Thursday, August 21, 2008

Oral Fixation

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.


Lori said...

I am so happy with the comment my kids dentist gave me: "congratulations, Mom, you gave these kids great big mouths to hold all those teeth with great spaces." I took it as praise and with a "hey!?" at the same time. Our prayers are with you and Don on this!!!

Green Girl in Wisconsin said...

Oh man. I have ONE who will cost everything at the orthodontist and two (Thank GOD) who will not.

Patience_Crabstick said...

My son's teeth look fine to me, but the dentist insists he needs braces. My son refuses to get them, although I have warned him repeatedly that if he doesn't get them now, he will have to pay for them himself as an adult. It used to worry me a lot, but I'm over it. Meanwhile, at her last check up, the dentist says to my daughter, "You have extra enamel on some of your teeth and I recommend removing it for cosmetic reasons." Um, no. Her teeth look fine, it's just her two eye teeth are a tiny bit more pointed than other people's. Luckily, the dentist's comment didn't make her self-conscious about her teeth. I am not paying for cosmetic dentistry for a 15 year old.