Friday, October 28, 2005

Smile Pretty

Do you ever wonder how good the union plan dentists are? I’ve had some very good ones. But you have to be careful.

I took my 9-year-old daughter to an orthodontist who came highly recommended. He accepted UFT insurance, and his staff talked him up as though he were a god. The orthodontist told me my daughter would have to wear this awful night-brace appliance 18 hours a day for two years—in the night when she slept, and whenever she was at home.

I told the doctor she was very physically active, and that I could not imagine her wearing this bizarre implement for so long. The doctor told me the alternative was removal of four of her adult teeth, and braces in any case. He said it was better he worked with the kids early so he could be their “buddy.” He also informed me this treatment would cost $3,000 more than the plan would pay, and gave me a coupon book to pay over three or four years.

It pained me to see her wearing that thing.

A few days later, I told one of my colleagues, and he told me he had brought his daughter to the same doctor, with the same prognosis. He then took her to two non-plan orthodontists, who said the night-brace was unnecessary. Shortly thereafter, they told me the same thing. One said he hadn’t used such a device in twenty-five years. The other told me such incidences were a problem with insurance-driven practices. They both agreed she had a moderate problem that would require braces within a few years.

And both charged less than the UFT-plan orthodontist.

Orthodontists who prescribe kids night-braces belong in prison, right along the guys who record Mozart with disco dance tracks.
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