TCOY = Take Care of You

Braces & Retainers

There are a few investments a person can make that have a profound impact on them physically, emotionally and mentally for the rest of their life.  Braces are one of those investments, often gifted to teenagers from parents.

The responsibility of having braces is usually the first long-term discipline and commitment for many youngsters.  There is no overnight result, actually, the process can take years and involves some discomfort both physically and emotionally.
I recall having to have teeth pulled prior to being fitted for my braces. After the braces were in place there were the on-going appointments to tighten the fittings and the use of rubber bands to gently guide my teeth into place.
Personally, I didn’t mind any of this because I had seen my siblings and friends results of having braces.  With each appointment, I somewhat welcomed the discomfort because I knew it was bringing me closer to the outcome I longed for.  Psychologically, I knew I would love my smile as it brought me more joy and confidence and physically my bite would be properly aligned.
My daughter inherited my genes and also needed braces to correct her bite alignment.  In 2006 I took her to Dr. Michael Klein, Klein & Walker Orthodontics, for a consultation.  I was amazed at how much the technology had improved over the years.  Dr. Klein and the entire office staff were delightful. The office was bright and cheerful and the entire experience was very positive.
The transformation I saw in my daughter was incredible.  The before and after photos showed the physical enhancement of her now radiant smile, but there was so much more that she gained from this experience.

For instance, the discipline and commitment was her responsibility.  The length of time she would need to wear the braces depended on how well she followed Dr. Klein's instructions.  The TCOY philosophy was added to the process and she has remained diligent over the years.

Another aspect of the transformation has been the psychological confidence that blossomed.  As she shares her warm smile throughout the day, she brings joy to others; thereby, making the world a brighter and happier place.

"A smile is the light in your window that tells others that there is a caring, sharing person inside." Denis Waitley.

It is said that a picture is worth a thousand words and the value of a smile may be worth even more. A simple smile creates its own message without words.  Your smile can bring hope and comfort to a complete stranger who may be in desperate need. 

My TCOY Challenge is to add to your daily routine the habit of smiling throughout the day, even if you’re struggling.  When someone sees your smile the typical reaction is to smile back and that, my friend, will enlarge your smile.  The “pay it forward” smile ignites positivity and happiness.

Once the braces have aligned the teeth the orthodontist fits you with a retainer.  The little piece of plastic and metal sits in your mouth and keeps your teeth from moving out of their new, perfect position.  The definition of a retainer is a device, frame or groove that restrains or guides or holds something in place. 

Although it is suggested the patient wear a retainer constantly for six months to a year then for the rest of your life while you sleep, most people stop wearing them after a few months.  The break in this habit is unfortunate because teeth continue to shift and move.  This reminds me of wellness habits; easy to do, easy not to do.  The act is simple and is beneficial yet neglect often becomes the new normal.

I was impressed when my daughter came home from college for a visit and when saying goodnight I noticed she was wearing her retainer.  WOW!  She had continued the practice for over five years.  That she had not lost or broken it was equally amazing.

The next week I scheduled an appointment to have her fitted for a new retainer to encourage her to continue this discipline.  Dr. Klein and his staff were also impressed with her commitment to wearing the retainer because they could see her teeth remained as perfectly aligned as the day the braces were removed.  Well done, Shea!

Wellness is not a one-time activity, it’s a lifestyle.  How you think, act and talk become habits and those habits can positively or negatively impact your well-being.  If you are not happy with your current physical or psychological state, change it!  The past is over and the future is unknown but today, right now, you can make choices that enrich and enhance your well-being.

If you choose to be happy on the inside, it will show on the outside. TCOY is more than an acronym, it’s a philosophy and a way of life that I live and encourage you to join me and apply it every day of your life.

Braces and retainers are symbolic of a tool for change.  Starting is the first step but maintaining is where the challenge begins. 

Until next month,


Until next month, TCOY!

Coach Lucy

Enjoy more stories in my book, Putting It All Together ~ Living Well, now available on  Consider giving it as a great gift too.

                February - TCOY recommendations:

TCOY Tidbits...


  “All people smile in the same language.”  Anonymous

“A smile cures the wounding of a frown.”  William Shakespeare
  “A smile is a curve that sets everything straight.”  Anonymous
“A smile is a light in the window of the soul indicating that the heart is at home.” Anonymous
“A smile is an inexpensive way to change your looks.” Anonymous
“A warm smile is the universal language of kindness.”  William A. Ward 

Strength from Scripture: 

A happy heart makes the face cheerful, but heartache crushes the spirit.  Proverbs 15:13
A cheerful look brings joy to the heart, and good news gives health to the bones. Proverbs 15:30
And work with a smile on your face, always keeping in mind that no matter who happens to be giving the orders, you're really serving God.  Ephesians 6:7

Find the Joy in the Journey

My monthly stories are simple reminders that every day provides choices and opportunities to learn and apply life lessons.

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Life is short; learn to dance in the rain and realize, perfection isn't sustainable so do the best you can with what you have.  

Live, love & laugh. Cyber hugs!

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                                                                      COACH   LUCY

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