I have found bleaching regularly makes me feel like a movie star. Until I drink too much coffee anyway….What I meant to say is – you are not alone.

  8. Stephanie

    i totally feel your pain… at 53 i’m STILL trying to learn to love my smile. :) i still have BABY teeth! yeah… nice look. and my poor 13yo, lauren, has. my. teeth! same missing adults. we’re already into the ortho with her. she’ll have amazing teeth to go with her gorgeous smile. :) and hopefully, won’t have the jaw issues either. then… maybe… if i can kick a little more money off the money tree… i might even get them for myself. husband jim is encouraging if that’s what i want.

    and btw… i don’t quite get laura’s point either. but then there’s one in every crowd, eh?

  9. The Mommy Therapy

    Braces were a natural phase of my dental life since I was born with an amazing overbite and a HUGE space between my two front teeth. My parents never made me feel concious about those huge, awkward teeth, but I hated them.

    I will NEVER forget the feeling on getting my braces off in the eigth grade. I honestly felt like I was the most beautiful girl at school for at least a week, and that’s tough to come by in junior high. I still love my smile and am VERY grateful to my parents for shelling out the money to make it happen.

    I’m repaying them by using it as often as I can.

    Way to go Mir, they will thank you for it eventually.

    Just don’t let them get colored bands on the braces, HUGE mistake made by me. Looks like food perpetually stuck in the teeth.

  10. bj

    Ooh, we just started, today, the orthodontic journey with our 10 year old. I am not looking forward to it at all, but my daughter is not at all displeased. I think in her social circle it’s a rite of passage.

  11. Laura GF

    Mir, I agree — there would definitely have been a difference in the way this came across if you’d written about medically required orthodontia (rather than describing your reason for orthodontia as the hope they wouldn’t feel self conscious, with the implication that your hangups caused the self consciousness in the first place).

  12. Ladybug Crossing

    I, too, am obsessed with teeth. I think if you can give the kids an opportunity for a “perfect smile” you should do it. Both of my children had orthodontics – one had the old fashioned brackets. The other had Invisalign. I don’t care if either one of them think that their original smiles were imperfect — they were!! His buck teeth were particularly hideous…

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