Cheap Braces Scam
I’m afraid my 16-year-old daughter ruined her teeth. Somehow, she signed up for one of those cheap braces programs using an app on her phone and they didn’t even verify she was an adult before sending her some. I guess she’s been hiding them from me for months; wearing them at school and at night after she goes to her room. I only caught it now because she’s had to start homeschooling and I walked in and caught her wearing them. I had her stop wearing them immediately. She never once met with a dentist for this. I’m certain a real dentist wouldn’t have treated a child if the company had cared enough to employ one. That’s obviously a whole different ballgame and I intend to deal with them too, but my first concern is for my daughter.
I feel bad because we talked about orthodontics before, but braces just weren’t in the budget because I’m a single parent. I know that’s why she did this. Her heart was in the right place. She was trying to make life easier for me, but at the same time, she didn’t get that some things you really can’t skimp on. Could these things have caused permanent damage? How do I go about finding out? To be honest, I’m too embarrassed to take her to our family dentist to have her checked out. I feel like a terrible parent. I have no idea how I missed something this big for so long and I really don’t want them to know. If I need to take her in, I will. I’m just hoping there’s some way to tell at home.
Appreciate the help,
Such a tough spot to be in! Hang in there, mama. There’s a silver lining here.
The Cheap Braces Probably Didn’t Cause Permanent Damage
There’s always some risk with any kind of orthodontic treatment. Dentists, particularly when aligners are used, are quite meticulous about mapping out care and making sure that teeth are moved safely, but even then, there’s always some risk that teeth might experience trauma or become damaged in the process. It’s one of the reasons why visits are so frequent during formal treatment. Once you remove the dentist and checkups from the equation, it’s a guessing game. If your daughter isn’t experiencing any issues—no pain or sensitivity, no loose teeth, etc., then she’s probably going to be ok. That doesn’t put her totally out of the woods though. She may have moved her teeth out of alignment, in which case the constant biting force, teeth coming down on teeth incorrectly, could actually cause her teeth to break or damage the nerves. Unfortunately, you can’t rely on pain alone to tell you if this is happening. Pain means there’s already a problem. You’re going to have to take her in to get this checked. The sooner, the better.
You’re Not Alone
Kids are doing all sorts of crazy things these days. There are even YouTube videos about using rubber bands to do home orthodontics. For the record, this is a terrible idea! It can also cause permanent damage. The problem is, kids don’t usually realize how dangerous what they’re doing is and when something goes mainstream, it all too often makes it seem normal when it’s not. But rest assured, what you’re experiencing is impacting lots of families. It does not make you a bad parent. Moreover, the fact that you’re reaching out for help after and being so sympathetic to your daughter’s motivations shows what a considerate and mindful parent you are.
You Can Get Affordable Braces from a Dentist
Here’s the silver lining: this experience gave you the opportunity to learn that you can get affordable braces from a dentist. If your current office didn’t go over options with you, find someone who will. You can find someone with fair rates to start with and many providers will offer payment plans or financing to help treatment fit into your budget too. Best of luck to you and your daughter.
This blog is sponsored by the Garfield Heights Dentists at Angel Dental Care.