This is a very rare picture-less post. I have the perfect picture in my head, in my head because Tess is struggling with school responsibilities this year and when the light was finally deemed perfect by me, she was fast asleep on her bed. Obviously a nap was more important than the perfect picture.

Tess is very agreeable to photo’s, posing and being in my Personal Notes. I think it’s important that the kids have a voice in what I write, after all, it’s mostly them. Albeit as seen through my eyes. Today’s post is about her and her very long road to braces. You see, today is her BIG braces appointment. Finally.

It’s been obvious for years that Tess needed braces. She has teeny, tiny canines. Her baby canines, and they overlap over her front teeth.  They are stuck in that position. They need help coming out and letting her big teeth come in, and she needs to rest straightened out and pulled forward for her molars.  It’s a pretty big job.

My kids are pretty late with getting teeth, and then with losing teeth.  Her dentists played it safe and hoped her canines would fall out on their own, Tess wasn’t that lucky. Even with her wriggling like crazy.  By age 12 we knew it was time for braces.  Sadly we didn’t qualify for orthodontic care on base (it is primarily for soldiers of course), so off to the German dentist we went (Adorable Dentist).  It all went well, but dental care is a little slower here.

First we met the dentist. She checked teeth, then we made appointment for cleaning, then another for fillings, and then one for braces. The braces started with molding, then a return for the presentation of the plan for Tess’ braces. And that’s where we ran into trouble.  Tess’ teeth were trouble. Tess needed a lot of work. Two, almost three years of work. But, there is always a but, we weren’t going to be in Germany long enough for all the work to be done. The dentist refused to start something she wouldn’t be able to finish.

Luckily, we had time. We had at least a year before things would get difficult in Tess’ mouth. We went back after six months to the base orthodontist to tell our tale of woe and see if Tess could be treated.  Sadly, again, the answer was no.  Now I was getting worried, but we still had time.  Six months later, the same story. Now it was getting critical.

We went to a different German dentist, but this time we only had six months left on our orders (we knew we would get 12 more months for Cole’s high school graduation, but knowing and having that critical piece of paper are two different things), and again they said no. We tried some unconventional methods to get Tess braces, my parents pitching in trying to get their dental office to see Tess and put on her braces… and me & Tess flying back & forth to the states to get care.  They said no too.

I started researching into Dental Tourism, and Budapest seemed like an option but with the refugee situation, and the added costs, it made me nervous. And another six months passed. New orders hit our inbox (First Day of School 2015), we would be in Germany one more year. For Cole. So he could graduated high school. Unfortunately 12 months meant neither the Americans or the Germans would put braces on Tess because there would be no continuation of care.

Dave, Tess & I were heart-broken and a little desperate. We begged and pleaded at every dental visit.  Tess began experiencing some pain with her teeth (the mature canines cannot descend) and my frustration levels were through the roof. Finally, this summer, we got our till-end-of-service orders with a date until 2018.  Finally, the orthodontist can put braces on her.  We are officially here long enough for her treatment plan to be started.

She’s done her first visit, molds, fix a teeny-tiny cavity, and today is the case presentation. We find out where we start, and the actual put-on-braces appointment is next week.  Tess is over-the-moon excited! She knows she won’t be out of pain, in fact, there may be more pain, but she completely understands she’s on the road to no pain. It is a very, very good road to be on.