Braces: just a scam?
I had braces for exactly 2 years, from ages 14 to 16. The "Brady Bunch" had an episode about Marcia getting braces and how she had to adjust to them, accept them. I suppose I thought they might just be a rite of passage.
Our 13-year old's dentist suggested we have an orthodontic consultation. "The 45-minute consultation is free," the scheduler told me, "and we will walk through the doctor's recommendations, and all of your options and costs." From the moment we set the appointment, it felt like a bit of a sales pitch. My daughter was taught how to scan in at the front desk computer, brush up, and where to sit, "for the next time". From my waiting room chair, I saw an endless stream of teens scanning themselves in, brushing teeth, and sitting to wait for the doctor.
The doctor and the assistant were super smooth and fast-talking. They were uber friendly and joke-making. The recommendation: extraction of 4 teeth to make room then braces, no headgear, for 24 months. The cost: $6855.
I had to ask: "How medically necessary is this recommendation?" I was told the overbite causes the gums to stretch, thin and unnecssarily recede, causing problems later. Also, the misalignment of teeth will lead to wearing down and erosion of tooth in the wrong places.
Hm. Interesting. OK, then. I mean, if it is medically necessarily, wouldn't we pursue all avenues to pay $6855 for a new set of teeth? Shining, shimmering, splendid?
Before we commit, I thought it'd be best to shop around. While I loved this little boutique ortho clinic, it was certainly worth seeing what else was out there. I rang up a dental chain and quickly asked what the cost range would be for a 24-month stint. Answer: "about $4800". A considerable savings, wouldn't you say?
Have you ever received a recommendation for you or your child to have braces, but forgone the recommendation? Did you decide to pursue the braces? Did you decide on braces sooner or later?