From a very young age, we knew Fenya's smile was trouble, and not just in the way all fathers fear what boys will see in it; no, her teeth were large and her mouth a bit small, so before she was 8 years old we knew full well that orthodonture was in her future.
When she turned 12, we started seeking out someone to look after this, and even with Audrey and I both having jobs with good benefits, we braced ourselves for what it might take to get that smile back. Thank heavens someone suggested contacting the University of Alberta's Graduate Student Clinic; since Fenya fit their profile of a good teaching case, a student would treat her while an experienced teacher supervised, and the resulting difference in price meant our benefits covered the entire expense.
The service there has been attentive and good, and there can be no arguing with the results since the braces were removed this morning:
Obviously I was looking forward to this moment, but I was unprepared for the effect the difference made when Fenya got into the Flex and finally unpursed her lips; it was overwhelming, but that's hardly a surprise for someone as sentimental as I am.
Looking at the 'before' picture I took in a dimly-lit doorway this morning, the contrast is profound. It's still the same great kid, but....something fundamental about the face has changed.
The before and after scans are even more amazing, and show just how much work has been done by the clinic in two short years. (Caution: they are a little grim looking.)
There is still a lot of work to be done: a retainer gets installed later this afternoon, there is a follow-up with a periodontist in February and so on, but after two years with a tin grin, the original smile is back, and better than ever!
Unfortunately, this will probably make it even easier for her to manipulate me, but I'll get over it. In the meantime though, now it's Glory's turn for a smile adjustment, and she goes in next week to see if she is a good case. Wish us luck!