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Advice please! My son is getting braces.

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tenshi816 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-04-06 09:47 AM
Original message
Advice please! My son is getting braces.
My 14-year old son is getting braces next week. Top teeth only (to correct overlapping front teeth) and he only has to wear the brace for 9 months but you'd think the world is ending.

I know that braces are a big deal to kids and they'd rather not wear them, but my son - who despite being flooded with teenage hormones is, or was, still normally fairly easy to live with - is acting as if life is no longer worth living. He's alternating between yelling (about the braces), slamming doors and (most ominously) making vague threats about experimenting with drugs and alcohol if we insist on the braces.

For information purposes, the reason his teeth need correcting is that his top front teeth overlap and there's a danger some of his others might follow if he doesn't get treatment now.

My argument is that he'll thank us down the road for orthodontic treatment he receives now, but he keeps insisting nothing is wrong with his teeth. He can't see beyond the "9 months of hell" we're insisting on putting him through, nor can he accept that teeth problems only look worse when people get older - because he's 14 and to him anyone over about 25 has one foot in the grave anyway, so why bother with things like orthodontia.

Have any of you been in this situation with your kids? I feel we're doing the right thing because his teeth will look better after treatment, but my son will barely speak to me right now, and when he does he gets so upset that we both end up crying - all over him wearing braces for less than a year. My heart is breaking over this. I hate to see my boy this unhappy over something that will be beneficial to him in the long run.

Any advice?
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skygazer Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-04-06 09:50 AM
Response to Original message
1. Bottom line - you're the parent
Until he's an adult and on his own, it's your decision. Sure, it's nice when he agrees with your decision but if he doesn't, you know it's the right decision.

Braces are a big deal to a kid of 14. He'll survive it. Brazillions of others have.

Quit crying with him - you're enabling him to manipulate you. Try some humor and ignore the acting out. He WILL get over it and the threat about drugs and alcohol is just that - a threat.

Oh, and here's a hug. :hug: I hate it when my kids are mad at me, too.
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tenshi816 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-04-06 10:33 AM
Response to Reply #1
15. Thanks for the hug!
I should be grateful that this is the worst thing we've ever had to go through with him, but damn it's hard!!! I'm already trying to ignore the acting out, but so far humor just makes him angrier. I get your point about the crying though. I hadn't thought about that before.
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ScreamingMeemie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-04-06 09:55 AM
Response to Original message
2. Oh...tenshi, have I been there. My daughter had her braces put on
at age 10, and had them for 5 and a half years...due to an overbite, small mouth, major space problems, not wanting to wear head gear to make it go by faster...etc.

She cried, yelled...said she wouldn't comply with the treatment, hated us, begged us and didn't speak to us intermittently about it. Appointments were a pain...she would cry about how much it hurt all the way home.

They removed the braces a couple of months age...her comment "Oh mommy! Look how pretty my mouth is!!"

Here's before and after...she's the one on the right in the after:



He'll get over it sweetie, after he puts you through hell.
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elehhhhna Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-04-06 09:57 AM
Response to Reply #2
3. she's lovely and those teefus look great!
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ScreamingMeemie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-04-06 10:04 AM
Response to Reply #3
7. Thank you el!
:hi: Those teefus were worth the monthly payments and pain in the butt. :)
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elehhhhna Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-04-06 10:08 AM
Response to Reply #7
9. if you don't mind--how much did it cost? My 12 y/o will need 'em next year
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ScreamingMeemie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-04-06 10:13 AM
Response to Reply #9
12. It was $5200. $700 up front and then we payed $185/month until
it was paid off interest free. Now I feel like I am getting away with something because her appt. don't cost us anything. :)
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elehhhhna Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-04-06 10:33 AM
Response to Reply #12
17. OUCH ouc ouch ouch ouch
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redwitch Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-04-06 10:40 AM
Response to Reply #17
19. My son had them. Cost $3000.
He wore them for maybe 3 years tops. Well worth the money.
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ScreamingMeemie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-04-06 11:39 AM
Response to Reply #17
24. My daughter had to have an insane amount of work done. She actually
had "extra teeth" Extra toothlike growths in her gums, and her mouth is really tiny. This was top end of scale. You will probably have to put from $500-800 down and then they will schedule a monthly payment. It was well worth the work and money.
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Thtwudbeme Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-04-06 10:01 AM
Response to Reply #2
5. Your daughter is gorgeous!!
clearly takes after her mama!
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ScreamingMeemie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-04-06 10:03 AM
Response to Reply #5
6. Thank you so much! :)
We call this the "ghost picture" for she says there is "cleary" an orb over the shoulder of her friend. :D

She's a good kid with a good head on her shoulders. I'm honored to be her mom.
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tenshi816 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-04-06 10:06 AM
Response to Reply #2
8. She looks so pretty!
I think I need to point out to my son that not everyone who needs braces gets off as lightly as he's going to. Five+ years for your daughter, and Nathan is pitching hissyfits over 9 months!

Thanks for giving me something to compare our situation to. We're getting everything from him that you mentioned: "wouldn't comply with the treatment, hated us, begged us and didn't speak to us intermittently about it." We just won't have to go through it nearly as long as you and your daughter did, and that helps me to put it into perspective.
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ScreamingMeemie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-04-06 10:12 AM
Response to Reply #8
11. I will say this too...he'll get over it. They always do.
:hug: But I know how much it sucks.
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bigwillq Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-04-06 10:33 AM
Response to Reply #2
16. Just beautiful!
:hi: :hug:
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Thtwudbeme Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-04-06 10:00 AM
Response to Original message
4. You can't tell a 14 year old how great life is gonna be in 11 years.
What you need to do is find out what's important to HIM, and appeal to those issues:

1. Embarrassment--address the money issue; braces are expensive---appealing to the snobbish side that we all had at 14.

2. Coolness....Does he think cool 17 and 18 year olds have bad teeth??? nope, they don't.

Better be thinking of your driver's lisence photo too---that's coming up.

So, put up with crap for 9 months, and then enjoy being a hot, hip, driver's lisence looking good 16, 17, 18 year old.

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tenshi816 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-04-06 10:28 AM
Response to Reply #4
13. Boy, that's the truth, isn't it?
About not being able to tell a 14 year old how great life is gonna be in 11 years, I mean.

Your suggestions are good - except that we're in the UK. Until last month, braces for 16-and-under were free under the NHS and even now we're going to pay only about 10-15% of what it costs in the States. Having said that, though, many people still don't bother getting their children's teeth straightened if they need it. Nathan is digging in his heels because he doesn't know many kids with braces, even ones with worse teeth than his, so he doesn't see the point. It's not a money status symbol here.

Your point no. 2 - like I said, we live in England. Have you looked at the teeth on any British indie bands lately? My son thinks I'm being a poseur because I'm an American and we're "obsessed with our teeth".

Actually, I believe if we lived in the US, we wouldn't be having this problem, or at least not to the extent we are. British teeth aren't nearly as bad as the cliche would make you believe, but I'm still surprised at how many parents I know who aren't concerned over the state of their kids' mouths when it comes to orthodontia. I'm not saying everyone should run out and get Jessica Simpson teeth for cosmetic reasons; misaligned teeth affect the bite and the jaw and should be taken seriously.

I sure wish I could use the driver's license photo as an inducement to getting the braces Kids here can't even start driving lessons until they're 17!
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MissMillie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-04-06 10:11 AM
Response to Original message
10. remind him what the dentist said about what may happen later on
and ask him if he'd rather wear braces for 9 months when he's 14, or wear them for 2 or 3 years when he's 30.
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seaglass Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-04-06 10:32 AM
Response to Original message
14. My 15yo son just got them off but my experience was the exact
opposite of yours - he insisted that he needed them (not that we objected). Many of my son's friends have had (and have) braces and they WANT them - it's so weird.

I was like your son however, I did not want braces and finally agreed to them only when my parents allowed me to wear eye makeup. Maybe there is something you could do that would make him feel good about himself? I understand his feelings, though braces nowadays are so much more unobtrusive than they were when I wore them.

Are Invisiline braces a possibility?
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tenshi816 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-04-06 10:42 AM
Response to Reply #14
20. He wants an iPod to feel good about himself!
Funny you brought up that idea, because it occurred to me too. The thing is, when he stomped into the living room and said "Well, you know how you're forcing me to get braces?"

Me: Yes?

Him: Well, I think I should be able to have an iPod then.

Me: OK, I think that's fair.

It completely took the wind out of his sails when I said that because he was looking to use it as just something else to show how unfairly he was being treated. When I said "sure, we'll get you an iPod if it will make things easier for you", he had no comeback for that. He's got us pegged as the unreasonable ones in this, and there I was, being reasonable.

BTW, we're in the UK and Invisiline braces cost about 8,000 here (oh, about $14,000 in US dollars - not something we're prepared to pay for!!!). The NHS covers nothing like that.
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redwitch Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-04-06 10:39 AM
Response to Original message
18. He's lucky his parents can afford braces
and he'll only have to wear them for 9 months? He'll get over it. And when he does, he'll have lovely straight teeth. :-)
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radwriter0555 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-04-06 11:00 AM
Response to Original message
21. First off, is it too late to get a supplemental policy that will help pay
for the braces? It may be worth holding off for a couple months to get the supplemental... his teeth aren't going anywhere, but if you can save a few grand, definitely do it. I hope you've not been suckered in by one of those american style cosmetic dentist rackets. Those braces sound VERY expensive. TOO expensive.

Second, stop reacting to his tantrums. Schedule the ipod purchase, have him shop around for the best price, etc. and make it an event. Take him to get the Ipod, with the condition that he can whine about the braces, but you're doing it, you know what's best for him, you're entitled to his respect about this opinion and that's that. Nod, look sorrowful, say you're sorry once... sympathize by all means, and just be matter of fact about it. Then change the subject. If the slamming doors etc continues tell him him that is not acceptable behavior from a young man and that he is no longer allowed to do it. Temper tantrums really aren't acceptable from anyone over the age of 2.

Also, buy him an itunes account, like $20 month, if you don't do the downloading from bearshare.com etc.

GOOD LUCK!

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Arugula Latte Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-04-06 11:33 AM
Response to Reply #21
23. I would say that maybe he gets the iPod when the braces go on.
He can pick up his iPod after the appointment when they actually cement those suckers to his teeth -- otherwise, the "leverage" is gone.
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tenshi816 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-04-06 11:53 AM
Response to Reply #21
25. Whoa, I don't think you read everything!
He's not getting the Invisalign braces!!! No way would we pay the UK prices on them. He's getting the same "regular" braces kids have worn for years, although to hear him you'd think we're purchasing some extra-ugly, extra-painful ones just to torture him with.

Interesting what you said about respecting his opinion (while sticking to ours). I agree. We've tried that, saying that while we respect his opinion (which is that we're "really wrong"), in this instance we're overruling it and doing what we believe is best for him in the long run, and we're sticking to it. He's having a hard time dealing with that because although he's a good kid and we've never had to really take a hard line with him about anything before in his entire life, in this instance I think he's expecting us to cave in. We're not.

iTunes account - good idea.
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tenshi816 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-04-06 11:57 AM
Response to Reply #21
26. radwriter, just noticed (completely OT)
that you live in France. I'm in the UK - do you ever get over this way? I'd love to arrange a DU ex-pat meet-up!
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radwriter0555 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-04-06 01:43 PM
Response to Reply #26
30. I expect to be in London in July for sure... and you never know when a
wild hair will hit me and I'll grab an easyjet!

And if you want a lovely beach holiday here on the riviera I have the very serious hookups for just about everything...

I'm also thinking of letting out my apartment for odd weeks over the summer. I plan to be in London then in Venice and Como and who knows where else.

We should definitely hook up!
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AngryAmish Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-04-06 11:16 AM
Response to Original message
22. He is 14 - he doesn't get a vote
Edited on Thu May-04-06 11:17 AM by AngryAmish
I had braces for 4 years. I had 4 teeth pulled, teeth shaved, headgear (couldn't sleep so I didn't wear it), rubber bands, etc. (I still have a permanent retainer for my bottom teeth.) It sucked. If I had a vote I would have rejected it.

Things are gonna suck for him for a while (bleeding like crazy every time you get in a fight, headaches). But in the end things will be OK.

Plus if you back down now he will walk over you more in the future. Hold firm, dear girl.
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Midlodemocrat Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-04-06 11:59 AM
Response to Original message
27. My son got his upper braces on this morning.
Seems okay so far. *fingers crossed*
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coffeenap Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-04-06 01:06 PM
Response to Original message
28. Here's an inside secret: Braces can be done by a regular dentist
but they are not allowed to call themselves orthodontists. If they choose, they can be completely trained and are quite competent. They usually do not take extremely complicated cases. The cases they do accept are usually done for less money. Just fyi, everyone. And, of course, get a friend's recommendation and be sure to check the Dr.'s training. :hi:
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tenshi816 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-04-06 01:25 PM
Response to Reply #28
29. True, our dentist is doing my son's braces. n/t
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coffeenap Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-04-06 01:44 PM
Response to Original message
31. Is he concerned about his "image"? If so, maybe find pics of
people he admires-- like if he is emo, other emos, if he is a musician, other musicians--with braces. Everyone gets them these days, all ages, all cultures in the US. Maybe that would help? Best wishes.
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