Friday, February 27, 2009

Jacked Up Grill

One of the amazements of medicine is the x-ray. Utterly amazing to me. I don't know how it works, and I don't really care. But how cool is it to be able to see into the human body - through the skin and the fat and visualize what the naked eye cannot. It is all fun and games until the orthodontist pulls up an x-ray on the computer screen of your son's grill. Then it becomes HORRIFYING.

I can't even put into words how grossly severe his problem is. He has all these teeth just waiting to come in. But unfortunately, even when he looses the baby teeth blocking their path, there is simply not enough room. So what's the solution, you ask??

This orthodontist wants to put a partial set of braces on my seven year old son. The partial set costs $3000. And what I am wondering is exactly how they put any set of braces on a kid with five permanent teeth. His objective is to try to correct the problem without pulling teeth. I do not consider myself to be nearly as educated as he, but I don't see this happening. At all. And I even questioned him so as to make sure my simple mind understood him correctly, "So, what you are saying is that you believe you could solve this issue without pulling any teeth???" He said he couldn't make any promises, but he was hopeful. I wanted to ask him how many toots of that happy gas he had taken that day, but I decided it probably wouldn't be the best idea. He doesn't know me very well, and he may not appreciate my sense of humor. Instead, I came home and made an appointment with another orthodontist for a second opinion.

I can't even describe this office. It was beautiful, no doubt. But my first thought when I entered it was, "Wow. This dude makes a ton of money." And not that I have a problem with that. He went to school for forever, and he has a skill few people have. He should make good money from a good day's work. But he doesn't have to throw it in your face with video games in the waiting room, free fresh coffee and cookies for the parents, a consultation room as big as my children's bedrooms in our house, and autographed sports memorabilia plastered all over the walls. This place looked nothing like the offices I remember visiting during the five years I had braces. I think I may have had a fish tank and some magazines to look at while waiting. And that was sufficient for me. Ahhh, the simple days.

And, there was just something I didn't like about the orthodontist himself. He was a little flashy. He entered the room to do his analysis, and he immediately went into some sort of character. He was trying to be cool and relate to the patient, I could tell. But I just don't think it worked very well, and frankly, it left me feeling a little awkward. I mean, it is me he is trying to sell. And I don't relate to phrases like, "You know what I mean, brother?!?" and "Give me some skin on dat one." I don't know; call me old fashioned. I think you can be casual and kid-friendly without all the theatrics. In other words, Mama was not impressed.

Of course, David thinks he wants braces. That's because he doesn't know what it feels like to be fitted for bands where they put one on and then try two or three other sizes leaving your teeth literally hurting and your gums swollen from so much activity. Nor does he know what it feels like to have them tightened once a month or have the inside of your mouth gashed from protruding wire. My dear sweet boy wants braces because he can get orange rubber bands put on them and that would look cool. I am sure we could find a cheaper way to look cool. Perhaps an orange shirt??

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