I remember when my children were very small, and I greeted the emergence of their teeth with relief because it meant the crying would stop. Or so I thought. It turns out that those teeth came in crooked. Or the palates of said children are too narrow to accommodate the many teeth they have produced. Or some other issue exists to indicate the opportunity for applying assorted torture devices at great expense to their mouths.
Because of the boy's hygiene issues (Again with his feeling that Mom's "standards are too strict" with the expectation of twice-a-day brushing and flossing... Grrr.), the orthodontist and dentist agree that we will delay or completely skip what could otherwise be beneficial orthodontic treatment for Junior. Middle child is receiving the necessary treatment to allow all of her teeth to fit in her mouth and to correct a speech issue. We are attempting to keep her front teeth straight while correcting the alignment of her jaw, but the proposed second round of purely cosmetic work won't be happening. If she wants model-perfect teeth, she can seek that treatment on her own later in life, but the Bank of Mom and Dad will only finance the correction of the formative issues that cannot be easily altered once she finishes growing. The little one has her second appointment next month to determine whether or not it is time to put a her in braces or other nasty bits of oral engineering.
Middle child's assorted orthodontia is completely paid for because there is a discount when one pays up front. (I think it makes one more likely not to shirk appointments, too.) Youngest child inspires fear because her mouth is a mess even to my untrained eye. There is going to be a cost that leaves my jaw on the floor associated with correcting her assorted oral issues. I stare at her mouth imagining the potential cost of turning all those crooked little teeth and spacing them out so more can pop out. Funny how orthodontic insurance (which not all dental insurance plans offer if one is lucky enough to have that...) caps out way before the various recommended "phases" of treatment can be completed. It's one of the very few areas where our privileged kids do not receive all that is available to them.