View Full Version : Braces strictly for cosmetic reasons?

07-19-2016, 12:57 PM

07-19-2016, 01:09 PM
DS had braces for almost 2 years, for cosmetic reasons. Huge overbite and sort of fang eye teeth.

Our insurance paid 50%, I think we paid $2500 for our share. (7 years ago). I certainly wouldn't take out a loan to do it. If you can afford it, I say it's a valid reason. For good or evil, many people judge on first impressions, one of which is our smile.

DS absolutely HATED them at the time. In the years since he's had them off, though, he appreciates that we had it done.

About head gear and retainers--from studies I've read, they really don't do much. DS barely ever wore his retainer. Made no difference--teeth didn't move after braces were off.

07-19-2016, 01:59 PM
This is not an issue for us, at this point, but I can't imagine forcing the issue if it is not medically necessary.

Of course she can always do it at anytime. If she later decides that she wants to work on her teeth, she can get them. I don't think there is an age limit for it.

07-19-2016, 02:25 PM
I agree that it is not 'now-or-never' issue. I wore braces when I was 25-27. I had a problem on the upper jaw (one baby tooth was still sitting in tightly and a permanent tooth grew in the second row), so I had to correct it. The orthodontist was pushing me really hard to do both jaws - upper jaw to correct the problem and lower jaw purely cosmetically to just straighten it up a little - I refused and did only the problem upper jaw. It would have been twice the money and twice the pain (as I have discovered that the process was quite painful). I have never regretted having a perfect upper jaw and not-so-perfect lower jaw and do not think it affected my life in any way (not that I wanted to be a movie star anyway).
...And I refused to pay for and wear retainers too - the teeth did not move at all.

07-19-2016, 02:36 PM
For us it would be a no go. It's just too much money, time, and discomfort for something that is for appearance sake only. If it were a severe thing with teeth every which way, and DS felt very self conscious about it and really, really wanted it done, we'd do it, but otherwise, no. We could afford it, but there would be other ways that I feel the money would be better spent. Also, and I know this is just my weirdness, but seeing people with the way too white, exactly even, way too perfect, unnatural teeth creeps me out. It's just so Stepford.

07-19-2016, 02:54 PM
Is this something that people who can afford it just automatically do? My generation was kind of 50-50. I had braces for six years (headgear and all), which caused enamel hypoplasia and host of other dental health issues in my adult life. The field of orthodontics has continued to advance, so they know better now... but, I'm not seeing as many braces as I did back then. Like houses, is this just something that many parents simply can no longer afford?

It seems as though 80% of the kids around here get braces! (and we do not live in a really wealthy area) Growing up in the 70's I rarely saw braces - my brother is the only person I knew with braces. I'm not even sure why he had them. His teeth always looked perfect and he only had to wear them six months. (I've never heard of insurance covering any of it. Our insurance doesn't cover it.)

The pediatric dentist suggested I have my children evaluated for braces. I haven't done it yet. She said my son's bite is 'off a bit' and my daughter has one tooth that is 'sightly off'. I should have asked for a better explanation but I was in 'braces denial'. I probably need braces more than the kids. I have TMJ and the past twelve years I've clenched my teeth at night. I've managed to ruin my teeth and they have shifted horribly. They used to be perfectly straight and evenly spaced (except the gap in front that has been bonded since I was 13); now they look horrible:(.

07-19-2016, 04:27 PM
ds8 isn't getting them.

I may reconsider this decision when he gets closer to job interview age if it bothers him and if I am in a better position to help him financially.

I had Country Club perfect teeth until my 30s, when I was told that I had periodontal disease. I'm still sorting out what was bad genes and what was bad dentists, but a whole lot of money went down the tubes and simply isn't there for braces any more.

Neither are my natural teeth, lol.

ds' grandparents are in their early 80s and still have all their natural teeth. His look like his maternal grandmother's. Her father could have easily afforded braces if he thought they were medically necessary. He was an orthopedic surgeon.

Fads come and go so we're just skipping the "braces for cosmetic reasons" one unless ds8 has a strong opinion otherwise, since it is his body.

07-19-2016, 05:31 PM
I was thinking about this more.
When grew up, if your baby teeth were not falling out, they pulled them out so your permanent teeth came in straight. I had 10 or 12 baby teeth pulled. Two in the dentist's office and eight or ten at an oral surgeon's office.

When I was concerned that one of my son's teeth was coming in front of the baby tooth, I asked the dentist if we should pull the baby tooth. She said that isn't done any longer. They let both teeth go and often the permanent tooth straightens out after the baby tooth falls out - if not, the kids get braces. That is why my nephew needs braces. His permanent teeth are all wonky because they came in around his baby teeth. I think it would have been easier and less expensive to have the baby teeth pulled.

07-19-2016, 06:23 PM
How much of an improvement would they make? Before I had braces, I had the whole *fish lips* thing going on.... and as mild as my vanity is, Im glad that I dont have that anymore. I also remember them as being a sometimes painful nuisance. And the brackets popping off frequently, necessitating lots of *emergency* trips to the orthodontist. (Im sure technology has advanced!)
You could wait until she is older, and is ready to pay for them herself if she wants them.
How does she feel about the idea of them?
How does it compare with something less invasive, like Invisalign?
Braces | Clear Braces | Alternative To Metal Braces | Invisalign (http://www.invisalign.com)

I agree with the others that it doesnt have to be done at a certain age... maybe its just traditional to inflict it on kids because they felt youths bones were more pliable, or more likely, because parents could be guilted into shelling out the money for it.

07-19-2016, 08:33 PM
I have to say, I envy you all your insurance! We have what DH's company offers and it costs as much as our mortgage (it may even be a smidge more) and it ONLY covers health. No dental or vision. Not one dime. Not for a cleaning or checkup. Not for glasses, eye exams, vision therapy, nothing. We have paid all that out of pocket for years. I wanted DS to get a job with better insurance for years - it would have freed up a fortune. Now, I think he's old enough he better just stay put and have the job security.

If your insurance covers dental - at all - let alone 60% for orthodontic work, be grateful.

07-19-2016, 08:40 PM
Ramen to that, EJsMom! I get you on the ridiculously expensive insurance that pays for pretty much nothing, but comes with the job that offers stability and security. I dont think we have dental or vision, either.

Our speech therapist suggested we buy additional private insurance for my little one, that it might come out cheaper for us if they pay for what the employer one doesnt. :(

07-20-2016, 03:24 PM
Late to the party but maybe look into an Option B?

My understanding is it is all about the bite. If there's a problem with alignment, bigger problems can happen later. But you could be completely snaggletoothed and your bite might be fine.

So we did option B: an upper retainer, overnight, when the kid was 5-6. It was adjustable. The problem was really only her bite, no removals etc.; just teeth mostly too big for her petite jaw growing in the way they were. Her teeth are perfect, bite-wise, and the alignment means they look fine (if cosmetics were a concern here). The retainer was not that expensive, or disruptive to her daily existence. Popcorn and taffy for everyone.

But yeah we have a dentist who's a bit manic about bite. And he gladly refers for orthodontia so it's not like he's trying to keep the work all to himself.

07-20-2016, 04:18 PM
Your DD and mine have this in common as well. DH and his sister both had huge gaps between the front top incisors, and his teeth came in so badly, he had medical cause enough to justify orthodontic surgery, due to some tissue growing down between the top front teeth that was making them point sideways outward. Really bad scenario! His sister also had bad teeth but not to the medically disfiguring degree, so she just had braces.

But DD has the characteristic huge gap between the front teeth, and more...her adult canines are protruding through the gums above the remaining adult teeth, which have twisted in all strange directions due to the gaps...seems the timing of losing teeth and erupting adult ones is all wonky, and some are going sideways.

I'm nervous, but DH says his were like that and they resolved themselves eventually, so armed with the knowledge that there is no magic window of opportunity for braces (it doesn't need to happen in one's teens) and that this may still resolve itself mostly, and that we can't afford things like $2K braces when we need to scrape just to afford $2K transmissions...we're opting for the wait-and-see plan.

But for better or worse, a great smile really matters in EVERY profession, in every walk of life, whether overtly or subtly...even if you aren't in sales or modeling or fashion, opportunity knocks more often and more loudly for pretty people, at every stage. Not fair, but real.

Worst case scenario, DD is still a snaggle-toothed mess at 16-17, and she gets a job JUST to pay for correction of her smile, and that will be okay.

07-21-2016, 08:55 AM
One thing to keep in mind is that after a certain age braces are generally considered a cosmetic thing, therefore insurance won't pay for it, so if you're going to do it, now is the time.

I think if it were me I'd take her in for an appointment and get recommendations from your dentist, specifically if she could use something like those invisaline clear things whatever they're called. I had braces for several years and it was horrible once they came off. I'm not sure what happened - if the enamel on my teeth where taken off with that glue they use or what, but I had cavities EVERYWHERE where the braces were glued which has caused lifelong problems for me. I'd be weary of them if they are not absolutely needed. Just my two cents.

07-21-2016, 07:49 PM
DS8 will end up with braces. His adult teeth are growing in all sorts of crazy crooked.

I wish my parents had gotten braces for me. My bottom teeth are crooked and overlap in the front. It is hard to clean between them, and dental cleanings are painful because of it. I would be a good candidate for invisalign, but there are only enough dollars for one of us to have braces, so DS8 will get them when he is older.