Would you consider *any* cosmetic procedure for your baby? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 48 Old 12-13-2005, 04:11 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I never really thought I'd be worrying about this, but here goes.

Would any of you consider a procedure that is purely cosmetic in nature to minimize teasing for your child?

Many circ for this reason. But, I wonder if you could protect your child from teasing, by allowing them to undergo a cosmetic procedure that they wouldn't remember would you do it?

Ivan was born with a birth mark on his face that is not going away. It's not fading, it's not getting smaller. No amount of listening to my sisters or my mother telling me that it will is helping. People have recommended cosmetic laser treatments for his face. (Rude, I know).

Thoughts?
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#2 of 48 Old 12-13-2005, 04:26 PM
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Originally Posted by onlyboys
I never really thought I'd be worrying about this, but here goes.

Would any of you consider a procedure that is purely cosmetic in nature to minimize teasing for your child?

Many circ for this reason. But, I wonder if you could protect your child from teasing, by allowing them to undergo a cosmetic procedure that they wouldn't remember would you do it?

Ivan was born with a birth mark on his face that is not going away. It's not fading, it's not getting smaller. No amount of listening to my sisters or my mother telling me that it will is helping. People have recommended cosmetic laser treatments for his face. (Rude, I know).
Thoughts?
Very rude! (above remark)I would have cosmetic surgery on my child only if it bothered them enough to ask about it(maybe ears that stick out far) or were constantly teased about the issue. Some children are unfortunately teased to the breaking point.My dd had a type of hemangioma(sp?) on her face. It bled all the time. We did something about it. Not surgery, but a cream. Its all gone and she is doing great! If the birth mark on your sons face does not get 'in his way', limit his vision, eating, or sense of smell, I say leave it alone!
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#3 of 48 Old 12-13-2005, 04:30 PM
 
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Having had cosmetic laser treatments myself, I would never do it to my child without their consent. Laser treatments hurt, plain and simple. Numbing creams don't take away all the pain. And there is considerable afterpain. I would wait until my child requested treatments and could understand the pain involved.

to you and your ds.

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Circumcision is wrong, regardless of gender
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#4 of 48 Old 12-13-2005, 04:34 PM
 
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Personally, in your situation I *think* and I only say *think* because I am not in that situation and don't truely know what I would do, that I would leave it until your son had some kind of input on the situation. He might not care about it at all. It might bother him, you never know. If at some point it was something that he was self-concious about, then I think it might need to be adressed but until then, I think I would wait.

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#5 of 48 Old 12-13-2005, 04:34 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I agree with both of you...

The major rationale for doing it now is that he "won't remember the pain...sound familiar?!

MelKnee, thanks for letting me know that they *do* in fact hurt.
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#6 of 48 Old 12-13-2005, 04:44 PM
 
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I wouldn't. Kids may not remember the surgery, but they can be effected by the pain that they go through. Also, all procedures come with risks that can cause more harm than good. Now, as for birth marks. My dd has a very large, red hemangioma (sp?) on her forehead. I think it is beautiful. Do other kids point and ask what it is? Yes. Do rude strangers ask what happened to her or if I'm going to have it removed? Yep. From day one, my response has been, "It's just her birthmark," or "That's her beautiful birthmark." Now, at 2.5, dd answers for herself. As soon as someone says something or points at it, she says, "It's my birthmark," and prodeeds to show them the other ones on her arm. I want my daughter to be proud of her body and not feel like she has to have part of her removed to fit in. The only way I would ever consider it is if it were effecting her breathing or vission, but it's not. Now, depending on the type of birthmark, your mother and sister might be right. From what I understand hemangeomas do get reabsorbed over time. Two of my dd's have started fading. However, if the one on her head never fades, I still won't touch it. I just feel like I'd be putting her through a lot of pain and teaching her that she doesn't look good enough.
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#7 of 48 Old 12-13-2005, 04:47 PM
 
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Oh... I also like to point out to kids that everyone has something about them that makes them special Often, the kids have a birthmark somewhere on them that their parent reminds them about, or can relate it to freckles, moles, tatoos, etc...
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#8 of 48 Old 12-13-2005, 05:01 PM
 
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There are definitely some birthmarks that are purely cosmetic that I would probably remove from my child. I have seen pictures of birthmarks (hemangiomas I think) that are pretty awful to look at and to have to bear, as people around the child can be very rude and insensitive. I wouldn't want my child to go through a lot of self-loathing and disgust b/c of other people's attitudes and comments. Some birthmarks are merely disconcerting to people, some are really shocking. I know how I would feel if people looked at me like my face was horrifying to them.
Somewhere in there is a line that you and your son have to discover, if this is something he can get used to or something that is going to disgust him and he'd wish it were gone. You may not be able to decide that, so I guess if it's borderline like that, I'd leave it alone until it became obvious there was problem and he could choose to remove it.
Hemangiomas do go away on their own, is that what he has?
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#9 of 48 Old 12-13-2005, 05:05 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by LeosMama
There are definitely some birthmarks that are purely cosmetic that I would probably remove from my child. I have seen pictures of birthmarks (hemangiomas I think) that are pretty awful to look at and to have to bear, as people around the child can be very rude and insensitive. I wouldn't want my child to go through a lot of self-loathing and disgust b/c of other people's attitudes and comments. Some birthmarks are merely disconcerting to people, some are really shocking. I know how I would feel if people looked at me like my face was horrifying to them.
Somewhere in there is a line that you and your son have to discover, if this is something he can get used to or something that is going to disgust him and he'd wish it were gone. You may not be able to decide that, so I guess if it's borderline like that, I'd leave it alone until it became obvious there was problem and he could choose to remove it.
Hemangiomas do go away on their own, is that what he has?
I suspect his birth mark is a "port wine stain." It is vascular in nature, which from what I understand means that it may darken and grow with time. For now, it's a reddish pink park on the side of his face, going from his ear to midway to his nose.
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#10 of 48 Old 12-13-2005, 05:18 PM
 
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I did it and I feel stupid for it.

My daughter has mismatch/deformed ears. She also had a skin tag that made her ears look like they stick out more. I had it removed. I really wished I hadn't. We get pressured to get plastic surgery on her ears, well at least the one that sticks out more. There is no way I would do it with out my dd asking.
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#11 of 48 Old 12-13-2005, 05:37 PM
 
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I think I would wait until she could decide for herself - and then I don't think I'd bring it up, except to let her know that there is a procedure that could make it less noticable (I wouldn't make any promises without more information).

My son has a quarter-sized birthmark on his temple. Now that he wears his hair long it is rarely visible. He likes it, and I don't think it would occur to him to have it removed (especially if it hurt). But then he has an identical twin brother, and it's one of the few differences between them!

He also had a hydrocele (fluid in the scrotum), which we just had repaired this year. He's 11, and has had it for years, but we left it up to him when to get it fixed, since it wasn't causing him any discomfort. But it wasn't going to go away either, so he decided to do it.

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#12 of 48 Old 12-13-2005, 05:57 PM
 
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[QUOTE=onlyboys]I suspect his birth mark is a "port wine stain." It is vascular in nature, which from what I understand means that it may darken and grow with time. For now, it's a reddish pink park on the side of his face, going from his ear to midway to his nose.[/QUOTE

My 5.5 yo dd has a port wine stain on her forehead. It's still fairly noticable although it has faded a bit over the years. Her bangs hide it pretty good so we don't get many comments on it any more but when she was a baby almost everyone we met commented on it. A doctor we saw last year wanted to do some tests on it which I declined. I would probably consider doing something when she was older if she wanted.

mama to six ('98, '00, '04, '04, '06, '08)
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#13 of 48 Old 12-13-2005, 06:09 PM
 
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Well, I think you have to keep in mind that while some people do circ their babies for cosmetic reasons, most other types of cosmetic surgery doesn't take *away* something important, you know? I'm trying to think of a way to explain it....
Let's say my dc had a giant birthmark over his eye. I could remove the birthmark, but it would limit his sight in that eye as a side effect. He would still *see*, but he wouldn't see as well.
In that case, no, I wouldn't get the surgery. It would be something we'd keep as an open discussion as he got older, though.

Maybe that's a bad example.

I don't know, I'm sleepy but what I'm trying to say is that circ'ing might be done for cosmetic purposes (yuck yuck yuck, by the way), but it's not just cosmetic--it's removing a healthy, functioning piece of his body.
Whereas removing a birthmark that has no function is just different. Apples and oranges, you know? If my child had just a large birthmark, I don't know. I would have to weigh my options. But I don't know that I would be comfortable putting a baby or toddler under general anesthesia for cosmetic surgery, you know?

Hope that made some sense
/tired
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#14 of 48 Old 12-13-2005, 06:15 PM
 
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I think it made sense, Emmy, and I agree with you, too. I was sort of trying to say the same thing, that if there were no physical problems with it being there and no permanent damage to removing it, there would have to be psychological/emotional issues to leaving/removing for me to be able to make the decision one way or the other.
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#15 of 48 Old 12-13-2005, 06:42 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by calngavinsmom
Personally, in your situation I *think* and I only say *think* because I am not in that situation and don't truely know what I would do, that I would leave it until your son had some kind of input on the situation. He might not care about it at all. It might bother him, you never know. If at some point it was something that he was self-concious about, then I think it might need to be adressed but until then, I think I would wait.

Take care,
Tara
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I agree. You never know how your son might feel about it in the future. I don't have a birthmark, but I do have a slightly deformed ear. My parents gave me the option of surgery when I was probably about 12 and I told them no. Even though I would have rather not been born with the defect, to me it wasn't bad enough to warrent surgery.

On the other hand, when I had a very painful growth in my foot, I agreed to surgery without hesitation. I wanted that thing out of there!

~Nay

Reneé, 34 year old mom to Antonin 8/04 and Arianna 9/06  (6 weeks) 5/08. Married to Matt since 6/03 .  
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#16 of 48 Old 12-13-2005, 06:57 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by onlyboys
... by allowing them to undergo a cosmetic procedure that they wouldn't remember would you do it?
How can you be sure he won't remember it?

My dd had surgery at 8 months of age and years later described things to me that completely freaked me out. It was not stuff that she had overheard us talking about...but things that only she would have felt/seen. It was chilling.

For purely cosmetic issues, I'd wait to see how the child felt about it, then be sure that they understood everything that surgery entailed before going ahead with it.

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#17 of 48 Old 12-13-2005, 09:08 PM
 
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I think maybe if there was a birth defect that was purely cosmetic, maybe then.. to prevent being teased later on.. But, a birth mark, no.. I would wait until the child was old enough for it to bother him.. I mean, like some people hate moles, but others love them, feel they make them unique.. to me, thats the same with a birth mark.. Your child may feel unique and happy about that because he isnt just like every one else.. or he may feel weird because he has it.. so its something I would leave up to him to decide
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#18 of 48 Old 12-13-2005, 09:13 PM
 
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The difference is that the things that have been discussed here are all malformations, birth defects or the like. A foreskin is not a birth defect or malformed in virtually all cases. That's a big difference!

Of course, I wouldn't have a foreskin removed for purely cosmetic reasons except in the case of severe hypospadias and then, I might consider it. For the other things, I definitely would look into it, consider the risks, the outcome and the benefits. I think I need to keep an open mind.

My brother was born with flop ear. Pretty severe on the left side and not as bad on the right side but I think if it weren't for the left side, the right side would have been much more noticeable. My parents had them "pinned back" surgically when he was about 5 years old and he is totally happy with the results more than 40 years later. He remembers the time he spent in the hospital well.

Having the benefit of hindsight, I would have done exactly as my parents did and if I had a child with flop ear, I have no doubt that I would do the same. Not having that hindsight would certainly make the decision much more difficult but I would lean toward having minor defects repaired to give my child the best leg up in this cruel world that I could.



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#19 of 48 Old 12-13-2005, 09:19 PM
 
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This is a hard question. It's something we're going through as well.

My son is 2 and a half, and he has something called pectus excavatus. Basically his chest looks like it's sunken in - there's a depression right above his heart. There was a concern that it was causing a heart murmur, and we were advised to operate to correct it. Then we found out his heart murmur has gone away. The doctor still wants to operate, basically for cosmetic reasons (although he has 'reassured' me that insurance will cover it because it may have a potential medical advantage).

My parents think I'm ridiculous for not operating. So does the plastic surgeon. He said something along the lines of, "Your son will be made fun for having a chest that looks like that. I know you wouldn't want that for him." Like he knows what I want.

M daughter had eye surgery at 8 months - completely medically necessary to make sure there was no loss of vision. I never thought about not doing it. But it was traumatic. I believe she has some memory of it - of being taken away and being forced to sleep with the mask on. I can't explain why I think that - but she has made some comments, and had some dreams that sound like what I saw looking at her on the operating table before I was escorted out.

If my son ever tells me he wants to have the surgery, (and I will tell him it's an option when he's older) he can have it. I don't feel comfortable making that decision for him. It's a major surgery with a horrible recovery period. Also, his chest is going to change as he grows - I'm not sure it makes sense to do it now.

The reason I hear over and over and over for doing it now is that he won't remember it. But why are people so quick to say that? He may. And he'll have a scar - is that my choice to make?

I think it should be your son's decision. But I would completely understand wanting to do it now and not have him subjected to teasing. As a mom, it's easy to be completely torn.

Good luck!

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#20 of 48 Old 12-13-2005, 10:01 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Frankly Speaking
The difference is that the things that have been discussed here are all malformations, birth defects or the like. A foreskin is not a birth defect or malformed in virtually all cases. That's a big difference!
:

I wouldn't do anything "cosmetic" to my boys without their consent, even if it might save him from being teased. (and really, kids are going to be teased about SOMETHING at some point no matter what you do ) My oldest had several major surgeries after birth to correct an abdominal defect and he's got a pretty messy scar left from that, but I would never think about getting the scar "fixed". Surgery was terrifying enough when it was a matter of life and death - I CANNOT imagine going through that just to make part of him "look better".
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#21 of 48 Old 12-13-2005, 10:19 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Just to reassure some of you, I am 150% against circumcision.

I agree, the foreskin is important and natural and normal, but in some respect, so is Ivan's birthmark. It does not hurt him, it is not malignant or interfere with anything. But I see the point.

I'm leaving it alone, for sure; it's his, just as his foreskin is his, and I will not be changing that at all.

I really appreciate all the input. What started for me as a question in comparison, ended up really helpful in the reality of the situation. So thanks!
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#22 of 48 Old 12-13-2005, 10:28 PM
 
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There are so many variables I'd have to consider- how severe the "defect", where it was, what the surgery would entail, risks, etc - so it's not really a yes or no question for me. I guess the main thing I'd have to consider would be would the surgery have been worth it if something terrible happened (god forbid)...would I feel like I had made a smart decision? The hard part is that I wouldn't want my kid to have too rough of a time socially, but doing anything that might possibly risk my kids life isn't really acceptable either,I don't think.

I'm a new mom and have already learned never to say never, so I can't say what I'd do in a real life situation....not that I said what I'd do in a hypothetical one either, heh.
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#23 of 48 Old 12-13-2005, 11:34 PM
 
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Depending on what was wrong...yes, I would consider it. I wouldn't pierce my child's ears or dye/perm their hair (not surgery, but I know people who color their 6 year old's hair)....if my child had a port wine stain on his/her face, I would...have it removed. If my child's ears stuck out and looked really...really bad...I'd have them fixed early because the older they get the more 'stiff' the cartlidge becomes.

I wouldn't fix a port wine stain on the belly or bottom...we left our son's skin tag on his ear because we didn't think it would interfere much.....but I think that for me (I'm only going to speak for myself) that doing a cosmetic procedure is acceptable if it saves the child from future teasing/psychic pain.

Unfortunately, even adults look away/comment when they see scars/port wine stains etc on the face of a child...and I've seen small children (age 3) who laugh or point or simply want to 'touch' the defect that they see.

Yes...I would consider it....it may mean that I am making a choice for my child, but it is one that I'd be happy to 'answer to' when they grew up and were old enough to understand. I make a lot of other choices for them...to immunize, to send them to a specific school, etc...

Anyway...that is my opinion only.
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#24 of 48 Old 12-14-2005, 01:32 AM
 
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I would consider it. I don't see it in the same light as circ.

The only personal example I have is my daughter Megan and her feeding tubes. She left the PICU at 3.5m old w/ an NG tube (a nasogastric feeding tube that ran from her nose to her stomach) we kept that tube for a looong time. It was traumatic to change it and if she pulled it out we had to put it back in.

Then when she was about 18m or so, I noticed that she would put her hand over it (it was taped to her face) to try and hide it from people. When we were out in public people would stare. Or she would bury her face in our shoulders, etc.

The fact that it was somehow bothering her socially and that it was painful to her to put in again and again, helped us decide to put in a g-tube (a feeding tube that goes from her belly through her skin into her stomach) that would be hidden under her clothes.

So, we 'put her through' a surgical procedure and recovery for those reasons, and because we wondered if she would begin eating better w/o the ng tube irritating the back of her throat (she did).

Anyway, I know it isn't the same thing, but a child's self-concept can depend on SO many things. And sometimes a surgical procedure for a *real* problem (ie, NOT circumcision) can be worth it.
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#25 of 48 Old 12-14-2005, 01:43 AM
 
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My son was born with the upper cartilage of both ears misshapen and flat. As he grew they changed to look like "elf" ears.

He is now 16, has had some kids call him elf ears in school but doesn't really seem to think much of it. He is keeping his hair long and they are covered up now. I do think they may bother him a little bit but he has never asked about surgical correction.

If he ever did bring it up, if it was that important to him I would consider an appointment to get more information. I don't know right now how I would feel if he really wanted something done about it.
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#26 of 48 Old 12-14-2005, 09:30 AM
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I wouldn't pierce my child's ears or dye/perm their hair (not surgery, but I know people who color their 6 year old's hair).
:

I put purple manic panic in my *2.5yo* DD's hair..semi permenant hair color..she wanted it..she kept bugging me for "purple hair" because mommy had purple hair...so, I put it in...it's just hair, it isn't a permenant hair color.....it has no chemicals...why not?

Guess I'm a bad mom......
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#27 of 48 Old 12-14-2005, 09:59 AM
 
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I agree with you 100 percent Amanda ... nice to see you BTW...I would wait until he's older, see how he handles it and what he wants to do about it. If and when he can make an informed, mature decision on it, then I would deal with it accordingly. But for now, as long as it's not hurting him, why cause him pain that he may or may not care about later on. Good luck and so glad to see your newest little man is doing well.

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#28 of 48 Old 12-14-2005, 10:15 AM
 
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Pandora -
I think that's different. When I think of mom's coloring their kids' hair, I think of pageant mom-types that want their little girl blonder, or with highlights. My daughter likes her hair to be colored pink on occassion, and I think that's totally different.
I would love to see your purple-haired 2.5 year old, though
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#29 of 48 Old 12-14-2005, 12:04 PM
 
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i would only change something now that was affecting him, like sight, breathing etcetc

i am all for waiting until they are older for the other things. who knows by the time they are old enough to make their own choice, the technology will be so much better and they may have less painful and evasive options etc
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#30 of 48 Old 12-14-2005, 12:57 PM
 
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OK, here's something to ruminate:

What if the child had teeth that weren't attractive but not malformed or crooked? Would you get braces fitted? I know it's not surgery but it is a change of their body and it is permanent and in this case, it would be totally cosmetic.
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