Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Tooth Tale Number Two

Tooth Tale Number One

At Sam's last dentist's visit, we were told that he had a cross bite.  This means that of his two top front big teeth, when he bites down, one tooth goes behind is lower teeth and the other goes in front.  Can you picture it?  The dentist said that this really is something that needs immediate attention or it can cause some major problems.  Since we really do trust this dentist, we followed his instruction and scheduled an appointment with an orthodontist.  Before we left the office, I asked him what they do to correct this problem. He said that years ago they would have the child bite on a Popsicle stick, placing the top of the stick behind the tooth that needed to come front.  Holding the other end down toward the chin and biting on the stick put pressure on the uncooperative tooth and pushed it forward.

Easy peasy.  Right?

When we finally got in to see the orthodontist, he had other ideas.  He said that Sam's upper teeth are very crowded (they are) and that since the cross bite does need immediate attention, we needed to consider braces for his upper teeth.  And soon.  Oh, did I mention the cost would be around $3000?  Oh, and did I also mention that this wouldn't be the only time he'd need braces?  This would be a temporary measure to fix the cross bite and free up some space, but several years down the road, he'd need braces again to straighten his teeth.


So, little 'ole me says, "Um...our dentist mentioned a technique where you could bite on a Popsicle tooth to get the tooth to jump (that is what they call it when the tooth finally moves in front of the lower teeth).  Is that something we could try?"

The nice orthodontist smiles at me and humors me by saying, "Sure, we can try that, but it's only successful about 20% of the time.  We'll send you home with some sticks and you can try that first if you like."

Wonderful!  Home we went.  Problem was, I kept forgetting to have Sam use the Popsicle stick for 20 minutes each day as instructed.  When I did remember, he didn't do it for the full 20 minutes.  One night I came home from somewhere and Sam was super excited.  His daddy told him that if he could get his tooth to jump, he would pay him $50.  Jamey was thinking this would be a steal compared to $3000 for braces.  In the back of his mind, I think he also wasn't sure Sam would actually be able to do it.

Sam used that stick with a vengeance- usually while reading before bed.  Only about 4 days later, while we were eating lunch, Sam leaned across the table and made an annoying grin/face at Sadie, exposing his front teeth.  I looked at him and told him to do it again.  I said, "Sam, you're tooth jumped!"  He ran to the bathroom to see and sure enough.  Jamey got a very excited phone message that he had trouble understanding because of all the yelling and giggling.  Once a tooth jumps front, the bottom teeth keep it in place.

A couple days later, Sam was holding his cash, dancing around the house with it.  $50 is A LOT of money for a 7-year old.  Actually, it's A LOT of many to anyone in our house.  He earned it fair and square.  And promptly bought a large castle lego set.  And just as promptly had to turn all the swords and daggers over to me.  I've accumulated quite the arsenal.

Lesson Learned:  Even if it feels silly, ask about alternatives.  It might save you a lot of money.  At least for a little while. Pin It


  1. Yay for you guys! I would agree that the $50 was probably well worth it! : )

  2. WOW. I'm so glad you tried it! $3000? Definitely worth a try, silly or not!

  3. Wow. That sounds painful, but maybe not as painful as forking over $3000.

  4. Sure wish I could have used a stick to bite down on instead of having braces as a kid...I hated them. My parents thought it would be neat to have them on the inside of my teeth so they would not show...horrible.:(

    Good job Sam!

  5. Wow, that is amazing. Can you post a picture of the dentist's face when you show him Sam's tooth?!?! :O (p.s. I've read your blog ever since you did your interview with "Clover Lane"). Thanks for sharing!!!

  6. Great! Glad it worked! How wonderful for your little boy to have his reward...legos are a big deal around here too. :)

  7. HOLY MACAROLY!! (I don't even know how to spell that). What a story! Good for you! And hurrah that your dentist told you about that ol' trick. (Wouldn't it be worth it to everyone to try that first, when it does work 20% of the time, and $3,000 is the alternative?

  8. That is *awesome*! Thank you so much for sharing this! Too often we dismiss the "old wives tales" and tricks for the shiny, new-fangled way. Just goes to show ya... :o)

  9. This was exactly what my husband was told to do. He was never offered a bribe of $50 so he wasn't diligent enough to get it to work. Great thinking on your part.
    Braces do have their place but too often -in my opinion- we ruin a person's individual smile for the sake of having picture perfect teeth.

    Aunt V.

  10. I just took my son to the orthodontist and he also has a cross-bite. He strongly suggested braces and at age 9 before he has lost all his baby teeth. I am opposed. I asked if there was not an alternative. We we are doing the popsicle thing too, 6 times a day for 15 minutes each time. Seems like a lot. I have bought rewards that he has to earn. I really hop it works.


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