Natasha's Braces-I Want To Speak
Organized by: Natasha Lane
Hello, everyone. My name is Natasha and I'm here to try and fix my teeth/jaw. Yes, I know it sounds trivial but this is a medical issue I have been suffering with for years and that will worsen over time. When I was fourteen I went to see an orthodontist who said he believed I had TMJ. Basically, TMJ is a joint disorder that affects your jaws ability to move. He described the disorder by saying"it's like your jaw is crooked." However, he thought I might grow out of it and advised me and my family to not take action (have surgery done) until I was, at least, eighteen or older. Eighteen came and went just like dental coverage came and went. My jaw was at its worst in high school. It would ache a lot, there was a lot of cracking and popping, and I remember one time I could barely open my mouth wide enough to get food in my mouth without experiencing severe pain. In addition, the worse my jaw got the worse my teeth got, as well. Originally, when I was diagnosed there was a small gap between my top and bottom rows of teeth. That gap has steadily widened to the point where I rely almost solely on my back teeth to tear apart my food. Sometimes it's hard eating out in public because I can't get a good grip on my food and so, it looks messy when I eat. My jaw still aches sometimes and it still pops but the worst part is that my speech is being affected. When I was a child, I took speech therapy classes because I couldn't make the "s" sound. My "s" sound always came out like a "th." Eventually, I graduated from the class and I thought my speech problems were solved. Instead, they have returned. Because I can't put my two rows of teeth together I can't make the "s" sound, I've developed a lisp, and my speech overall has degraded. Since identifying my jaw problem, I have noticed that the worst my jaw gets the worst my speech gets. After college, I thought I would get a great job and be able to get my jaw fixed but I realized it's no longer that simple. My job had very basic dental insurance which led me to another orthodontist who told me before I could have surgery, I would have to wear braces for at least a year. I had waited too long. My orthodontist told me that my situation was very delicate and so, I would want a good surgeon. He referred me to a specialist but sadly I never had a chance to see the specialist. At the time, my insurance wasn't sure if they would even cover my visit because it fell into a weird gray area between medical and orthodontics (my orthodontist didn't charge for initial meetings and first consultation which is why I could go see him). Then, I had to leave my job for several reasons and they immediately cut my coverage off. I hoped I would be able to find a job soon after but it's going on two months and I've only been able to do little side jobs to earn some cash but nothing that is consistent and brings in enough. Sometimes I work as a writer but I'm not JK Rowling (hopefully one day) and only bring in a couple hundred every three months from that job. My orthodontist says the braces will be $5850 but he is telling me to see the specialist first which costs $160 for consultation. That brings the total up to $6010. There are some payment plan options but I can't afford the monthly amount or the interest. I thought I could wait until I found a good paying job but I don't know when that's going to happen and I don't want the problem to get worse than it already has. I want to go to graduate school in a couple of years but I'm hoping to have this problem fixed by then. I have Medicaid currently but because my problem falls between medical and dental there's no guarantee of coverage. Not to mention, most insurance and orthodontic foundations don't cover braces for adults. I want to have this problem fixed and I want it fixed right, so I'm reaching out. I use to doing most things on my own and I hate asking for help, but I realize I have no choice so, here I am. Any little bit helps and I'm grateful for everyone. Thank you.