But, as I said, I find teeth to be very interesting, very personal. So when M. was 10 and running around outside and tripped on a black walnut and smashed her face into the sidewalk, severing her two front teeth in half, it was a moment of shock for me. She ran down to my office holding her 1/2 teeth in her hand and I looked at her and thought, "Now she's permanently broken. There's nothing I can do to fix this." I mean, I wasn't dramatic toward her or anything, they were just teeth. Lots of people have caps and such from accidents and injuries, but there was an overwhelming sense of a greater magnitude of not being able to protect her from permanent damage worse than broken teeth.
M's teeth are encased in metal now. Which in my own 14 year old self, while I hated the feeling of getting my braces tightened, my teeth felt "safe" in the metal. Safe from falling out as they tended to do in my dreams far too often. Braces are that strange passage but a kind of limbo, too. As long as there are braces on her teeth, she's permanently stuck in teen-dom. The peirced ears are another story.
That story starts with my own ten-year old self begging my father for pierced ears "because everyone has their ears pierced, Dad." Wrong answer. My father's wise parenting saw that answer as a huge red flag, so he said, "No. Not until you are 16." On my 16th birthday he woke me up and said, "Let's get your ears pierced." To which I replied, "No. I'm fine. I don't really want them pierced." And I didn't get them pierced until I was 22 and on my own dime and own whim. And that was great.