Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Adventures in orthodontics...

What do you get when two people with dental issues mate?

Braces, people.

I have a big mouth, but no space for all the God-given teeth I have. My husband, not so big-mouthed, but big-toothed...Our oldest son has shark teeth...and yes, apparently, that is a medical term.

I have been putting off taking Matthew for an orthodontic evaluation for many reasons. Mainly, because we had never picked dental insurance with an orthodontic option (because, what did we know that we'd have big-toothed, big mouth, no-space-in-the-big-mouth-for-the-big-teeth children? Reason #245,345 that parents aren't cool).

And because I was a little afraid of Matthew's reaction to the whole thing.

While Andrew and Joshua have had the lion's share of medical forays, Matthew has dodged every medical bullet, except for this. When I casually mentioned braces about a year ago, he flipped out.

He protested quite loudly. "But it will hurt, Mom!" (Yeah, no kidding buddy. You got some karma coming back at you for the FORTY hour labor your arrival inflicted...)

"Matthew, your teeth are growing in the wrong direction. Your tongue cannot sit comfortably in your mouth. I think that you will be much more comfortable once your mouth is the way it should be, " I said but left out "if you had parents with normal mouths."

After discussing back and forth, I told him I would spend the money that would go to his braces on a very nice trip with his father on the other side of the world. It was settled. The thought of his father and I having fun without him and his brothers was enough for him to make up his mind that this, indeed, was something that was necessary for him to take care of. That, and a few of his classmates now have metal mouths too, and survived, so it was totally cool.

We finally got the insurance straightened out, the referral in place, and so today was our appointment. He thought the initial "before" mug shots were a hoot. He loved getting the 360 degree x-rays, and mostly, he really liked the doctor.

Mom wasn't having as much fun, especially when taken into the little room where you discuss "payment options."

For a little bit, people, I felt like I was buying a car. "Do you feel comfortable with this number?" asked the financial lady.

Um, no, not so much. 'Cause this number is with the insurance, doesn't cover a possible Phase 2 of treatment and I still have two other kids who came from the same two people who created this person. Does this number include liposuction or a clone for Mom? 'Cause then, it would be a bargain!

You would be proud to know that I haggled the price down a little, but not too much. And Matthew was psyched when he had the spacers put in to prepare his mouth for what is coming in next week.

At some point, the financial shock will wear off from this mother and I will become accustomed to the new monthly payment for the next 15 months. And the novelty will wear off for this boy and he will become accustomed to the devices that will expand what needs expanding.

And neither of us will be entirely happy until the final "after" mug shots are taken, and the results are as beautiful as the boy who will have earned them.


  1. I'm laughing at your post, Maria, but I know your good humor here comes with a heavy price tag!

    I never had braces and felt decidedly left out as a kid. (Strange child, I know.) Husband had braces - twice - so our boys have a 50-50 chance of following in your son's footsteps.

  2. oooo I remember braces....the worst!

  3. This is hilarious, but I feel your pain. When Miss D. was six, the dentist told us, "Start saving. This kid is gonna need serious braces."


    Miss D. is now 8 and has HUGE corncob teeth in the front. I'm just waiting for the bill. *cringe*

  4. I had braces for 4 years along with mouth surgery and every possible retainer known to man. I was an orthodontist's dream and a parent's nightmare. But you're right... it's all worth it in the end, when those silver pieces come off and what's left are some sparkly STRAIGHT teeth. At least I keep telling myself that as I'm sure both of my kids will follow in my footsteps. Especially with Hannah's thumb sucking that will most likely continue UNTIL she gets braces!

    I love your good humor with this.. it will make it that much easier in the long run!

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  6. Here's hoping that since the boys have inherited the strong personalities of their parents, they will also inherit our good teeth. Neither P nor I ever had to do the braces thing. I am sure they will have enough attitude growing up that what we save in orthodontics, we'll have to pay in therapy.


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