Updated: Jun 24, 2018
Peter had his first round of braces on for about a year and a half between ages 11 to 12. The difference in his self-confidence just 3 - 6 months into straightening his smile was joyful to behold! I knew he was bothered by his appearance even though he would jokingly talk about his “Beaver Teeth”. I'll admit I was overwhelmed to start the process, but it was relatively easy in comparision to reconstructive surgeries.
Embarrased by His Smile
When Peter started 3rd grade I was asked to speak wth his class about facial differences. I opened the conversation by asking the students what they noticed about Peter. The first student did not mention his ear, trach stoma, or feeding tube as I was prepared to address. The first comment was about how Peter’s teeth looked different. This is the age when permanent teeth come in, and you really start to see how your child’s smile is going to look. At that time, Peter’s two front teeth were far apart, and he had a severe overbite (typical of Goldenhar kids). So, yes, his teeth were different.
My concern over the question was not that it had been asked but rather how Peter felt about his appearance. Fortunately, I was able to make a quick segue into how Peter had oral surgery just a few months earlier to extract several impacted teeth in preparation for getting braces. Little did I know it would be one more surgery, many consults, and two years later before he would finally get braces.
Finding an Orthodontist with Craniofacial Experience
Finding the right orthodontist isn't simple with a kid like Peter. Most of the time your best option is to see an orthodontist who is part of a larger craniofacial team at a children's hospital. The thought of driving an hour for a broken bracket and wire changes however, was not at all appealing to me. I was also very tired of the clinic environment. Still, I didn’t want to select an orthodontist just because the office was nice and closer to home. My main concern was finding a doctor with an experienced craniofacial background, and, of course, cost is always a concern with braces. After consults with three different orthodontists, I made the decision to go with a private orthodontist who was closer to home. This was a risk I took only after having an open and honest conversation with her about my concerns. After mapping out a treatment plan, I knew she would be an excellent advocate on Peter's team. Dr. Nakisher and her team took incredible care of Peter and communicated frequently with his oral surgeon. We were extremely happy with the treatment and outcome.
Peter's smile clearly shows the difference straight teeth can make.
Read about Peter's Cochlear Implant Surgery