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Our 9-Year-Old Columnist Goes to the Orthodontist..and Lives!

Updated: May 23, 2022

By Sienna Beck / New York City

The author on a recent school science trip to Brooklyn Bridge Park
The author on a recent school science trip to Brooklyn Bridge Park

It was the 9th of May when I had my first orthodontist appointment. I was really nervous about what she would do with my mouth. A lot of the kids in my class have braces, retainers, palate expanders, or other dental devices in their mouths. Since I had no idea what I was going to need, I did have the right to be worried.

Before the appointment, at school that same day, I questioned a boy in my class how his first appointment had gone. He has braces. He told me that the first couple times they just look at and feel your face. Then, by the fourth week, they start prodding. This got me nervous, but I was grateful to him for preparing me.

After school, while my sisters stayed with my babysitter, I walked with my mom from school and met my orthodontist at Suite 3. When I got inside, I was surprised that the room was so nice. The office had a nice aroma, too. After three minutes of waiting and another two for my mom to fill out some forms, I was led into a room.

I sat down on one of those dentist chairs and chatted with my mom until my orthodontist proceeded inside. We talked for a while about my teeth. She was part comedian, for she made me laugh at any painful comments. She then told me, “I know it’s unfair that I get to see your gorgeous face and you don’t get to see mine”–she was wearing a mask–“so I’ll show you what mine would look like.” She held up a picture about the size of the bottom of her face with a moustache and a pair of lips underneath. I giggled. “Unfortunately, that hasn’t happened yet, so I look like this.” She pulled out another card with just a pair of lips. I giggled again.

I told her why I had come to the orthodontist: One of my grown-up teeth would come in at an angle, and my dentist wanted an orthodontist to look at that. She then pulled on some gloves and felt my teeth. As she poked along, she remarked, “Well, you have two wiggly teeth” (which I had not known about). She seemed especially focused on the tooth below the one coming in at an angle. When she was finished, I asked with concern, “Will I need braces, or a retainer? What will I need?” 

She smiled ruefully. “I’m sorry to say this, but you’ll need a palate expander.” [A palate expander is a small appliance that goes on the roof of your mouth and expands it. It comes with a little key and each night you tweak the key a little bit so each night your mouth becomes a little wider.]

I was so freaked out by this response, but when she said I had a month and a half before getting it in, I swallowed my fear. That’s when the appointment ended, and I selected a squishy toy and a ‘Pop It’ from the prize chest. 

That is how my first orthodontist appointment happened, and overall, I must admit that it wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. 

Keep your mouth in good condition!


Sienna Beck is a 9-year-old author who loves writing short stories. She goes to a camp called Writopia, and once entered a play contest and was selected to have her play professionally performed by trained actors. Sienna has two sisters, Willa and Olive, and they all go to P.S. 87 in New York City. Sienna likes animals, including pets and mostly dogs. She also wants to be THE PRESIDENT when she grows up.



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