Dentist Really Pushing Orthodontist Appt

Updated on February 24, 2019
M.B. asks from New York, NY
27 answers

My ten year old goes to a dentist that we really liked. The last two visits, however, they're really pushing us to make an appointment with an orthodontist. I've had braces as a kid, and they were fine, I guess, but I don't want them for my child. Her teeth are healthy and there's one little tooth that's a little crooked. Her bite is perfect, and she's beautiful as she is. The first time the dentist suggested it, he directly told my child that she would be beautiful with straight teeth. I wasn't there, and they pushed my hubby to make an appt with their orthodontist. I cancelled the appt at the next visit and said I didn't want her to get braces. this time my husband again took her without me, and was again pushed into making an appointment - now they had three "reasons" for her to "maybe need, but, you know I'm not an orthodontist." When I cancelled the appointment previously, the office manager was not pleased, and showed her displeasure. I am REALLY close to pulling her from this practice if they continue to push this issue. No, I'm not a professional, but I also know that the only reason to have braces, in my view, is to correct a troublesome bite (which I had as I bit into the roof of my mouth). My child is beautiful, and has character, and to make her feel "less than" really irritates me! What should I do?

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answers from Indianapolis on

Before getting upset and saying the dentist is wrong go to the ortho appointment and see what they have to say. If you don't agree then don't get braces but at least hear why they think she needs them. There may be more going on then you think.

8 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

I often wonder why everyone has braces now. When I was growing up the only kids that had them were the ones with big problems. Today it’s fine in stages starting at 8. Crazy. I don’t agree with that at all too many friends in the field who agree. Just $$$$.

I would go to orthodontist. Hear him out and then make an informed decision.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Boca Raton on

The Orthodontist won't tell you, but a good dentist will, as mine told me: NEVER have braces before ALL teeth are in, especially wisdom teeth. I suffered with braces and then my wisdom teeth erupted. Ruined the orthodontia. Braces left my teeth scarred. And crooked. Braces are different nowadays, but very important to refuse until all teeth are in.

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answers from Houston on

What should you do? You go to the darn consult that is what you do. You don't have a clue if your child needs braces or not. I had braces and I'm so glad I did. I didn't get my kids braces because at the time they didn't need them but we didn't get the wisdom teeth out in time for my daughter and now she has a problem. I could kick myself for not addressing that sooner.

Can't she have character and straight teeth?

11 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

Are you a dentist? Orthodontist? Dr.? Do you know EVERYTHING about your child's mouth?

Why on earth would you NOT do something such as a simple ortho appointment to get a baseline evaluation info for your child's mouth? This is your child's health you are talking about, geesh.

So YOU do not want your child in braces. I know braces are not fun but geesh, if my Dr suggested something I would at least follow though with an appointment for evaluation.

Your opinion is your opinion as far as what you think your child needs but what if there is a need? Are you just going to say no and let your child go without proper dental care because you don't want to do it? There is a good chance your child won't need braces as well.

I don't see the big deal with getting an evaluation from an orthodontist. I would do anything and everything to ensure my child's good health, especially preventative care.

11 moms found this helpful


answers from Abilene on

I will tell you the short version of my experience. We had my daughter evaluated at the recommendation of their pediatric dentist. I knew it would be a very short evaluation because her teeth looked great, very little wrong that I could see. My son had teeth like me, large overbite, gap between front teeth etc., so I just knew he was going to be the more extensive case.

Reality - my daughter had a cross bite (which wasn’t visible to me). She also had a tooth imbedded in the upper palate of her mouth (adult eye tooth). The orthodontist found those. She had to have a CT scan to properly locate the tooth. She had two surgeries, to slowly bring that eye tooth in place. She also had to do a palate expander to correct the crossbite. In short, problems were present that if we hadn’t gone to the orthodontist would’ve been a lot bigger issue later in her life. The pediatric dentist recommended the orthodontist we used because he was skilled with difficult cases. The oral surgeon said her chances of bringing that tooth down successfully without the tooth dying was about 50/50. I think the skill of that orthodontist played a huge roll in her success.

My son, the one I KNEW was going to be a harder case, wore braces for a fraction of the time and had no other issues. So he had the most visibly mess of teeth, but in the end had the least amount of work done.

So, my advice is get an evaluation. If you don’t want to use the orthodontist that they recommend - see another. Most of the time the first evaluation is free. You can get more than one opinion. Ask questions and decide based on good information if she needs further work.

The orthodontist saw my son for about 2 years before he did any work. He had him come in every 6 months to check on his teeth and was very conservative. It gave my son confidence to know we were addressing his teeth, but when the doctor thought it was time.

Please don’t blow your dentist off. He may see something that’s a potential problem. You can always decide against braces once you determine it is only cosmetic in nature.

10 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on


You really need to go to the orthodontist and LISTEN to what they want to do with your daughter's mouth.

If she has a cross-bite? You won't be able to truly see it if you're not a dentist or orthodontist. that "ONE LITTLE TOOTH"? it may be affecting the rest of her mouth and jaw line and future jaw development.

And NO, you are ABSOLUTELY WRONG about the "only reason" to have braces. It's not just about a "troublesome bite". Fixing crocked teeth and making them straight isn't just cosmetic. It can effect speech and more.

That crooked tooth could be hard to clean and cause cavities because it's not straight. there is MORE to this than you believing your daughter is "beautiful the way she is" - did you know that poor oral health can lead to poor PHYSICAL health?? Yeah - the bacteria that gets stuck in that "one little tooth" could be the thing that ruins your daughters heart. Yeah - it's a long shot - but poor oral health can be a symptom of more poor health in general.

9 moms found this helpful


answers from San Antonio on

A really good orthodontist is going to tell you if you need major work, cosmetic work, or no work at all.

I couldn't tell by looking my daughter had a tooth that was going to come in through the roof of her mouth, and the rest of her mouth would have made a shark mama happy with three rows in a few places. The panoramic x-ray showed it. We fixed her palate and moved a few teeth around and she has a gorgeous smile.

My son got the free consult and the ortho said, "I can do nothing for you, son." He has no issues not even cosmetic that could use improvement.

My daughter would have had to have her jaw broken when she was in her early 20s to fix something I couldn't see if I had waited until she was 12 or 13 to get it checked.

Get a few free consults and see if there is something or nothing. I only needed cosmetic work and chose not to get it done. I knew my parents couldn't afford braces...but my mom got my teeth checked to make sure there wasn't a medical issue. I mean it can't hurt her to get it checked out...a couple of x-rays is nothing compared to major dental issues.

9 moms found this helpful


answers from Tampa on

My kids DDS recommended to see an orthodontist. Why on earth would I not? They are a professional and may see/know something you do not. Plus sounds like you are adding your bad experience onto your child and depriving her of a specialists oppinion.
No reputable dr will tell you need work when you don’t. I honestly don’t get how this is even up for a discussion.

9 moms found this helpful


answers from Atlanta on

I myself didn't have braces as a teen because the evaluation said it would be for cosmetic purposes, so my parents and I saw no reason to go through all that trouble. Our older child did have two phases of orthodontist work because he had a really bad overbite and buck teeth which would have been at risk if he ever fell on his face. Our young child could have work done, however it basically seems to be cosmetic, so we are not doing it (much to her chagrin... she WANTS braces because all her friends have them. Go figure!).

Orthodontry work starts a lot earlier than when we were young, and it therefore makes sense to have an evaluation done by an orthodontist when the kid is 10 years old. The dentist can't evaluate, and frankly, you as a parent can't evaluate just by looking either. There are reasons besides a 'troublesome bite,' namely how the teeth will grow in and the size of the mouth. Even different, fully qualified, perfectly honest orthodontists can come up with different recommendations. An evaluation is not a commitment to have any kind of work done. It also isn't a message to your daughter that she isn't 'beautiful' unless you are loudly anti-braces and anti-consultation--as you seem to have been, unfortunately. A consultation is to get information about the options. You also can get a couple evaluations from different practitioners, and it would be wise to do so if the dentist's office also has an orthodontic practice to which they are pushing you (not kosher, in my view). Why not get two or three consultations? You can always decide not to have the work done. That's what my husband and I decided.

9 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

why not have this exact conversation with your dentist and his office manager?

if you haven't explained your unprofessional view to them, how are they supposed to know?

or you could go to the ortho appointment and see if there are reasons beyond the 'character' tooth.

it doesn't actually sound as if you've talked this through with a dentist you say you like.

why not?

ETA my younger son's teeth looked perfect, but x-rays showed an adult front tooth growing in completely sideways. he had to have surgery to attach a chain to the little bugger and slowly pull it straight AND needed braces to make sure the ones around it didn't go wonky. i'm glad i didn't rely on my own observations.


8 moms found this helpful


answers from Boston on

You get the consult, which is totally normal in any dental practice. You're not a dentist, you're not an ortho, and you have no idea whether or not there is anything that may need ortho treatment now or down the road. If your pediatrician recommended that your child see a specialist to be screened for something, would you say no?

A consult should be free. See what they say. If they think there is something that might benefit from correction, then get a second opinion somewhere else, see what they say, and proceed from there.

If you don't trust your dentist, find a new one. But they don't seem to be the unreasonable ones here.

8 moms found this helpful


answers from Philadelphia on

I know 2 parents like you. Both say their child’s teeth are straight enough and although their kid’s teeth aren’t horrible, I personally think they look neglected. Having straight teeth is not only important for a bunch of health reasons it’s also aesthetically pleasing IMO. Having a crooked tooth and saying it “adds character” sounds like cheapness to me.

I also can not imagine not getting advice from a professional. What do you have to lose? oldest didn’t NEED braces either (her orthodontist confirmed her braces were purely for cosmetic reasons) but we wanted her teeth to be the best they could be so we got them for her.

8 moms found this helpful


answers from Pittsburgh on

I would take her to at least 2 orthodontists and have her evaluated by them. Evals are usually free. Then, really listen to what they say. If it's truly minor cosmetic stuff, a good orthodontist will tell you that and you can say no. But if she has some other issue (her teeth look perfect now, but there isn't enough space for them all to come in or she has a bite issue that you aren't seeing), then you'll know that and you may change your stance. I say go, get multiple opinions, and then decide. Deciding before hearing what they have to say doesn't make sense to me.

7 moms found this helpful


answers from Springfield on

I do understand your concerns. We hear so many stories of dentists/orthodontists pushing for work to be done that's really just cosmetic. I left a dentist that was more concerned with whitening my teeth and putting me back in braces (at the age of 33) than he was in fixing the tooth that lost a filling!

I think you need to sit down and talk to your dentist and ask him why he things this is necessary. What is the benefit to putting her in braces? If it's purely cosmetic, let him know in no uncertain terms that you are not interested and that you would appreciate no further mention of the issue. But hear him out. He may have a medical concern that you are not aware of.

If a consultation with the orthodontist is not ridiculously expensive (and I would find out exactly what the cost would be), you might consider it ... just to listen to what they have to say. Orthodontics is a specialty, and the orthodontist will know more and be able to answer your questions better than the dentist. Do any of your friends go to this orthodontist? Are they happy? That's worth considering, as well.

My 10 year old has an under-bit and needs his palate expanded (Did I say that right?). My sister and that done as an adult, and it was super painful and really big ordeal. But she was experiencing a lot of jaw and joint pain, so it was worth it. The orthodontist told us that if we do this now, it will be so much easier on our son, as his palate is still made of soft tissue. He won't go through near the pain or trouble my sister did. So for this child, it's totally worth it. My 12 year old MIGHT need braces, but our dentist is encouraging us to wait and see. A couple of years ago he said probably. Now he's saying possibly. He said we should know in a year

I'm just saying, it might be worth listening to what they have to say. You might still decide that this is absolutely not what you want, but I think it's worth a listen. If you decide no and your dentist mentions it again, I'd find another dentist.

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Norfolk on

A lot has changed between what we had for braces and what they are like now.
For one thing they have expanders now which means they start earlier than they use to but because they can make enough room in the jaws for adult teeth to fit - it greatly reduces the amount of time needed for braces.
They have to do this early while the jaws are growing and the soft palette hasn't hardened yet.
Wait till later and the bones are done growing and you have a much harder time making enough room.

When I had braces expanders hadn't been invented yet.
My teeth were very crooked - I started braces in 5th grade and had them for 7 years.
To make things fit I had to have 8 adult teeth pulled and then everything was moved around to make it fit.
It was miserable and painful.
But my teeth are in great shape and they are lasting me hopefully for my whole life.

When our son had his first panoramic xray his mouth looked like a traffic jam.
He had all these adult teeth that didn't have room to emerge.
So he spent some time with expanders, and then only had braces for 2 years.
He was finished by the end of 6th grade (I was finished just before my senior year).
He did have his wisdom teeth out before starting college but his teeth are straight, easy to keep clean and he's never had a cavity.

Teeth are something you need to get right when they are young.
She's 10 now but you want her to have a healthy mouth into her 90's long after you are gone.
Nice looking baby teeth does not always translate to nice looking adult teeth without some help.
I think your dentist and husband are right and you should really think hard about why you are so against braces.
You are not doing what's best your daughter by insisting 'no braces'.
There are many reasons for braces besides adjusting a troublesome bite.

Make an appointment for a free consultation with several different orthodontists and see what they say.

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Boston on

I think you have a big problem, which is that you and your husband are not on the same page about medical and dental care!

Maybe you are right, and your child doesn't need braces. Maybe you are wrong, and there's more going on up inside her mouth than the teeth you can see.

Maybe you are right, that the dentist emphasized your child's future beauty for superficial reasons. Maybe you are wrong, that the dentist just said that as a way to make her not hate the idea of braces when you are opposed. I don't know.

Maybe they are drumming up business and were unprofessional when you canceled. Then again, maybe the office manager was annoyed at the indecision, the late notice for the cancellation, or the tone of voice you used when you spoke to her.

I never heard of any responsible parent not wanting to get more info. So I can't imagine any reason for not getting the consultation and the opinion. I'd feel free to get a second one too.

What I would not do is try to make the decision based on inexperience, and I would not have one parent going behind the other's back and show the child that parents don't respect each other. That's just not going to work out well. This sounds like an immature relationship, actually, because you don't agree with each other. You make decisions without information (you can't see a broken rib or a strep throat either - so do you decide the doctor is wrong who says that's what's going on?), and he goes around you (which sounds like one or both of you have a communication problem). How you would ever find a dentist or orthodontist you both respect is beyond me. If your daughter has a serious issue, whether it's with teeth or something else, that's going to be a huge problem.

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Louisville on

I’m not sure why you are so hell bent on not taking her. Obviously the dentist sees a reason that she needs to go. I also thought my daughters teeth were fine but she has a cross bite which causes her jaw to not sit the way it should. You are not a professional, go to the consult and see what they have to say.

6 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

All of the orthodontist options we have in our town offer free consultations. We took advantage of this and had our son evaluated by more than one. (At 8 with several baby teeth left the first one stated he wanted to start right away and pull teeth and start moving things. The second said no work will be done till all adult teeth emerge in their own and no pulling) since he is missing many adult teeth we will never return to the tooth pulled guy.
My recommendation is get the evaluations, free consultations, a second opinion from a different dentist. Before deciding on what to do.

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Seattle on

taking kids to the orthodontist is usually free. Might as well take her and get her checked to make sure they there isn't something there that you are not seeing.
If she doesn't need them, she doesn't need them.

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Portland on

You don't mention what the three reasons are.

So it's hard to say if they are legit or not - from a parent's perspective.

Here's my thoughts.

1 - if it's the same practice, it's possible the dentist tries to drum up business for the orthodontist. Not unheard of.
2 - I hate the idea that the dentist would suggest your daughter have braces to make her look 'beautiful'. Hopefully he didn't actually use those words.
3 - Cosmetic reasons for having braces are not that uncommon. My son is having braces for that exact reason. The thing is, often it will correct the bite AND look better. So while my son does not NEED braces - as in, he could eat/talk/get by without braces and his bite would be OK without them (he has some overcrowding on top), having braces will greatly improve his smile and will make his teeth be spaced more evenly.
So your dentist may have a point is what I'm trying to say.

Our dentist had the opposite approach to your dentist. I really like my dentist for this reason. He never suggests anything - including braces - if they are absolutely not necessary. So he did not suggest braces to us. He did recommended a good orthodontist for us for an opinion though.

I would get two opinions if I were you. Usually consults are free or not that much money - and see what they say. If it is truly cosmetic and you can put this off - then you know.

My son was a later teen when he got his. By then, we saw what his teeth were really going to look like. Up until then, we were going to leave it, but his teeth became overcrowded to the point where he was no longer smiling. I knew by the time he had a school photo done and he would not smile - I thought, ok it's time for braces.

So - you can leave it for a while and get the opinions - or do it now, and wait ... and see how her teeth grow. I would not get braces at 10 (unless there's a reason for it). Personally, it sounds like you're being pressured, and I never think that's a good reason to get work done.

Good luck :)

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Atlanta on

Girl, chill out. Really.

GO TO THE ORTHODONTIST and listen to what they have to say. LOOK AT THE XRAYS!! Her teeth might be bigger than you know.

You admit you're not a professional. So you might be wrong about the only reason to have braces. Straight teeth means easier cleaning. Clean mouth means clean body. All the bacteria that sits in our mouths? Yeah, it gets swallowed. You can't see it. But it's there. You don't know what's lurking behind that one little crooked tooth.

You're taking this "beauty" thing all wrong, in my opinion. This isn't cosmetic. This is about HEALTH, not just oral health, but overall health. Instead of being insistent upon NOT listening? Pull your head out of your rear end and listen to the professionals. Look at the XRAYS. Get a second opinion if you don't like or believe what the first one says. Don't dismiss them because you feel your daughter is beautiful just the way she is.

You and your husband need to be on the same page when it comes to health issues. You sound like you're not even close to being in the same chapter.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Portland on

Why would seeing an orthodontist make her feel "less than?" He or she is dentist with special training. Seeing him/her is to gather information.

If she has chronic pain in her leg, you wouldn't take her to an orthopedic doctor even tho your family doctor referred her to him?

Have you considered that the orthodontist may also agree with you? He will give you information only. You still make the decision. Do you like the conflict you're creating by being angry and unwilling to get more information?

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

I agree that they know a lot more about how to use braces to fix tooth and jaw issues than when we were kids and it's possible that the reasons are more than just straight teeth. I really do think you need to listen to the professionals in this area because just having braces doesn't make you one. In general I feel that if your dentist recommends an orthodontist, you should at least have a consultation or 3. Consults are free so you don't need to worry about that piece. I usually think getting 3 opinions is best so you can compare.

That being said, if your dentist is making you feel uncomfortable then it's time to move on. Could your dentist be recommending this ortho to drum up business...plausible, but the weird shade by the receptionist and the beautiful comments sound weird to me.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

Of course they are pushing - they want your money! You dont need braces in order to have healthy teeth. Don't get pushed into something you don't need! No - doctors/dentists don't know whats best - they only do what they are told in school - and that is usually all driven to produce more profit for the medical industry - and of course the dentists have those huge student loans to pay... You are the mom- and you know what's best for your child. I would pull them from this practice..

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Santa Fe on

Honestly, I agree with you...they really push orthodontia these days with kids younger and younger. Because of moving to another state for 3 years we waited till we got back to get our son in to the orthodontist even though they were recommending he go at age 10 he finally got braces on at age 14. His teeth look great now...he did not need to go that young and get 2 sets of braces like they seem to do now with kids. I think with many kids this is just a way to make more money. I do advise that you go see what the orthodontist has to say (the first appointment is free). Tell him your thoughts and ask questions. To me, one little crooked tooth is charming and not a big deal. If your dentist won't quit badgering you then yes switch to a new one. I find it really strange that your dentist's office manager would be pissed. I would want to go somewhere else if my dentist treated me like that.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from San Diego on

Don’t be stupid. Your kids are cash cows.
Use common sense, kids mouths grow....especially at 10...don’t do braces until after 16 to ensure mouth is fully formed.

Parents waste thousands of dollars on unnecessary orthodontics not to mention putting kids through the torture.

It also changes facial features and speech.
Wait until jaw and teeth are fully formed then decided.

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