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.