We’ve been luckier than a lot of people with regards to the kids’ dental needs. They have strong teeth, very few cavities, and things are generally pretty straight.

ahem. or so we thought.

So, Rockinrolla has a crossbite. One tooth on the bottom is in front of a tooth on the top. The dentist said this is an issue not just cosmetically, but that it would be pretty easy to get it knocked out or chipped when playing sports. Also, his teeth are a little bit crooked – more so than the Fishmaster’s, whose teeth are pretty much spot on.

Our dentist recommended an orthodontist who services the county seat near us as well as the Big Town about half an hour away, but he said we could to whomever we want, obviously.

We went yesterday to the person he suggested and it was the NASTIEST waiting room I think I’ve ever been in. Like, I’ve been in public health care buildings that aren’t the freshest in the world, but this was beyond the pale. Paint peeling on the outside, awful ceiling, stained, funky carpet, packed waiting room, no TV or magazines or coffee tables, and furniture that the Salvation Army would reject. No joke: the couch I sat on was just icky, old and faded and splotchy, and the seam of a pillow was ripped open with stuffing coming out.

To be fair, everyone that worked there was very pleasant. The ortho seemed capable and friendly. And the Service Room, at least, was clean and bright and decorated with those brightly painted leering fish that dental types seem to love.

However, this is an orthodontist, people. Someone performing expensive, often purely cosmetic, work who presumably gets well compensated for it. I mean, right? I can vouch for the fact that, if we end up going with this office, we’ll be paying puh-lenty for Rockinrolla’s twenty-four months of care. More,actually, than teh interwebs say is the national average for twenty-four months of orthodontia. Which is interesting given that we don’t live in like Manhattan or Miama or somewhere fancy, no? (and yes, it’s entirely possible that the figure I found was dated, though I did find it on two different sites.)

I’m feeling like the guy either is struggling financially because business is not so great OR he just doesn’t give two flips about the space his clients are occupying. And if I’m going to be taking Rockinrolla somewhere every month for two years and waiting while he gets tightened up (and, you know, paying for it) I don’t want it to be somewhere vile.

The orthodontist said that, in addition to the crossbite, his lower jaw was crowding his upper a little, and that it might not be an issue, but that we might have to tweak the upper teeth outward so they don’t knock the lower ones. Mah boy has a “strong lower jaw.” So I guess that’s why he needs a full set, right? so that they can be tweaked as his jaw grows over the next couple of years? I just had four braces on my front teeth to correct a gap when I was a kid, though I do kind of wish I’d had the whole kit and caboodle and my teeth were perfectly straight.

I had made the appointment to get his spacers and teeth molds and whatnot upon leaving (in their other office, assuming it was surely less nasty), but then called back to postpone while I got a second opinion. We’re going next Wednesday to someone else for an initial consult.

I imagine that we’re of one mind here, but I’ve been surprised before.  So,

4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Jackie
    May 27, 2009 @ 21:07:13

    Biggest thing is to get second & more opinions on whether he needs them or not. Many dentists are buddies with orthodontists (such as near here) and they needlessly in some cases tell them they need braces when they really don’t or are only 8 or 9 years old, Hello, they haven’t even got all their teeth yet. As for the waiting room, I’d think I might look elsewhere, if they don’t care enough to have a professional waiting area, I’m not sure how professional they might be overall, appearances in professionalism are important in my opinion.

  2. Dan M
    May 28, 2009 @ 03:53:31

    Get them all done up now before he is 22, out of college, and either off your insurance or broke anyway. I learned the hard way, and things I put off when I was a teen have come back to “bite” me to the tune of 5K over 2 years. Do it now and its one less thing you have to worry about in ten years!

  3. cousinbetsytant
    May 28, 2009 @ 22:29:01

    El has had braces for about a year now. She gets them off soon and I can already see how pretty they are. Worth every penny. But you are absolutely right. For that much money they should treat you like royalty. Her orthos office is fab. Beautifully decorated, flat screen TVs, video games, a computerized self check in and we never wait longer than 5 minutes.

  4. thisbumpyjourney
    Jun 02, 2009 @ 12:15:05

    Yes, I totally agree, Jackie. I’m feeling quite sure now that I don’t want to go to this guy, either in the closer office or the further away one. There are several orthodontists around here and if I’m going to be hanging out in the waiting room at least once a month for the next two years, I want it to be comfy, if not downright plush. Especially since Rainbow will probably be with me all the time. I would *not* want him crawling around this place on the floor.

    And yes, Dan, I’m pro getting them all dealt with now. Unfortunately, we don’t have good dental insurance options (and our dentist doesn’t take the offered insurance anyway) so we just pay out of pocket for everything. But it would definitely be harder to get his teeth taken care of after he leaves the house. Plus, I’d rather him have metal on his teeth when he’s 12-14 than when he’s an adult.

    Your office sounds like my kind of office, Betsy. I’m hoping that the place we’re going to tomorrow is all fancy like that. It’s in a new building, so I am very hopeful. Added bonus: it’s right next to that new walkaround courtyard-type mall, so if he has long procedures, I can drop him off and go stroll and shop with Rainbow.

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