With much fear and trepidation, I took Sydney for her first orthodontist appointment yesterday. In the few weeks since we learned that she would almost certainly need braces, all kinds of scenarios have played out in my mind. Things like "I'm going to have to flip burgers to pay for this." or "If I watch 'Ocean's 11' enough and take good notes, maybe I can figure out how to pull off the perfect robbery." or "Her teeth aren't THAT crooked. Besides, God looks on the heart, right??"
However, none of those arguments held water and so on Friday we found ourselves sitting in Dr. Bryant's office. Sydney was nearly in tears, fearing the possibility of oral surgery. I was nearly in tears, fearing the possibility of bankruptcy.
Before I go on, I have to say, boy have the dentists' offices changed! This place was like Disneyworld. We walked into a swanky waiting room, complete with a plasma TV blaring Nickelodeon and two additional televisions beeping and flashing with video games. All the office walls were creatively decorated for kids, and the open "surgical" area had two more televisions, each attached to a patient via hand-held controller. When I was a kid, I dreaded my bi-annual visits to Dr. Stabenaugh, aka Dr. Blood, like the plague. I would sit in those hard plastic chairs, shaking with fear, trying not to smell his cigarette/alcohol breath and praying that I would just bleed to death already! It was terrible and my mouth hurt for days afterward!
But not anymore! Sydney's eyes lit up like a christmas tree when we walked into this "Orthodontic Paradise". As the sugary-sweet receptionist handed me a packet of information topped off by a postcard explaining "Orthobanc" (their handy, dandy payment plan for which you must sign away your firstborn), it occurred to me just how dear Dr. Bryant must afford all this glitz and glam!
After a few brief moments in the waiting spa, errrr I mean waiting room, we were ushered into an equally swanky examining room. My first clue that maybe, just maybe things weren't going to be as bad as I had feared was when the dental hygienist looked at Sydney's x-rays and said with furrowed brow "Now, exactly why are you here and who referred you?" A glimmer of hope! Maybe this would be less painful than I had anticipated--for me and for Sydney!
When Dr. Bryant came in to examine Sydney, he confirmed many things we already knew: she is completely missing her eye teeth; she still has fourteen baby teeth that need to come out, hopefully on their own; she is "tongue tied" on the top between her upper two front teeth (something he can fix that with laser surgery); and she has a very small mouth, which is, thankfully, in perfect proportion to the rest of very-small Sydney (that term doesn't apply to the sounds that come out of that very small mouth however).
He also enlightened us about some things we didn't know: she will definitely need braces but probably nothing extensive; even though it may look like she has an underbite, it's actually her chin and its technical term is "chin button". (I think that's adorable, especially since the very first thing Jeff said about Sydney right after she was born was "She has a pointy chin." "Chin button" is definitely preferable to "pointy chin."); and, the BEST news of all, we will wait until next summer to see if her baby teeth fall out. If they do (we didn't discuss the alternative in front of the nervous patient), he will let her canine teeth come in and fill in the "gap" from the missing teeth and will use an expander to make her tiny mouth a little bit bigger. This approach will save us LOTS of money and about six years of orthodontic work (the other option was a retainer or pricey teeth implants).
I almost fell off my fancy chair! Was this guy actually trying to save me money?? He certainly could have recommended years of orthodontic work and depleted our life savings, but he was suggesting just the opposite. Just to be certain, I asked him to repeat himself and, sure enough, I had heard right! Needless to say, I was very impressed. Sydney can get all googly-eyed over those televisions and video games. I will be googly-eyed all the way to the bank! woo hoo