The dentist had such a rah-rah attitude about Savannah’s dental problems I thought she was going to break into a cheer. “Go teeth!”
“Her mouth is structured so she only uses the back two teeth when she chews,” Dr. Linder said, jabbing her gloves into Savannah’s mouth to point out how her teeth weren’t aligned.
Perched on a stool in the corner, I started to feel woozy as I mentally calculated all the dental work Dr. Linder described necessary to get Savannah properly chewing and smiling. I prayed I wouldn’t get sick in her chic downtown office where French rock music played and the walls were scribbled with patient names like Joshua and Annabel.
Age-wise I’d put Dr. Linder 30, 34 tops. She had a mane of long auburn hair that she flipped over her shoulder while examining teeth and the habit of couching every problem with a smile and “no biggie.” Clearly, my misfortune was her gain.
“The cavity in the back is the least of my problems,” she said with a wave of the hand. “She also has an extra tooth, maybe two, that need to be extracted.”
“And the sooner we start braces, the better. That’s a myth to wait until all the teeth are in.”
Finally I stopped her. “How much are we talking for the braces?”
“Oh, $5,000-$6,000,” she said nonchantly. “We’ll see how much your insurance pays. But typically, they’ll pay $1,500.”
She was a master of spin and knew that it’s not what you say, but how you say it. Filings, crowns, root canals were all delivered with the same bubbly, can-do attitude.
Shouldn’t someone have warned me?
While pregnant, I tore through countless parenting books, hoping to absorb the wisdom of the so-called experts. I also picked the brains of every friend who had been-there-done-that, but not a single one of them told me the God’s honest truth. That parenting is guaranteed to drain the most robust bank account.
I wondered why CNN or “60 Minutes” hasn’t jumped on this story, showed the world financial statements of parents with grown children. Would anyone have children if they knew the harsh reality ahead? Or would we be a nation on birth control and millions of Chinese children go un-adopted?
After I wrote the first of many checks to come, the receptionist gave Savannah what I deemed a consolation prize: a shinny new toothbrush with Dr. Linder’s phone number. I was hoping she would get to scribble her name next to Joshua’s and Annabel’s.