Thursday, April 23, 2009

Investments in smiles

Yesterday we spent the better part of the morning getting expanders and braces fitted into the mouths of the Professor and my Pigeon. They handled the process fairly well, they are sore still today, but better than last night. They will have the expanders for six months. The braces I think will be on a bit longer. This is phase one of their Orthodontal treatments. They most likely will have full braces on when they hit about 12. Both children seem to have gotten the small umbiture of my mouth and Nathan's large teeth. Having lost baby teeth, the adult teeth just have no place to come in at. This is making a mess of their teeth, their gums, and ultimately those amazing smiles.

I was thinking yesterday as I was writing that fat check to the office manager, that in terms of value, I will over a lifetime be paying fractions of a penny for each smile they use. Not a bad investment.

Going through this process, I have however learned a ton about medical/dental offices. I think it has really changed my thinking A LOT! These thought processes started changing after the Profressor's surgery last year. He was drugged and being wheeled away by complete and total strangers. I thought to my self then, where else would I allowed my child to be drugged and taken away with total strangers--NO WHERE!
All medical and dental care can have a profound effect on the safety and long term well being of my child. So a list of things I have started to use in choosing care.

1. This is by no means the most important thing, but shopping for doctors is very important. In determining what Orthodontist to use, I shopped prices and procedures. There was more than a $1000 difference per kid for care between multiple doctors. I was blown away by this! Insurance will pay for reasonable and customary some offices there were Otis Spunkmeyer cookies being cooked on site, others had video games and flat screen tvs to keep your kids occupied. You are paying for that stuff--not better care!

2. Interviewing the doctor and getting references from several former patients is not only a good idea, but really would you leave your child alone with an unkownn babysitter for even 15 minutes, much less hand your child's wellbeing over to a total stranger? All the doctor's I have talked with recently are welcoming to this interview process. If they are not....well really if you can not comfortably sit and talk to a doctor about concerns, do you really want their services?

3.Paying up front will save you a bundle. Whether you are insured or not, whether you have a hsa or not...ask if you can get a discount for paying up front. I saved more than $300 for paying for all the orthodontal treatment in one sum at front. That is a huge savings!

4. Doctors are people. Do not put them on pedestals! If you have questions or concerns--demand answers. If you feel that they are not seeing something...point it out. These are your kids. No one knows them like you. You may not know the science of any one given section of anatomy of your kid, but you know the whole child. If you see issues, behaviors or things that just don't seem right...demand answers, solutions and respect.

I have learned that one of my duties as a mother is to advocate for my children. I am blessed with fairly healthy kids, but due to eyes, allergies, and teeth, I am advocating for my children with medical professionals quite a bit. I have so glad to have found some amazing doctors to provide care for my children, but we have walked away from some doctors who I felt were not the best fit for the needs of my children.

So here is to clearer vision, the ability to breathe... for me, having peace in the care of my children...and straight toothed smiles which I look forward to enjoying all the days of my life.

1 comment:

  1. Ahh, I remember the years of soreness....
    I am happy to hear you really investigated and shopped around for prices! I think getting referrals from others is huge as well because I have known some people who had to have braces a second time within a few years. My ortho did a great job!