Bracing For The Worst

So, a little over a year ago, we bit the bullet and took The Daughter® in for braces.  It was something that Cora was looking at back before the wedding, but since you pay such a front weighted fee for the braces, it just didn't make sense to do it before the move, and then with the court stuff going on and all, well, it just slide off to the side for a little while.

The Daughter's a beautiful young lady, but she was always embarrassed about her smile.  So, The Wife® called around for an orthodontist to get a preliminary consultation, and had a hard time finding anyone who had hours outside of school hours.  Seriously?  If you're an othro, most of your revenue comes from teenagers, right?  Who have school during the day, right? 

Anyway, when Cora eventually found one within walking distance from the school and the condo, who had evening and weekend hours, we set up that consultation.  Cora and I had talked about it.  With the parenting plan we have, The Daughter's biological father would be paying a portion of the bill, so we needed to do it in a fiscally responsible way, so we figured Invisaligns would be out, but maybe we would cover the cost difference between the old school metal braces and the semi-clear plastic ones.  She was already embarrassed about her smile, sticking her with a mouth full of steel for a couple of years seemed… cruel.

At the consultation, the ortho explained our options:

  • The old school metal braces were going to be around $5,000 and take about 2.5 years.
  • The clear plastic ones were going to be about $6,500 and he said that they broke a lot, and caused a lot more problems, including tooth damage than they were probably worth.

And that was it.  He ended his spiel.  As Cora, The Daughter, and I talked about the options, I asked him, "What about Invisaligns?"

"Oh, those would be about $5,000, same as the metal ones, and should take about 18 months."

WTF?  Dude, next time, lead with that.  LEAD WITH THAT!

Now, you have to be a good candidate with both the right type of dental issues and be able to follow the rules (wear them 20 hours a day, no eating with them in, etc.).  And the rule obeying girl with the front teeth that needed rotated was a great candidate.  So, they took a mold of her teeth, sent them off, and just before school last year, she started the program.


Now, if you don't know how it works, they take the "before" mold, and scan that into a computer and generate the "after", and then a number of incremental steps to get from "before" to "after" in 2 week increments.  Every 2 weeks, after the teeth have moved a little, you switch to the next set.  You are supposed to wear them 20 – 22 hours a day.  The orthodontist provides you with a handful of sets at a time.  When you need to get your next bunch, you schedule an appointment.  The Daughter has only been back to the chair once, for a couple minutes in all the appointments.  They are usually in/out in literally 5 minutes.  You take the trays out to eat and brush your teeth.  That means no food restrictions like regular braces.  But when they're in: cold water only.

Let me tell you, when you hear that they are virtually invisible, the truth is, they are.  I mean you have to be about a foot away and looking hard to notice them.  There was a bit of a lisp for the first few days, but it's faded.

And her teeth?  We're 30 sets in of the 34, and I have to tell you, if she stopped now, her teeth would be merely great.  I can't wait to see what the fine tuning of the last few sets.

Now, I know what you're thinking: "Where's the proof?  Show me that smile."


She's getting a CD and a book that she's been waiting a long time for, so she's happy, and not remotely embarrassed to flash that smile.

That's how it worked for us.  Your mileage may vary.  Just saying that if you have a teen, don't rule out Invisaligns, and for sure, shop around for an orthodontist that has decent hours.


Cora said...

I mean, really, expecting every kid to skip school to go get their braces adjusted is just moronic. You'd think they'd all have school-friendly hours, but, sadly, no.

Anonymous said...

A) I wish they'd had these when I wore braces.

B) In response to Cora's comment about skipping school to get them adjusted, I agree with it. However, when I had braces, I was lucky enough that my orthodontist was, quite literally, right across the street from my high school, so I could just run there after school, get adjusted, and get back for whatever after-school thing I had that day.

Scope said...

Cora - It's like, a miracle. Like finding a dentist with weekend and evening hours within 200 yards of your front door.

Joshua - While I never had braces, I can imagine every child who had the train tracks for years is a little jealous. (I live with one, I know. :-) ) Granted, by the time your kids are ready, there will be some kind on iPhone 12-S app that scans your mouth and 3D prints out the trays, cutting the middleman entirely. But if not, remember to shop around.

SkylersDad said...

I spent 5 years, yes 5, in the old standard silver models. But my teeth were a train wreck. I look back on it now as the best thing my folks could have ever done for me.

Scope said...

5 years in braces? Hopefully they sprang for a hooker and a monthly bottle of whiskey.

Shana M said...

I was lucky that I never needed braces!! Neither did Marissa!!
The Daughter looks lovely!!!!