Every parent wants their kids to have a beautiful smile, so last Wednesday I took my son to the orthodontist in Aberdeen. It’s a long story, the orthodontic one, so brace yourselves (pardon the pun!).
When my son was 11-yrs-old he could stick his thumb in between his upper and lower teeth when he had his jaws together. That’s how big the gap was. Not that he sucked his thumb, I have never seen him do this. Apparently he was pushing his top-teeth forward with his tongue. His jaw was also very narrow, making the teeth overlap. So when we were living in Australia we were referred to an orthodontist. They put a bar in between his upper molars, which, after widening every day, widened my son’s jaw. It widened his jaw so much that he could also stick his thumb in between his two front teeth. So I had to ring the bell and yes, I could stop the turning of the bar now. After half a year the device was taken out and we happened to moved to the UK.
I immediately organised a dentist to get my son to continue his orthodontic treatment. The answer was no, we had to wait another year. In the mean time all the hard work of widening his jaw was annulled. His front teeth moved back to the midline and are now overlapping again. The next year I pushed to see the orthodontist again, which we were finally allowed. The orthodontist saw him in January, photo’s were taken, prints of his teeth were made and the request for treatment was sent to the NHS in February. ‘It will take about five weeks to get a reply,’ I was told. In May I called the dental clinic to find out what was going on. ‘Oh, the NHS couldn’t make a decision as not enough information was sent and the request had to be sent in again,’ was the response. Not a happy bunny. Shouldn’t every orthodontist who hands in a treatment request know what info they need to send through? As I couldn’t find any information on the web about this Spanish orthodontist, who’s name was not mentioned on the website, nor his work and/or experience, this information was the drop for me to seek better treatment for my son.
I asked for a referral to a proper orthodontic clinic, which the dental clinic happily supplied. This surprised me a bit as they knew we were seeing their once-a-fortnight-visit-orthodontist. So we went to this more professional orthodontic clinic last Wednesday and there I heard that, because we started treatment in a foreign country, the NHS may not pay for my son’s treatment. Also, because my son was seen by another orthodontist already, this clinic may not be able to start treatment. This information was never supplied to me by the dental clinic, nor the orthodontist there. I was also requested to send all information from the Australian treatment to the orthodontic clinic. I had assumed that the dental practice would have done so when they sent the referral request, but they hadn’t. Another drop in the bucket for me not to like my dental practice.
On top of this I was told at the orthodontic clinic that my son’s teeth needed better cleaning and that his treatment (if at all possible) was deferred for another half year to accommodate this. I was furious that this was not picked up by the dentist nor the orthodontist in my dental clinic! By this time my bucket was overflowing big time.
The biggest news was that my kids can no longer have any fizzy drinks, no more carbonated water, no more sugar-free drinks (there’s me, thinking I am a good mother, giving them sugar-free stuff). And of course I have to set the example; no more coke zero for me. That’s the hardest part of parenting…
Photo from Unsplash, taken by Lesly B. Juarez