I’ve heard the pocket in my wallet is meant to hold money

11 Apr

Today my daughter had her first appointment with the orthodontist. Today’s appointment was just a consultation to take pictures and x-rays and measurements, discuss the treatment plan, and talk about the cost. We knew it would be pricey. My daughter had extreme difficulty losing her baby teeth and had to have three of them pulled last year because the adult teeth were not pushing them out of the way. Her upper canines for example had actually formed a third row of teeth above the rest of the teeth and the baby canines were barely even loose.

We have always had dental insurance through my husband’s job, but when I got my new job last year I signed up the kids under my dental plan as well. I figured they were getting to be teenagers so it wouldn’t hurt to have a little extra cushion. It came in pretty handy when the girl had her teeth extracted because we only had to pay $40 out-of-pocket. In anticipation of the girl’s orthodontics, I also signed up for my company’s flex plan this year. I never had braces myself but knew they would be pricey so I wanted to be prepared. Good thing I did. Here’s a summary of our meeting with the orthodontist:

Dr: Hi, nice to meet you. I’m Dr Fleece.

Me: Hi Dr Fleece. I’m Mrs About-to-Be-Flat-Broke. What’s the deal with my kid’s teeth?

Dr Fleece: Your daughter has a moderately severe overbite, her lower teeth are off center, and of course as you know her canines are still too high on her gums. The teeth on her lower jaw are a little crowded too.
Also she needs to have 4 more teeth pulled before we can even start with the orthodontics.

Me: Wow. Ok, so how do we fix all that?

Dr Fleece: She’ll have braces for about two years, and we’ll have to give her a bionic jaw* for the first year or so. After that she’ll have a retainer for a while.

Me: I see. How much will it cost?

Dr Fleece: Well, we break it down into monthly payments for the period your daughter will be wearing the stuff. So for the next two years you’ll be paying us a little bit more than your car payment every month.

Me: Holy moley! Good thing we have two insurances! That should take care of most of those payments right?

Dr Fleece: Oh no, that payment is AFTER your insurance has been applied. Without insurance you’d be paying about twice that much.

Daughter: If I accidentally throw away my retainer, will I have to go dumpster diving?

Me: Hell yes. I’m not paying to park a car in your mouth for the next two years so you can lose your retainer and let your teeth get all messed up again. Also, you’d bloody well better be religious about keeping your teeth clean while you have those braces. I’m not buying you a car just so you can park it on the street and let it rust.

Daughter: But I’m not even old enough to drive yet!

Me: That should give you plenty of free time for brushing your teeth then.

Dr Fleece: Well thanks for coming in, I look forward to seeing you again! You can surrender your wallet to the receptionist on the way out; you won’t be needing it for the next two years.

And as if that wasn’t enough to be excited about, when I got home I found out my student loan deferment period has ended, and my first payment will be due in May.

On a related note, I wonder how hard it would be to find a buyer for one of my kidneys? I guess I don’t really need them both. I’m kidding of course.**

*It’s not really a bionic jaw obviously. They’re giving her this thing called a Herbst appliance (click the link above to see a video of how it works) which corrects the overbite by pulling the lower jaw forward with tiny hydraulic hinges. It would be kind of cool if it didn’t also look incredibly painful. The device is apparently cemented to the teeth and poked into the gums to hold it in place. The technician said we should stock up on pudding, ice cream, and applesauce because that’s all the girl will be able to eat for the first few days. Poor kid.

** Or am I? Make me an offer.


Posted by on April 11, 2012 in Family Life


Tags: , , , , , , ,

11 responses to “I’ve heard the pocket in my wallet is meant to hold money

  1. Leanne Moffat

    April 11, 2012 at 9:18 pm

    Oh I feel for you! It is an absolute racket! I am already freaking a little about what it will cost for our guy, and we’ll have 6 or so years before we have to do anything!

    • karifur

      April 11, 2012 at 9:30 pm

      I don’t know; most of what I’ve been reading is that it is better to start earlier. Some dentists even say you should do the first orthodontist visit when your kid is SEVEN! Can you believe that? It’s hard enough to afford it now. When she was 7 I was a full-time college student and we were barely making ends meet. Orthodontics would have been impossible.

  2. fargojones

    April 11, 2012 at 11:22 pm

    Moderately severe is a fun word pair.

    Every now and then, I poke wife in the side, “You keeping good care of my kidney?” She does the same. We’re also moderately serious.;

    • karifur

      April 12, 2012 at 8:02 am

      I guess they use millimeter measurements to determine the severity of an overbite. Anything over 5mm they recommend the Herbst appliance; hers is a 7. I always knew she had an overbite but didn’t realize how bad it was until I saw the dental photos – her upper jaw is a full tooth in front of where it should be! Thankfully though, the teeth themselves have mostly grown down at the right angle so all the re-positioning will be side-to-side. This makes it less expensive apparently.

      To be serious, I’m not entirely sure anyone would want my kidneys anyway. There is a history of kidney stones in my family.

    • karifur

      April 12, 2012 at 8:03 am

      Maybe I could try selling my eggs. Goodness knows I won’t be using them; at least not if I can help it.

  3. nathaneide (@nathaneide)

    April 12, 2012 at 7:35 am

    Yep. Based upon my experience with the wonderful world of orthodontics, Ingrid will be visiting the orthodontist in second or third grade. We’ll let them make decisions about when to start moving her jaw and teeth around.

    Orthodontics are totally worth it though, teaches kids humility and pain management.

    • karifur

      April 12, 2012 at 7:50 am

      It will definitely be worth it for Adele. She is such a generally happy kid and loves to smile; it will be so nice for her to be able to smile without being embarrassed about her teeth.
      We are lucky that Stephen’s teeth and jaw have always been nicely proportioned. Even his dentist doesn’t think he needs to see the orthodontist (thank goodness – I don’t know how we would afford two kids with bionic jaws).

  4. mareserinitatis

    April 12, 2012 at 8:55 am

    I’m so sorry. I could have warned you. It’s definitely better to start early. Younger son’s orthodontics cost about half of mine, but we’re still paying through the nose. (Helpful hint: it’s really best if you only have one person in braces at a time.) He has spacers to push his teeth out, and then he only needs braces on the front teeth (as the back teeth should be okay after the spacers). This is why it’s better to start younger. Mine, on the other hand, are full braces all the way around for about two years. This is after a surgery to get an impacted tooth removed, and then I will need two more crowns when it’s all done. So on top of my braces, I have to cough up about $3k for additional dental work. And I have no dental insurance. 😦 I could definitely have bought a car for all this.

  5. Honest Mom

    April 12, 2012 at 8:39 pm

    Well, I never have any money in my wallet, so I guess I am well-prepared for what’s in store for me, right? (I like to look on the bright side.)

    Great post! Found you via Finding the Funny. πŸ™‚

    • karifur

      April 12, 2012 at 9:01 pm

      Haha yes I guess that is one way to look at it! Actually I almost never carry cash in my wallet anyway but at least previously I knew that I *could* put cash in it if I wanted to. πŸ˜‰

      I just discovered Finding the Funny via another blogger and am loving it. Glad it brought you to me!

  6. kelleysbreakroom

    April 13, 2012 at 3:07 pm

    This was so funny and so true! I had braces and a retainer. I took it out when I was in middle school, stuck inside my cap (I played softball for 2 years around that time) along with the candy we were throwing out in a parade and…you guessed it. It got thrown out during the parade. Yeah, not a fun time. Ha! (Thanks for linking this up over at #findingthefunny with us this week!)


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