Friday, June 27, 2008

Braces? At my age?

When I was young, I wanted braces. I always thought my friends who had them looked so cool. But, I never needed them-until now. I don't want them now-I got over that stage of my life about 20 years ago. It's not a vanity thing-I am really not a vain person. Its more that I have heard they hurt and I am very much an anti-pain person.

I have insisted for the past few years that my bottom teeth are shifting. I have looked at these teeth everyday for a really long time so I felt that I was more than qualified to notice when they started to not look right. With the moves to Arizona and back to Washington, however, I kept changing dentists before they could really notice this shift I was talking about. I had my last cleaning on 1/29. I go every six months without fail. I have good teeth and I would like to keep it that way. Finally, at this appointment, the dentist was able to see that I really do have shifting teeth ("unstable" was their term). It isn't so much my teeth she noticed, but the fact that I am holding my bottom jaw to the right to try to correct the bite. She scheduled me for an orthodontal consult which was supposed to be February 11th, but I cancelled it after James passed away. It still seems so unreal that one evening we were casually discussing me possibly needing braces and putting it off until after the wedding and a week later he was gone.

They called last week when they realized I had not been in yet to see them. So, I went in today. In January, I was shifting my jaw periodically, now I am doing it constantly. I have a midline shift, which sounds more like some sort of defensive play in hockey or soccer than an orthodontic issue to me. I have options: I can get a retainer and hope it stabilizes the problem, or I can get braces and fix the problem.

I know if James were here to discuss this with, he would say to fix the problem instead of just putting a Band-aid on it. It bothers me that this is just one more thing he didn't get to know the outcome of. But, he is not here and my insurance apparently does not cover this. So, there is that to consider as well and that is a pretty big consideration. I am basically looking at the equivalent of another car payment if I go with the braces. Looks like I better crunch some numbers. Luckily for me, I'm good at that. I also have to look at the big picture-my jaw will go back where it is supposed to and I will stop feeling like I was punched in the mouth every day. I think I have pretty much made up my mind, but after 8 years of having a partner to weigh all the pros and cons, it is a little weird to make the decision on my own. Good thing this isn't a huge decision!


Sari said...

Oh no, that sucks! Definitely sounds like it's best to get the braces, although I know I wouldn't want to. I probably should get them now but I'm scared.

Anonymous said...


This is NJN from the board. I'm 49, and I got braces last September (when I was 48).

I say go for it. If you don't, you could well find yourself in my shoes, still needing them.

Because you have some time to think about it, may I make a suggestion? I have a Flexible Spending Account for medical issues, and I'm paying for my braces through that. That means that the money comes out pre-taxed, and I don't feel it at all.

The other thing you can do if your company doesn't offer an FSA is to open a Health Savings Account and use direct deposit for that. Again, it's pre-taxes, so it's easier on your budget because you don't "feel" like you're paying a different bill.

Let me know if you have any questions. I'll be happy to answer them. You can find me on the board or via my blog,

Good luck!