This blog is now retired. My new site is at: Predictably Irrational.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Brace Yourself

What do you think about braces? Do you think there seems to be a lot of children with them? Are there that many problematic jawlines out there?

Perhaps there is. But I can't help but reflect on 'my' generation.

I didn't have braces. My teeth are actually aligned well. I have good genes, I guess. But the bottom front teeth are crooked. I would literally beg my dentist to give me braces. But I was always told that they weren't an issue and therefore, unnecessary.

Out of my pals through elementary and high school, there were quite a few with braces but I would say the non-braced folks outnumbered the braced ones.

My husband also did not have braces.

And over the years, I hear about my friends who did wear braces: a lifetime of upkeep by wearing a retainer, that at some point, becomes forgotten. Some folks talk about how their teeth have uncrooked, although not badly, but they aren't as straight as they were after braces.

It seems, once going with braces, it's a lifetime of care.

And now, it seems to me, that there seems to be a rite of passage in dentistry: braces are assumed to be the next step in dental care.

And I'm not buying it. Literally.

CJ had an orthodontic exam last week. We were told she would need braces. I could see an overbite, although it's not an overbite. They showed me 'flaws' but seemed to hold back in pushing me with the sales pitch. You know "tip-toe" the sell.

And the sell? About $5800 for braces. Yup. Fifty-eight hundred dollars for braces.

My dental insurance may cover some part of it but certainly not all. What do people do when they don't have dental insurance? It's not that unusual to NOT have dental insurance.

Anyway, I'm not sold. I think it's a crock. I have always thought that and then my other pediatric dentist (who I love but had to dump because of the shitty front-desk help) started in on it when CJ turned 10...'it'll be time to see an orthodontist about her teeth'.

But the biggest thing, and the worst sales pitch anyone could make, was when we were leaving the orthodontist and the saleswoman (not the orthodontist) looks at Mi-Mi and says 'This is good practice for you for when you go through this!'

Hello? She's six and you know nothing about her teeth! But the expectation you have is that she will endure this too, because that's what you guys do: provide braces no matter what.

Unless we are told by ten orthodontists that CJ has a jaw mis-alignment that warrants the need for braces...vs. aesthetically pleasing ain't happening.

Besides, as I told my book club pals the other night, I'll let her decide when she's old enough to pay for it herself.

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