Do the words “your child needs braces” set your teeth on edge?
Dental and orthodontic treatments — root canals, braces, surgery — can be painful for the child and take a bite out of parents’ wallets. But don’t just grin and bear it. Arm yourselves to the teeth instead.
When my older daughter Stefanie got her braces three years ago, we were unprepared for her pain and for the sticker shock. Dental insurance plans cover just a portion of the bill, which, for braces, are around $6,000.
Just as we finished paying for Stefanie’s braces this year, my younger daughter Hannah needed to get braces. But we were better prepared.
“Modern technology has made braces more comfortable than ever — in fact, orthodontic treatment is quicker than it ever used to be due to new technologies,” said orthodontist Inna Gellerman, whose office is in Huntington. “That said, discomfort is also minimal with braces.”
I took a bottle of children’s Advil with me for Hannah’s appointment, but she didn’t need it until hours later. After the procedure, Hannah was treated to an ice cream, which numbs almost any kind of pain. About a week later and after consuming one too many yogurts, smoothies and puddings, her pain eased.
“Patients are encouraged to eat soft foods after first getting their braces on, and to avoid anything that is chewy, gooey, or sticky throughout orthodontic treatment. In case of soreness, patients can rinse with a warm salt water mouthwash, or take aspirin or whatever they normally take for headache pain,” Gellerman said.
There’s also the financial pain to consider. Orthodontists may offer patients a payment plan. Gellerman said her team offers financial arrangements and “interest-free in-house financing for orthodontic treatments.”
With another child due to get orthodontic treatment in a year or two, I may end up paying through the teeth, but on the bright side, with straighter teeth, my kids have a good reason to smile.