Bracing for the Future
February was pretty much a wash, blogging-wise. I hope to post more this month, and to actually respond to people’s comments. But I don’t want to linger over my shortcomings, so let’s move on, shall we?
I don’t think I mentioned here that Trixie got braces last month, did I? What an experience that has been! We didn’t do the braces thing when I was a kid (not that we didn’t need it!). For several reasons, I think. First, I don’t think we had dental insurance, let alone orthodontia coverage. Second, the whole “perfect teeth” obsession seems to be mostly an American (perhaps North American? I don’t know what the Canadian default it…) cultural necessity. Since when I was a kid we were still pretty much “fresh off the boat”, braces was not high on the list of our family’s Important Expenses.
I’ve been living vicariously through Trixie’s braces experiences, because everything that’s new to her is new to me, too. You all may not be as surprised by this as me, but: My goodness! getting braces is the same sort of financial venture as purchasing a car. We signed a contract, there was an initial down payment* when the braces were first applied, and we have monthly payments for the next 24 months. And, we’ll be going in every 4-6 weeks for the next two years to have the wires tightened (sort of like the oil changes and tune-ups on your vehicle).
Also, braces has introduced us to a new food group: The Fruit Smoothie. When wires are tightened, your whole mouth hurts. You don’t want to put any sort of pressure on your teeth at all. This means most foods are out of the question. Except things like jello or pudding. There isn’t much nutrition in those choices, so a parent might get a bit nervous and complain, “What’s the use of having straight teeth if it means that you eat more servings of sugary foods and end up with tons of cavities?!”
Aha! If you take some frozen strawberries, some canned pears with their syrup, a cut-up banana, 1/4 block of tofu, a cup of plain yogurt, and some milk, and whirr it all in the blender (which you had been planning to throw out since you never ever used it…), then the entire family can enjoy a delicious protein-rich “meal”. Mmm, mmmm, good.
Orthodontists nowadays allow the kids to choose whatever color bands for the braces that they would like. And since you’re going in every month and a half, your mouth can color-coordinate with the season (pink and red for February; red, white, and blue for July?). I’m looking forward to orange and black for October. Trixie isn’t too keen on the idea yet, but I’m sure I can bring her around.
*Actually, we have haven’t paid for anything yet. Our health plan doesn’t cover orthodontia, but we can open one of those “health savings accounts” with pre-tax dollars. The sign-up period isn’t until April, and we can’t start pulling out money until June. I suggested to the orthodontist that we wait until then to start the braces, but he said he didn’t mind waiting until June to have us pay up what will have been due until then. Nice guy. (Except I don’t really see why orthodontists charge so much money — heck, all he’s done is glue on some hooks, thread through some wire, and extended his hand for payment. I don’t see orthodontia as a fast-moving, ever-changing field like, say, life-saving surgery, so why the big bucks?)