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Questioning merits of Orthodontia. Please weigh in! - Page 2

post #21 of 67
Thread Starter 
Adorkable, thank you for your reply. Your situation sounds atypical in that if was creating a speech problem and it required the advanced orthodontics of using a headgear. . . I'm asking more about the seeming evolution of "braces for every kid, because pretty much everyone's teeth a kind of crooked to varying degrees".

I guess if I had gone through as rigorous and painful an orthodontia experience as you did, it might well contribute to me looking at the end result as my "pride and joy".

Also, I'll just touch on the point that you and others mentioned about the irrelevance of kids being teased about braces because kids are teased about something - anything! Since this has been mentioned in several replies, I'm wondering if people are attributing more weight than I had intended to give that comment in my original post:

I mentioned potential teasing and other pitfalls of living with orthodontic apparatuses simply to contrast with my observation of society's fixation with perfectly straight teeth. Most of the mental anguish that my appliances caused me (as an elementary-aged child) was not because of teasing from others; it was the self-induced result of how stupid and clumsy and insignificant and shy I felt wearing them.

Adorkable, thank you for mentioning that your experience with the palate expanders was "very painful". I don't know a lot about them (Or is this just a "new-fangled" name for "appliances"?)
post #22 of 67
Thread Starter 
Oh my! I just Googled images of palate expanders.

Now, I realize that my initial gut reaction is far from scientific or rational. . . But all I could think of was forceps! (While they can be useful in very rare circumstances in a birth, they certainly shouldn't be used frequently and can cause serious problems).

The palate expanders just look very stressful and, frankly, like some sort of antiquated technology that I might expect to see in a dental museum while we all rolled our eyes at the inferior methods of the past! Yikes!
post #23 of 67
i have been told that the palate expanders are better now, i had the kind that you turn with a key, they have constant pressure ones that some say are easier.

mind you i did not look that bad, they actually didn't know that the overbite caused my speech issue (could not say my R's) and from what i have seen, and i saw a lot when i went back in my 20's i was pretty middle of the road.

all that being said, i do feel that straight properly space teeth are easier to eat with and keep clean and i think it is actually a small hassle that gets us a great thing that we can give our kids.

i do understand your frustration about it being a given for the slightest thing
post #24 of 67
i will say that the pallet expander no matter how bad, if needed are really needed. if i had not done that i would be in trouble now, that was the only thing that was non negotiable. and it is nothing that cant be lived thru, like i said i think it actually taught me something really positive about getting thru my troubles.
post #25 of 67
Just adding my own experience...

I had braces, as did the majority of my peers, in the first two years of high school. Though they were extremely common, practically a rite of passage in my area, I was vehemently opposed to getting them and was eventually forced into it by my parents because of an overbite diagnosed by a dentist. They were, of course, extremely expensive. I resented them and the difficulty they caused me in caring for my teeth. After 2 years I got them off and graduated to a retainer, which I wore for all of 3 months before taking it in and out of my mouth every time I wanted to eat began to seem like a ridiculous and embarassing unnecessity, so I stopped. My top teeth (which were never really crooked in the first place) remained straight, and my bottom teeth have slowly become slightly crooked (one of them slightly overlaps the other) as they were before braces. I later also had all of my wisdom teeth out, at the recommendation of another dentist (not that I had any choice in the matter, as I was still a minor at that point). I am not sure if the wisdom tooth removal was necessary or not, but I am almost sure that the braces were not. I never had any trouble eating or speaking before my braces, and I suspect that my facial structure would have matured in time so that I would have had less of an overbite. I still have a slight one anyway.

My sister, on the other hand, did not require braces according to the dentist because she had no bite problems. However, she opted to get them anyway as her teeth were rather crooked. So apparently the crooked teeth were not considered a functional problem, at least by this dentist.

I am even more skeptical of the necessity of braces for the great majority of people who get them because I now live in a country where only a minority of children/teenagers get them, and the healthcare here is very good. That tells me that braces are overprescribed in the US. This country also happens to have less of a fixation with physical perfection: tooth whitening and cosmetic surgery are considerably less popular, for example. Although I don't doubt that orthodontry can help some people with serious mouth structure problems, I think for the most part it's really not necessary apart from cosmetic value.

That's just my two cents, of course, and I can't cite any studies to back up my opinion. This has just been my experience. If my child were deemed to need braces, etc., I would probably get a second and third opinion, especially if I were living in the states.

ETA: I don't know if my sister developed cavities after having braces, but I developed several "almost cavities" between my teeth during that time and I wouldn't be surprised if they were at least partially due to the difficulty I had in flossing properly with the braces.
post #26 of 67
I've got a kid with a nice palate and lots of teeth space, permanents coming in well, etc. I've got another with a tiny jaw/palate and I know he doesn't have enough room for permanent teeth. His whole head 5% on the growth scale (in proportion to his body) so I suppose his mouth is proportional to that. But he's got my large teeth and I am seriously looking into palate expansion. Every dentist we've seen looks at kid A and comments on how great his teeth are/jaw/spacing. Then they look at kid B and go "oh". He's not got crooked teeth but there is simply no room for the size of permanent teeth. I don't know how I got two different children palate wise with the same pregnancy (in fact, my small palate kid was the healthy one and his brother was IUGR w/ a failing placenta) and post birth diet. I don't know...


But my part in chiming in w/this is that I had no orthodontia work as a child and nice looking teeth (crowding on the bottom front but you can't see it when I smile). But my jaw position is such that my overall breathing (sleep and awake) and swallow was being affected. That had broad ranging effects on my health. I'm trying to think of the name of the dr. who works in this area (that breathing/swallow affects the entire body) but I believe it. I've got an appliance now that I wear and I belly breath, swallow completely and correctly, don't have upper airway resistance/apnea when I sleep, and on. I have seen huge effects on my body. The theory is partly my nervous system isn't in overdrive trying to stay oxygenated. I'm not explaining this well at all and I'm not yet sure how it applies to orthodontia work. I just know that the mouth effects everything because of the breathing component. I plan to look into palate expansion for son (following in my footsteps jaw wise and w/the related complications I'm sure).

I know someone who had significant work done when he was young to correct an underbite. He had teeth removed, jaw repositioned, etc. All that compromised his swallow/breath in a way that was probably worse than mine. So I don't think this is a simple matter/choice and I think work could have either positive or negative effects.

I don't feel the social impacts of crooked teeth/severe over or underbites is any small thing. I would/will correct in that case w/my child. I also think the difficulty in cleaning of very crooked teeth has potentially serious health impacts.
post #27 of 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by sbgrace View Post
I've got a kid with a nice palate and lots of teeth space, permanents coming in well, etc. I've got another with a tiny jaw/palate and I know he doesn't have enough room for permanent teeth. His whole head 5% on the growth scale (in proportion to his body) so I suppose his mouth is proportional to that. But he's got my large teeth and I am seriously looking into palate expansion. Every dentist we've seen looks at kid A and comments on how great his teeth are/jaw/spacing. Then they look at kid B and go "oh". He's not got crooked teeth but there is simply no room for the size of permanent teeth. I don't know how I got two different children palate wise with the same pregnancy (in fact, my small palate kid was the healthy one and his brother was IUGR w/ a failing placenta) and post birth diet. I don't know...
That's really interesting. I see a very different pattern of palate/jaw issues with my two kids, and our underlying issues are the same, my health started its downhill slide when I was about 11 or 12, but I definitely see a nutritional impact in both. The _way_ it's different follows our genetics very closely, DD is a carbon copy of DH and DS is a copy of me. All of the manifestations of my health issues are different between the two kids because DH and I are susceptible to such opposite problems. Does anything like that match up with your kids, since they're fraternal twins? Maybe my family is an outlier in that the kids each so closely take after one parent, not a lot of mix-and-match health-wise.

The breathing/apnea type stuff, I've read it suggested that it's related to high, arched palates, is that what you meant? Plus something else, too, since my palate is high and arched and I don't have the breathing/snoring type issues my DH does. I'm hoping that CST, which I hope to start more regularly this year, will help draw down the kids' palates.

I think I've read of a different approach to palate expansion, I wish I remembered more. Was it called orthotropics? I found a website about that, but I'm not sure if that's what I was thinking of or not.
post #28 of 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by Novella View Post
I also wonder about a “partial” approach. Orthodontia always seems to be a whole-hog quest for the most perfect result possible. What about modest extractions to relieve some crowding, but then just let the teeth come in without palate re-shaping or straightening of teeth and re-alignment of bites?
This is what I had done as a child. Teeth (molars? baby teeth, I'm sure) removed around age 7, on at least 2 occasions, to make room for permanent teeth. No braces. Very straight teeth; new dentists who work on my mouth are surprised that I never had orthodonture.

Also had wisdom teeth pulled at age 19.

LOVING this topic. DS has a significant underbite. Am very interested in the nutritional aspect as well as the breathing/structural aspect.

And a side effect of this interest is that I cannot stop making observations of small children's chins and lower jaws. Seems like they are all very small and receding. My sister says this is normal. I think everyone around here looks like they have a nutritional deficiency!
post #29 of 67
Up until last month I was the assistant in the library for an association for orthodontists. I learned more about it than I ever cared to! lol I made some notes to myself as I read this thread. Sorry I'm not addressing individuals

There are not much in the way of practice guidelines for individual orthodontists. They are free to individually approach how they will treat in their own way. This is why you can get 10 different solutions to a problem by talking to 10 different orthodontists. The extraction vs non-extraction of permanent teeth debate has raged since the origins of orthodontics over 100 year ago.

The assocation came up with not later than age 7 for seeing an orthodontists. One of the biggest reasons is that by then you can tell if any behavioral things such as thumb or pacifier sucking has changed more than the baby teeth. You can also detect major jaw alingment problems by then. Some orthodontist won't charge for this initial visit.

I read a book about anthropology of the teeth (for fun). Ancient teeth were much straighter than you'd expect. This is because they ate a much more fibrous diet. Lots of chewing and wear on the teeth. Much of this wear was between the teeth as well. Part of why are teeth continue to move throughout our lives is to compensate for this wear (even if we're eating less challenging modern food) and why it isn't such a big deal to grind a little out between teeth for better alignment (It's called interproximal reduction)

The orthodontic association's website for consumers is www.braces.org
It used to be a lot more informative but they changed it last summer to be prettier. It still has some useful stuff including an orthodontist locator that includes where they got their degree and if they have additional certifications.

I'm going to hit submit reply before a cat or kid makes me lose this book. I've only been gone a few months (maternity leave) and I'm already losing my ortho vocab.
post #30 of 67
Look at:

http://www.damonbraces.com/

and do a search to see if there is a Damon Ortho in your area. In most cases they can straighten teeth WITHOUT extractions or palate expanders. Yes, it's still braces, but a much "kinder, gentler" form!!!
post #31 of 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by EFmom View Post
I think there is a very unhealthy fixation with having "perfect" teeth that causes otherwise sensible people to do atrocious things to their kids.

That's not to say that there aren't people who genuinely need orthodontia. I think severe cosmetic issues should be addressed, but it's gotten to the point where I wonder how many kids who go to an initial consult are told they don't need braces. My guess is that it's pretty close to zero.
I don't think getting braces for your kid who has minor teeth issues is atrocious. I think it is thoughtful and kind, personally. My parents forked out thousands for my braces in the early 80s to correct a gap between my front teeth and some minor crowding/misalignment everywhere else. I am forever grateful that they did! I would have been self-concious with the way my teeth were, had they been left that way into adulthood. My dd1 (13) got braces six months ago (we opted NOT to do an earlier phase one). If needed, we will get dd2 and dd3 braces as well - too early to tell yet.

I agree that few kids who go to an initial consult are told their teeth are good and have a nice life. BUT that isn't fair to think the orthos are crooks - why would you take your kid to an initial consult if there wasn't some problem you were concerned with? An ortho is a specialist. Do you take your kid to the cardiologist or a mental health specialist? Not across the board, but if there is a reason to then yes.

Quote:
Originally Posted by •Adorkable• View Post
i get complemented on them a lot and would not minimize a great smile in the way it makes someone feel, no matter how much we hate strict conventions of beauty.
What she said!!! For many years I didn't wear makeup or spend too much time on my hair, but I've always been thrilled and thankful to have straight teeth!
post #32 of 67
I also disagree about teasing - enough kids have braces that it isn't a big deal.

Although my braces made my teeth a little sore now and then, it wasn't a big deal ever - and I was quite a wimp prior to natural childbirth! It was a good excuse to have a bowl of ice cream - though some on this thread may think that was the base of my problem to begin with!

I am really not buying the nutrition aspect, honestly. Genes! Some people get luckier in that department than others. And some in the same family get different rolls of the dice. My younger sister ate WAY better than me - always fresh fruits and vegies while I liked cookies. She also brushed her teeth more and better than I did. We both had braces, and she had dozens of cavities - BEFORE her braces, while I have had only one in 40 years - in a tooth that was always a funny shape and the dentist always was shocked I didn't have a cavity there.

My dd1 has the newer Damon braces. I am worried that they didn't take any permanent teeth out - as I had four perm teeth out prior to my braces, and attribute that to the fact that I had room for my wisdom teeth while everyone I know had to have theirs chipped out of their heads during college. Pulling perm teeth is out of favor right now - but I'm worried about the pain and lost school/work days if she has to have wisdom teeth out later in life. I nursed my college fiance through that, and I promise you it was MUCH worse than anything I experienced during a couple years of orthodontia.
post #33 of 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kirsten View Post

I agree that few kids who go to an initial consult are told their teeth are good and have a nice life. BUT that isn't fair to think the orthos are crooks - why would you take your kid to an initial consult if there wasn't some problem you were concerned with? An ortho is a specialist. Do you take your kid to the cardiologist or a mental health specialist? Not across the board, but if there is a reason to then yes.
Around here, anyway, dentists pretty much universally try to get parents to take their kids for an ortho consult. I asked my kids' dentist and she said she recommends it for everyone, and that seems to be the norm, as far as what I can tell from my friends and relatives. The dentists start to apply pressure around the age of 7.

I disagree completely that the reason most kids are at the ortho is because they have a big problem. They are there because they have teeth and parents with a checkbook.
post #34 of 67
Must be regional then. I know a handful of kids in elementary with braces - less than ten - of ALL my dd2 and dd3's friends, my friends' kids, kids where I work, etc. There are quite a few in the middle school set - but still I'd guess 30-40%?

I agree that some of this (maybe even majority) is for cosmetic reasons. I am saying that cosmetic reasons doesn't mean it is a waste of money.

*I* asked our pediatric dentist about an ortho consult 'cause I'd had braces and dd1's teeth looked like they might be a bit off as she was getting permanent teeth. He said she was young for that, but we could go if I wanted her to. We met the ortho he suggested, who took photos of her face/mouth, and said to come back when all her perm teeth were in. We did that - quite a few times (every six to twelve months for years) without being charged a penny. It was a wait and see approach. Both the dentist and the ortho were very nice and not pushy at all.

Maybe certain dentists get kickbacks from ortho referrals? I don't think mine does that though, based on how he was with us.

30 years after I first started orthodontia in a blue collar town, I think the percentage of kids who have braces in my 2010 mostly white collar town is about the same. How they do ortho seems to have changed over the years, but not number of kids that I can see here.
post #35 of 67
My observation is completely different. I'm 50. I would say that maybe 15-20% of my peers had braces. My kids go to the same school system (upper middle class both then and now) and at least 90% of the kids have braces.

I'm surprised the dentist hasn't called CPS on me. My kids are 12 and 9. By all appearances, their teeth look great, but I realize that may not be the whole story. Every single dentist visit since the time the oldest was 7, the dentist has given us info about ortho consults and tried to push the issue. Every single solitary time, I've asked if there were any particular concerns with the teeth that would trigger an ortho consult. Oddly, there never are.

The dentist provides a list of area orthodontists. Coincidentally, the name at the top of the list is her brother. However, as I said before, this type of universal recommendation is very common in my area and it's not just her.

I may take the older one this year for a consult, but see no point in doing it earlier, since I wouldn't have done the two phase thing in any event.
post #36 of 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kirsten View Post

I am really not buying the nutrition aspect, honestly. Genes! Some people get luckier in that department than others. And some in the same family get different rolls of the dice. My younger sister ate WAY better than me - always fresh fruits and vegies while I liked cookies. She also brushed her teeth more and better than I did. We both had braces, and she had dozens of cavities - BEFORE her braces, while I have had only one in 40 years - in a tooth that was always a funny shape and the dentist always was shocked I didn't have a cavity there.
I don't know your family situation, and so I'm not trying to comment on that at all, I just wanted to mention nutrition more specifically, because it was a weird, foreign-to-me definition of good nutrition.

Price said, and I think other data supports his hypothesis, that we need a LOT more fat soluble vitamins, mostly D, K2 and A, and more minerals, mainly calcium and phosphorus, but also magnesium and the others that are involved in bone-building--to make healthy teeth. And if we supply these, our jaws will grow wide enough to fit our teeth and our teeth will not decay. It's not the typical definition of good nutrition--this one includes a lot of saturated fat from the animal sources of the fat soluble vitamins.

My 2nd child is more affected than my first, in terms of a small lower jaw, crowded teeth, like that, because _I_ was nutritionally rundown. Price has pictures of subsequent kids with smaller jaws, more crowded teeth due to prenatal nutrition, moms getting rundown with each successive pregnancy--I found the pictures very powerful and they seem to fit me and my kids.

In this day and age, it gets a lot trickier, though, IMO. I supplement to hell and gone with my kids because they've got health stresses that make their bodies less efficient. And genes are something, in terms of what we're _most_ susceptible to--heck, my kids had some significant nutrient deficiencies from birth, and their baby teeth came in fine, while some kids with overall better health have tooth decay starting when their teeth first erupt. So I'm definitely not arguing that every kid without cavities is consuming more, or enough, of Price's nutrients, but looking at my own situation, I've found this a very useful perspective, and a powerful one.
post #37 of 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by TanyaLopez View Post

Price said, and I think other data supports his hypothesis, that we need a LOT more fat soluble vitamins, mostly D, K2 and A, and more minerals, mainly calcium and phosphorus, but also magnesium and the others that are involved in bone-building--to make healthy teeth. And if we supply these, our jaws will grow wide enough to fit our teeth and our teeth will not decay. It's not the typical definition of good nutrition--this one includes a lot of saturated fat from the animal sources of the fat soluble vitamins.
I just wanted to share a link to Nutrition and Physical Degeneration for those who haven't seen it: http://www.journeytoforever.org/farm.../pricetoc.html Look at the pictures because you know the saying that "a picture can speak 1000 words" well if anything, these would be the pictures to apply that saying to. For example, look at chapter nine showing the "isolated and modernized Polynesians" with the pictures showing how those eating their traditional diets (full of fat-soluble vitamins & no "modernized" food) have perfect beautiful teeth and nice broad facial structure, and then also the picture towards the bottom of all the siblings with the oldest having the best teeth and nice facial bone structure and the younger siblings who eat the more "modernized" food getting narrower faces and crowded teeth. This same pattern applies to all of the civilizations across the world that Price studied and photographed.
post #38 of 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by TanyaLopez View Post
I don't know your family situation, and so I'm not trying to comment on that at all, I just wanted to mention nutrition more specifically, because it was a weird, foreign-to-me definition of good nutrition.

Price said, and I think other data supports his hypothesis, that we need a LOT more fat soluble vitamins, mostly D, K2 and A, and more minerals, mainly calcium and phosphorus, but also magnesium and the others that are involved in bone-building--to make healthy teeth. And if we supply these, our jaws will grow wide enough to fit our teeth and our teeth will not decay. It's not the typical definition of good nutrition--this one includes a lot of saturated fat from the animal sources of the fat soluble vitamins.

My 2nd child is more affected than my first, in terms of a small lower jaw, crowded teeth, like that, because _I_ was nutritionally rundown. Price has pictures of subsequent kids with smaller jaws, more crowded teeth due to prenatal nutrition, moms getting rundown with each successive pregnancy--I found the pictures very powerful and they seem to fit me and my kids.

In this day and age, it gets a lot trickier, though, IMO. I supplement to hell and gone with my kids because they've got health stresses that make their bodies less efficient. And genes are something, in terms of what we're _most_ susceptible to--heck, my kids had some significant nutrient deficiencies from birth, and their baby teeth came in fine, while some kids with overall better health have tooth decay starting when their teeth first erupt. So I'm definitely not arguing that every kid without cavities is consuming more, or enough, of Price's nutrients, but looking at my own situation, I've found this a very useful perspective, and a powerful one.
Very well said Tanya.

I admit I was skeptical when I first read here on MDC that nutrition could affect facial structure. I have always assumed that facial structure and teeth health were a direct result of genetics and determined by one's ethnicity and particular traits inherited from parents. After all, there are many members of my immediate family that have the small jaw and crowded teeth and because I look just like them I have always assumed that genetics and genetics alone was responsible. I never considered that all people are genetically designed to have wide faces and dental arches and that nutrition, or lack thereof, could affect how closely that genetic blueprint is followed.

I also grew up with what many would consider a "good" diet. My mom was a SAHM and we always had home cooked meals. My mom took alot of pride in the fact that she cooked dinner for her family each day and didn't serve the takeout and frozen convenience meals that so many in our neighborhood relied on. McDonalds and take out pizza were treats, not staples. But after doing much reading on nutrition and what constitutes a "good" diet, I realized that my family ate alot differently than our ancestors did. Our home cooked meals consisted of lots of canned veggies, lowfat and pasturized milk products, margarine instead of real butter, vegetable oils, white flour, white sugar, factory farmed meat, etc. None of these foods were consumed by our ancestors and certainly not by the primative peoples that Price studied. I also ate lots of fresh veggies during the summer as we lived in a rural area and most people had backyard gardens. Growing up in the Gulf South also afforded us plenty of fresh seafood. But I don't think the fresh veggies and seafood, as healthy as they are, could make up for the other stuff.

I look at the healthy food recommendations of today-and they still are lowfat and fat free dairy pasterized dairy and limited animal fat, and limited saturated fat--and everywhere I look I see kids with narrow jaws and braces on their crooked, crowed teeth. Personally, I don't think this is a coincidence.
post #39 of 67
Articles re: the question of whether it is genes or nutrition...

Is it Mental or is it Dental?
Written by Raymond Silkman, DDS
Cranial & Dental Impacts on Total Health

Quote:
The widely held model of orthodontics, which considers developmental problems in the jaws and head to be genetic in origin, never made sense to me. Since they are wedded to the genetic model, orthodontists dealing with crowded teeth end up treating the condition with tooth extraction in a majority of the cases. Even though I did not resort to pulling teeth in my practice, and I was using appliances to widen the jaws and getting the craniums to look as they should, I still could not come up with the answer as to why my patients looked the way they did. I couldn’t believe that the Creator had given them a terrible blueprint --it just did not make sense. In four years of college education, four years of dental school education and almost three years of post-graduate orthodontic training, students never hear a mention of Dr. Price, so they never learn the true reasons for these malformations. I have had the opportunity to work with a lot of very knowledgeable doctors in various fields of allopathic and alternative healthcare who still do not know about Dr. Price and his critical findings.
http://www.westonaprice.org/Is-it-Me...it-Dental.html
Ancient Dietary Wisdom for Tomorrow's Children

Quote:
More than sixty years ago, a Cleveland dentist named Weston A. Price decided to embark on a series of unique investigations that would engage his attention and energies for the next ten years. Possessed of an inquiring mind and a spiritual nature, Price was disturbed by what he found when he looked into the mouths of his patients. Rarely did an examination of an adult client reveal anything but rampant decay, often accompanied by serious problems elsewhere in the body such as arthritis, osteoporosis, diabetes, intestinal complaints and chronic fatigue. (They called it neurasthenia in Price's day.) But it was the dentition of younger patients that gave him most cause for concern. He observed that crowded, crooked teeth were becoming more and more common, along with what Price called "facial deformities"--overbites, narrowed faces, underdevelopment of the nose, lack of well-defined cheekbones and pinched nostrils. Such children invariably suffered from one or more complaints that sound all too familiar to mothers of the 1990s: frequent infections, allergies, anemia, asthma, poor vision, lack of coordination, fatigue and behavioral problems. Price did not believe that such "physical degeneration" was God's plan for mankind. He was rather inclined to believe that the creator intended physical perfection for all human beings, and that children should grow up free of ailments.
http://www.westonaprice.org/Ancient-...-Children.html
post #40 of 67
Thread Starter 
Thank you Everyone for all the continued responses. I'm not sure I'm any closer to a satisfying decision just yet, but there has been lots of good information. It's nice to be on a board with so many thoughtfully-spoken and well-read individuals.

Off to the city next Monday for one version of "the correct path". We are taking both girls for an orthodontic consult.
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