Who Skipped Town
by Shawna, age 29, from Colorado
A friend of mine in Junior
High School had braces. I remember her braces specifically
because she had bright colored rubber bands and loved to open
her mouth wide showing us non-braces kids the reds and blues
and greens... (Oh, My!) We grew up less than a block apart.
Although we weren't best friends, we really like each other,
and I was jealous of anyone with braces. (My family couldn't
afford them.) I vaguely remember her getting the braces off,
and making a mental note that she must have had them for seven
years. (!) Yikes. This was back when four was standard. I had
no idea that her agony lasted five more years....
Now, fast forward through the
rest of High School and into College. I was home for spring
break and I bumped into this friend in the grocery store. We
hugged and I asked how long she'd be in Colorado? She told me
that she was back in town to undergo three heinous jaw
surgeries. Apparently, her orthodontist from Junior High
completely screwed up her bite. To show me, she opened her
mouth and chomped down...you could hear the back molars
touch...but the front teeth were a centimeter apart!
Horrified, I asked if they were going to sue? She said she
would if anyone could find the guy. When she was 16 they
realized something in her treatment had really gone awry. With
prompting from their general physician they went to the
orthodontist's office to talk to him.
Now comes the really
The office was deserted.
Apparently, in between that visit and her appointment four
weeks earlier, he skipped the country to avoid going to jail
for tax evasion.
So she kept the braces on for
a year and then had them removed when the oral surgeon told
her that surgery was the only alternative, after she had
I am 29 years old now. I have
had braces myself for four years and will probably get them
off in three months. I always think of this friend and am so
grateful for my orthodontist, who has a 20 year history in the
area. He talks me through each appointment and I know exactly
what every wire and tightening is trying to do.
The moral of the story is: do
your research and choose your orthodontist carefully. It could
be the difference between 2 years to success...or my friend's
12 years of agony!
Editor's note: I
couldn't agree more! Another suggestion: NEVER pay for the
entire treatment up front. Pay a percentage as a deposit and
then pay-as-you-go each month!