Thursday, September 16, 2010

A Tale of Two Orthodontists

I managed to get Youngest in to see a second Orthodonist this week. I fully expected it to be a redundant waste of time but I couldn't just accept the first one's plan of action involving many $$ and two phases of braces without at least hearing another informed opinion. Here's a breakdown of our two experiences:

Orthodontist A:

As recommended by the regular dentist. When we arrived at our appt. we were amazed by the luxurious appearance of the office: granite walls, splashy art, video game terminals and...wait for it..a freakin' fountain! Everyone was polite, well healed and friendly. We were ushered into a little exam room after filling out the routine "new patient" forms and met the Orthodonist. He seemed a bit young and "fresh" out of university but looks can be deceiving. He spent approx. 6 or 7 minutes looking in Youngest's mouth without really saying a whole lot to her. He pointed out a few things to me that I had not noticed before and then pronounced that an immediate course of braces (the infamous "phase 1") so that she would not have to have a bunch of teeth pulled out to make room. He spoke a bit of professional code to his assistant, shook my hand and left the room. The assistant, a middle-aged "salesman" type woman, typed a bunch of stuff in her computer, printed it out and then told me about the cost and their payment options. She made it clear that "phase 2" (in a couple of years) would cost just as much as "phase 1" and was unavoidable. She then escorted us to the reception (I was somewhat stunned at this point) to make a series of appointments to start the work. I was reeling when we left and upset at myself for not asking more questions about the procedures. I felt scared and rushed to make decisions right away. Its also interesting to note that Youngest was pretty much completely ignored by everyone except when they were looking at her teeth.

Orthodontist B:

We picked this one out of the phonebook because they are geographically closest to us. The office was clean and neat but not nearly so luxurious as the first one. There was only a receptionist, an assistant, and the doctor in evidence. There were many degrees and awards on the walls and brochures telling you all about the Orthodontist himself. There were also pictures of his family, with three kids similar in age to mine. We filled out the new patient forms and were escorted into the exam area which is a huge open space with a wall of floor to ceiling windows. The doctor was very friendly to Youngest and made her laugh a lot. He fully examined her mouth, took a full series of photos and even did x-rays. He talked to me about different options available and what was involved with each. At no point did he suggest braces but rather went with the palate expander route. He recommended that we remove one baby tooth to make it easier to re-align her bite (the other Ortho never mentioned that her bite was off center on the bottom), fit her with the expanders and then use a retainer after that. He even suggested that we may be able to avoid braces entirely if we can move things around in her mouth enough! When I asked about cost he wrote a bunch of notes, walked with us back to the reception area and stayed while the quote was typed up. Final verdict: half the $$ compared with the other guys. We chatted a bit more with him and the receptionist (who is also an assistant) before we finally left. We ended up being there almost an hour, during which we learned a lot about orthodontic procedures, Orthodontists who overcharge to finance fancy offices, and that this doctor's kids go to the same school as mine do, lol. I asked Youngest on the way out how she felt and she said to me: "Oh mommy..this was so much better! I love this place so much more than the other one".

Guess which place we ended up booking with.


  1. My son's teeth were flaring because the bottom ones were larger than the top teeth, therefore no room. We decided to wait a bit before going the orthodontist route and his jaw *grew* to accommodate the teeth. He is 40 now and everyone remarks at his straight teeth and perfect smile.

  2. Indeed, dental services are far more important than just the interiors of a dentist office. Looks can really be deceiving and truly that these offices overcharged because of their beautiful office. My dentists in Aiken, SC are trusted and reputable in giving the dental services we all need. Their office is simple and yet, their services are totally extravagant. That's what counts most for me.