The orthodontist has told First Born he's a borderline case but will probably be able to get braces on the NHS. But here's the thing ... his teeth really aren't bad. The incisors are very slightly out of line but that's it.
So he needs to decide whether he wants to have a mouthful of heavy metal train track braces for a year followed by several years wearing retainers at night to correct a very slight misalignment that would have no health consequences.
'Top and bottom?' I asked. 'Because his bottom ones look perfect to me.'
'Yes, we'd do both,' she replied. (Her own teeth were very white and very straight.) 'We want him to have a perfect smile, don't we?'
Do we? Perfection. Are any of us perfect? Can we be possibly be so without painful corrective measures? Should we even want to be? Aren't imperfections what make us unique and distinct from each other? If we have the attitude that every small 'imperfection' has to be dealt with, is there not a risk we could all end up as bland anodyne versions of the same template?
What is a 'perfect smile' anyway? I'd've thought that has to come from within, not be the result of straight teeth.
What do I know ... if he wants them, of course I'll support him and I have urged him to think carefully.
Anyway, while I'm talking teeth I thought I'd share this story my mum once told me about her mother.
Apparently, the whole family made a rare trip to the seaside and my grandmother went for a paddle. Don't ask me how, but somehow she managed to lose her false teeth in the sea. Gallantly, the men set up a search party.
No chance, you'd think. Yet some time later one of my uncles emerged from the sea, proudly holding up a set of gnashers.
What are the odds against that, would you reckon?
But if you want real improbability, wait for the punchline.
They weren't hers.