Wednesday, August 11, 2010


Sorry for the utter lack of posting today, but my girls had dental checkups today. On the bright side--no cavities! Yay!

On the dark side--they need braces. Yep, all three of them. And it's probably going to run us about $4000 per child.

Anybody want to hire a blogger? :)


Kerri said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kerri said...

Sorry for the removed comment... I found a big mistake in it after posting!

Anyway, my oldest son had braces and his teeth are toothpaste-commercial perfect with the orthodontist still obsessing about every fraction of a millimeter. Honestly, I don't think his teeth looked that bad to begin with, but he was the first, and we blindly followed the advice of the dentist and orthodontist.

My husband and I got to wondering the value of a "perfect" smile and decided to hold off on our next two (who the orthodontist has already said will need braces) and see how things progress. If their smiles are not up to the standards of Hollywood (barring major problems), will it really impact their lives? My husband and I are both gap-toothed and I have bunny teeth and I think we look just fine :^) We could put the $8000 in savings toward their college expenses.

I'm beginning to think orthodontics is a bit of a racket... spend $4k to have your teeth pushed together, then $1k to have your wisdom teeth pulled later because they are crowing your teeth! If and orthodontist reads Red's blog and wants to correct me, I am willing to learn.

Deirdre Mundy said...

Kerri-- I don't know-- I had braces, but I also had some weird stuff going on (one of my eye teeth was stuck in the gum and just wouldn't come out....) So I needed braces just to be able to CHEW properly. And all 4 wisdom teeth were impacted.....

It really depends on the magnitude of the problem. If you shop around and check out different orthodontists, you'll usually find a range of prices and solutions. Make sure you check out old patients for recommendations too.

I'm hoping my kids can avoid braces. Their Dad didn;t need them at all, and our dentist recently pointed out that there's a 200$ procedure he can do at 7 that should prevent the problems I had at 12....

Wisdom teeth? We'll just have to budget for those-- we've both got family tendencies toward impactions. Ouch!

JMB said...

I consider myself an expert (from experience) in braces. I did not need them as a child/teenager. However, I had too many teeth in my mouth and when my wisdom teeth came in (impacted) during college, they pushed my teeth together. I had them removed and my jaw was never the same. I also had a slight over bite. Fast forward 15 years and after 4 children, my teeth looked horrendous. So I sucked it up and got braces.

It was the best thing I ever did. My TMJ went away, my teeth look awesome and I am dilligent about wearing my retainer every night.

For the children, I still think it's very important to pull teeth before the braces get put on. One of the biggest reasons for braces is a crowded mouth. A crowded mouth will only get worse as we age.

If you don't have dental insurance that covers braces, go online and check out dental programs. I found one online ( that saved me $1250 per child. I have 2children in braces and 2 more to go. Shop around as well. Here in NJ, the payout from insurance varies per zipcode - you basically pay more in wealthy areas than if you go to an orthodontist in a town with more diversity of income.

KC said...

My middle daughter, 7, needs a palette expander. $800 is not covered. And, my oldest needs braces but must show he can clean his teeth well before they'll put them on. My oldest daughter needs to have teeth pulled so hopefully the other teeth won't be too crowded, but she's freaking out about it. My youngest already had a cavity at age 3.

We do have dental insurance, but it doesn't cover a lot beyond checkups and cleanings.

I feel your pain.

Anonymous said...

I agree it does depend on the magnitude of the problem, but I think that needs to come from someone who can seriously asses what the problem is and how bad it can get. Not a subjective, hey, I don't mind an overbite, why should you?

Be careful about making one child's smile perfect and the next, not so much. That can be a really powerfully wrong message that you might be sending that second kid. I was that second kid and my teeth got worse over time. Eventually, my parents realized that they weren't fair to me and so got me braces when I was 22. (And yes, at that age, you have to have teeth pulled for overcrowding. These days, all the kids have palate expanders, which apparently work better)

Off-bites, even ones that don't seem all that bad, can contribute to TMJ later in life, as well as increased environment for cavity development. It's way more than cosmetics, which, as someone who had not nice teeth and then really nice teeth, does matter a lot. (All my kids have braces, too.)

scotch meg said...

Do ask what the purpose of the braces is.

My oldest had problems with her teeth dating back to pacifier days (I never used a pacifier with any of the others). She had a cross bite (sideways bite) and teeth that were all mixed up, partly as a result of having an extra tooth (!!! which I had never heard of before hers). She needed the braces for functional reasons.

My second kid had/has crowded teeth on the bottom. Fortunately, when we consulted the orthodontist we were living in northern Maine. That dentist was kind of a transplanted NY hippie, and understood that we might not want to shell out for braces. He was honest enough to tell us that they weren't really necessary for a functional bite.

My third kid has perfect teeth, as I did into my twenties. If she wants to deal with any changes that occur through adulthood, it will be up to her.

I was told that my fourth kid needed braces. But, here's the thing. "Need" meant "need for a perfect mouthful of teeth" or Hollywood smile. He has some crowding, but his bite is fine and he is adamantly opposed to the crimp that braces will put in his French horn playing. After thinking it over, we have decided against braces for him, too.

I'm not suggesting the dentist is wrong when he says your girls need braces. I'm just suggesting that you could benefit from a few follow-up questions, unless the need is glaringly obvious to you. Braces can be a necessity or a luxury. It depends a lot on what's going on in the mouth, and on your point of view.

Red Cardigan said...

Well, two of my three definitely need the braces; one, poor kid, has what my family refers to as the "[Maiden Name] Family Tooth," which consists of one of her upper teeth having come in overhanging the others because of the crowding in her mouth. Our dentist has treated several of my siblings, and when he was showing me the X-ray and talking about genetics, I just said, "You've seen these teeth before," and he grinned and chuckled, "Oh yes, I have!"

Now one of them mainly needs some minor straightening, which can wait a bit. But while I don't think braces are justified in every situation, I do think her slightly overlapped teeth are going to be very difficult to floss properly as she gets older, and so you've got to weigh the cost of braces against the cost of multiple cavities on those areas which are impossible to brush or floss properly.