Oral surgery and braces or wait-and-see?
December 5, 2013 11:09 AM Subscribe
I need help deciding whether to opt for oral surgery and braces for my child, or to take a wait-and-see approach.
posted by Big Chief Little Pants to Health & Fitness (19 answers total)
I recently took my son (11 years old) to the orthodontist for an evaluation to see if he would continue to need braces. He had his first set of braces when he was almost 9 years old, from the same orthodontist. Those braces were taken off, and he's been wearing a permanent retainer for maybe a year or so.
At the conclusion of the evaluation, the orthodontist showed me the x-ray, which revealed my son has moderate crowding in the upper and lower arches, teeth #6 and #11 are impacted, and teeth #C and #H are over-retained. The orthodontist says he would require oral surgery and a new set of braces. After their discount, dental insurance, and my FSA, this entire process would cost about $2200 out-of-pocket.
My wife wants to take a wait-and-see approach. Her thoughts are if he's not in pain, then everything is okay until that point. She doesn't want to put him through an unnecessary surgery, and feels like the money is not an insignificant amount. She is not against getting a second opinion, but I have to arrange it.
I feel like we're already invested in his dental care from the first round of braces, so why stop now? I also don't want the money in the FSA to go to waste (It's too much to spend in a month's time, because the amount was budgeted for braces.) We both also wonder if the orthodontist's first round of treatments contributed to the overcrowding, impacting, need for surgery, etc. and if he should be on the hook for more of this.
This decision has to be made rather quickly, as I'll lose the FSA funds if this isn't scheduled by December 31st.
My questions are:
1. Is surgery absolutely necessary in a case like this? Will his health be affected if he doesn't have the oral surgery?
2. Is there any way to determine the orthodontist's role (if any) in my son's current situation?
Any insights would be appreciated. Yes, you are not an/my oral surgeon, dentist, or orthodontist.