If I could access the pictures taken at the orthodontist's office of Julia, I would. But then she might kill me if she found out :) Anyway...
Julia has 2 mouth issues: a very heavy frenum, and a crossbite. The frenum is the strip of tissue that connects the lip to the gum between the front teeth. Her upper frenum is thick like a rubber band, goes between the teeth and wraps around behind them. I've known it would be an issue since she was a baby; there's no way her front teeth could ever come together with that thing in the middle. Dentists have always told us to wait until her adult teeth come in. An oral surgeon recently told me in a reprimanding tone that he would not advise cutting into "healthy tissue," and charged me $89 for that 3 minutes of his time. In his hurry, he also failed to notice the child has a crossbite. That means that one of her front teeth falls in front of her bottom teeth, and one falls behind. All that to say, she has a pretty scary front part of her mouth, and she doesn't like to smile at people.
So we decided to see an orthodontist. Bear in mind, we have no dental insurance, much less orthodontic insurance. But the first consultation was free, so we went. And bless his heart, he looked at that frenum and said, "Well, that must come out first." It is too large for him to do, so he is sending us to a gum specialist. After that, we need to get 2 of her adult teeth to descend (the ones next to her front teeth). They can't do that until the 2 baby teeth occupying those spots are removed, so we'll take a visit to her dentist to remove those teeth. Then we will return to the ortho.
Thankfully, she won't need braces! My purse just breathed a sigh of relief. Once the other issues are resolved, he can correct the crossbite with just retainers. It's also because the REST of her bite is actually very good. He'll put 2 retainers in her mouth, with spacers on top of her teeth to prevent her from biting down all the way, thus allowing her top tooth to 'clear' her bottom teeth. And on the top retainer, behind that tricky tooth, he'll put a little spring that will apply constant pressure to the tooth, and make it move forward. Once it clears the bottom teeth, he'll take the spacers out, and her natural bit will prevent it from going back behind. Ingenious!
And my daughter will smile for her pictures again :)