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Author Topic: Wife's braces journey  (Read 38741 times)

Offline MikeB

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Wife's braces journey
« on: 23. February 2017, 01:06:27 AM »
My wife’s getting braces next month, so I thought it might be fun to chronicle the process here. First some background:

My wife is 36 and doesn’t really *need* braces. Her teeth are reasonably straight for someone who never had orthodontic treatment, and she has a nice smile. Her teeth are very healthy, but she does have a crossbite, some overbite and overjet, and some mild crookedness/unevenness, especially in her upper arch. She’s willing to get braces primarily to satisfy my fetish, but also to get a perfect “Hollywood smile” (she admits to being vain).

She’s been doing consultations for a few months now (with a long break for a trip to Virginia to help a cancer-stricken family member). We live in Phoenix, so all her consults have been in the greater Phoenix metro area. She’s very willing to get metal braces, which is my preference for both aesthetics and practical reasons. Metal is also less expensive, though price isn’t a huge consideration since we’ve saved a substantial amount of cash for this and my insurance has an orthodontic benefit.

Practice #1 – Recommended metal braces on upper arch only. This ortho did not realize that she wants to correct her bite along with improving aesthetics. Price was $2700 with treatment time of about a year. She didn’t especially like this practice, finding it a bit “ghetto.”

Practice #2 – This is a small chain that operates in Arizona and Colorado. After some coaching by me, she was aware that she needed to emphasize bite correction in addition to cosmetics. This ortho recommended metal braces top and bottom with elastics. Price was $3300, but with a 20% discount for prepayment. Treatment time was quoted at 18-24 months, which is longer than she really wants to be in braces. She liked this ortho very much, but once again found the practice a bit “ghetto.”

Practice #3 – This ortho recommended metal braces top and bottom with elastics. Price was $4500 and treatment time quoted at about 18 months. She liked this place very much, especially since it has a separate entrance and area for adults and it’s a very nice and modern office. It’s also near my work, so I could attend appointments with her.

Practice #4 – This location is in downtown Phoenix, walking distance from our condo. It definitely caters to adult patients who work downtown. They only have a general dentist, however, not a fully-trained orthodontist. He recommended Fastbraces. Price was $4800 and he could have her finished with treatment in 10-12 months (she liked that part!). But we did some research on Fastbraces and decided it wasn’t a great option for her, since it’s primarily used for cosmetic treatment, and general dentists are certified to use them in weekend seminars.

Practice #5 – This is a very nice practice with three locations in Phoenix. They recommended metal braces top and bottom with elastics. Price was $5800 and treatment time about 18 months. This place odd in that she only saw a treatment coordinator and never the actual orthodontist. She was also deluged with marketing materials, including a couple of books about braces written by the orthodontist. Frankly, the price seemed a little steep in terms of value compared to Practice #3.

That’s where we stand now. She has several more consults scheduled, mainly because we’re making this process fun. She sends me photos and videos after each consult, explaining each one. We’re also documenting the whole process in a YouTube-style video blog.

I’ll update this thread as she continues with the consults.

Offline MikeB

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Re: Wife's braces journey
« Reply #1 on: 23. February 2017, 18:00:12 PM »
Here's an example of one of her treatment summaries:

A comprehensive evaluation of the teeth including bite characteristics, arch discrepancies and tooth positioning was performed. When biting down, the upper molars on the right side are forward of the lower molars. There is spacing (<4mm) in the upper arch. There is adequate space for all the lower teeth. The center of the upper two front teeth corresponds with the center of the face. The center of the lower two teeth is 2mm to the right of the center of the face. A severely excessive vertical overlap of the front teeth exists. The upper front teeth are significantly far ahead of the lower. The upper back teeth are completely outside the lower back teeth on the left side. No additional problems were noted.

The upper jaw appears to be in a good position. The lower jaw appears underdeveloped and set back from ideal. The lips are together at rest. The muscles over the chin appear normal.

I recommend comprehensive orthodontic treatment with full braces to create a more optimal biting relationship. The estimated treatment time is 15-18 months.

She has two more consults today, so I'll report back on those.

Offline MikeB

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Re: Wife's braces journey
« Reply #2 on: 23. February 2017, 23:31:37 PM »
UPDATE!

Practice #6 - Location is in a large suburb east of Phoenix, so it's a bit of a drive, but my wife has family nearby and could visit before or after appointments. My wife liked the staff and the dentist. This one is also not a true ortho, but the wife said she seemed very competent. They recommended Tip Edge metal braces with elastics. Projected treatment time is 18-24 months, but I think the dentist just doesn't want to overpromise and under deliver. Wife didn't like that time frame, but I sure did!

There's a Groupon for this practice for $2800, so the price is good (but using the Groupon prevents us from using our orthodontic insurance benefit). That doesn't include retainers, though, so it's an extra $300 for those when the time comes. Normal price is $4800, which our benefit would knock down to $3800. Obviously smarter to use the Groupon.

Her next consult is in about 30 minutes!

Anyone have knowledge of Tip Edge they can share?  http://anonym.to/?http://tipedge.com/

Offline MikeB

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Re: Wife's braces journey
« Reply #3 on: 24. February 2017, 01:19:53 AM »
UPDATE!

Practice #7 - Location is in a university town just east of Phoenix but an easy drive. It went well. She liked the staff and the (real) ortho. She was visibly relieved in her post-exam video because now she's getting consistent treatment plans, which she wasn't at first. Metal braces top and bottom and elastics, treatment time estimate at 15-18 months. She didn't balk at that at all, even though it's longer than the year she was initially hoping for. No Fastbraces or Tip Edge or anything, just normal traditional braces, which I prefer. Total after insurance would be only $2300 plus a $100 "starter fee" for photos, x-rays, etc. Not bad!


She also uttered words she hasn't before: "This place could be the one."

Offline Embracer

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Re: Wife's braces journey
« Reply #4 on: 24. February 2017, 14:06:36 PM »
I would recommend that your wife uses a proper orthodontist rather than a general dentist who also does some orthodontic work. And I would be nervous of any dentist who has to resort to Groupon.


Offline MikeB

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Re: Wife's braces journey
« Reply #5 on: 24. February 2017, 17:17:21 PM »
I concur, Embracer. We discussed it over dinner last night, and she also prefers an actual ortho to a general dentist and their somewhat gimmicky braces schemes.

Offline MikeB

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Re: Wife's braces journey
« Reply #6 on: 28. February 2017, 00:50:13 AM »
My wife and I had a long talk over a lot of wine Friday night. She seems like she's pretty well settled on Practice #7. She may cancel her two remaining consults this week.

The plan is for her to get her braces put on right after we return from our vacation in Sonoma in mid-March, so it's getting close.

In another interesting development, she actually discussed getting braces with her older sister via video messages. The sister was considering Invisalign, but now it looks like they're going to take the braces plunge together. My wife thinks doing it "together" - even though the sis is in Virginia and we're in Arizona - will make it a little easier for both of them. She showed me the videos of she and her sister talking about doing braces "together." Very cool!

I volunteered to investigate local orthos for the sister, since she has six kids and little free time, and I just sent off a spreadsheet with five well-reviewed practices. I also added some info on Invisalign versus traditional braces, general dentists versus real orthodontists, and links to some other online resources for adults thinking about braces.

We'll see if the sister decides to take the braces plunge along with my wife!

Offline Sparky

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Re: Wife's braces journey
« Reply #7 on: 28. February 2017, 03:09:30 AM »
(oops, wrong thread)

Offline MikeB

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Re: Wife's braces journey
« Reply #8 on: 01. March 2017, 19:48:04 PM »
UPDATE!

It's official: Practice #7 is the one. She cancelled her other consults and will make an appointment at #7 to get her braces put on right after we return from wine country in mid-March.

Funny thing, she now talks about it very casually. For example, we had artichokes with dinner last night and she just offhandedly commented with a chuckle, "Well, I won't be eating artichokes once I get my braces." Total acceptance.

No word back from the sister on the info I sent her yet.

Offline MikeB

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Re: Wife's braces journey
« Reply #9 on: 03. March 2017, 17:26:48 PM »
UPDATE!

I've apparently lighted a fire. Sister sent a video message yesterday thanking me for gathering the info for her and saying she's going to schedule consults right away. She was ALL excited in the video. She also mentioned that her teenage daughter would be getting braces at the same time, and they were excited to be doing it with my wife. Sister said, "So we'll all be bracefaces together!"

Looks like my wife will be going to Virginia for a week in early May, so I'm hoping they'll all be in braces by then.

Offline MikeB

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Re: Wife's braces journey
« Reply #10 on: 04. March 2017, 01:28:58 AM »
UPDATE!

Well, the date is set. She settled on Practice #7 and made an appointment to get her braces on Friday, March 24th. Boom!

Been a very long road to get here. I still won't completely believe it until she has a mouth full of (real) metal.

Offline Jonny 12

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Re: Wife's braces journey
« Reply #11 on: 08. March 2017, 05:45:05 AM »
Hi you're very lucky bet you can't wait,are you going to post any pics when she has them.is she fully aware of your fascination with them.

Offline Thelog

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Re: Wife's braces journey
« Reply #12 on: 08. March 2017, 09:15:52 AM »
Yay, great news! You must be very excited! Be prepared for her aching, ice cream makes a thoughtful present :)

Offline MikeB

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Re: Wife's braces journey
« Reply #13 on: 08. March 2017, 20:24:42 PM »
Thanks! And yes, I'm very excited.

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are you going to post any pics when she has them

Sure. I intend to document everything. I guess I'll need to get an account on a photo hosting site, though.

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is she fully aware of your fascination with them

Very much so. That's by far the main reason she's doing it, and that's what makes her enthusiastic about the whole thing. She's worn fake braces whenever I want for the last five years or so, in public and in private. She'd have never entertained adult braces had it not been for my interest.

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Be prepared for her aching, ice cream makes a thoughtful present :)

Yes. I'm hoping it won't be too bad. I have a list of soft foods for her. We eat low-carb, though, so some things will either be bending the rules or will have to be avoided. There is low-carb ice cream out there, though, and she's already asked for a low-carb cheesecake!

Offline Jonny 12

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Re: Wife's braces journey
« Reply #14 on: 09. March 2017, 19:35:16 PM »
My wife's aware of my love for braces but won't go as far as yours in wearing them,you're very fortunate looking forward to your pics.