Last week I finally had a consultation for orthodontics for Rowan, (kid #6 needing braces). I totally picked the doctor based on the location of his office. After doing braces for 5 of the kids already, I know how often those appointments are, and how common it is for a bracket to fall off and need an emergency appointment. It took forever, but the lobby of the office had an arcade, and an ice cream and slushy bar, which made it tolerable. After rounds of x-rays and a meeting with the rather short doctor who didn't look me in the eye when he talked to me, to discuss treatment options, I met with the financial person to discuss cost. Well, I think I know who is paying for that arcade and slushy bar, me! In approximately 24 months, Rowan will have straight teeth, and i'll be $6,700 poorer (just $4,700 after insurance).
I ended up leaving with a slight case of sticker shock, and instead of scheduling the next appointment to start treatment, I pulled the, "I'll need to discuss this with my husband" excuse. When I got home I quickly posted to Facebook to ask the opinions of my friends on the cost of their orthodontic care. Despite already paying for braces for 5 of the kids, I honestly couldn't remember what one of their entire treatment plans actually cost. All I know is that I don't remember the total being more than both Cal, and Landon's first cars, combined.
Answers came from all over the world, (the joys of a military past life), with costs ranging from $2,000 to almost $7,000 for treatment. Because my quote was one near the top end. I had to get a second opinion.
I remembered back to the fall festival that I had attended at my little kids' school when we were just getting settled after moving here. I had bought a few things at a silent auction fundraiser that was part of the event, a craft basket that Lily just had to have and promised she would share with her brothers, and a gift certificate for orthodontic treatment. I paid $150 for the gift certificate which granted me a savings of $1,500 off the total cost of treatment, which was estimated to be approximately $6,000. At the time I thought that seemed super ridiculously expensive, not realizing that that's the going rate in Las Vegas-if the estimate I got from the arcade and slushy orthodontist was any indication of the going rate.
So, I dug the gift certificate out of a pile of papers in a drawer in the office and gave them a call. Three weeks later, our appointment for a second opinion is tomorrow. I'm hopeful for a better price than the first place and a waiting room that is even half as cool would still be good enough. And an orthodontist who looks me in the eye when going over the treatment plan would be good too. What i'm hoping for the most is to leave the appointment grateful that my $150 silent auction investment really does end up saving me $1,500.
(Do not under estimate local businesses that offer services, when soliciting donations for silent auctions and other fundraisers. Window installation, lawn care, pest control, plastic surgery centers, even orthodontists have to grow their businesses too are happy to donate to local charity events.)