Post # 17
I have to agree with Niki. It’s not your place to bring it up. She’s aware of it, and as someone who has had thousands of dollars of dental work done (nearly all of it non-cosmetic), even WITH great dental insurance, it’s still not cheap.
This is something you can’t control. If it truly bothers you this much, try having your Fiance talk to her, but I honestly wouldn’t expect too much.
Post # 18
Like Rosy said there are many financial options if she wants to get them fixed. Dental schools, payment plans etc. However, she is the one who is going to have to want this done. I would suggest just taking her in for an exam and just explaing the situation to the dentist. They will be able to determine the extent of the damage and also tell if the situation is immediate (oral cancer, infections, etc) or if it something that can be fixed slowly over time (doing one procedure at a time as the money becomes available) I know many many people that had sooo much more confidence after having there teeth fixed that it made them a completely different person.
However she is going to have to want to do this. I would get the Fiance or maybe a Future Sister-In-Law to speak with her about the issue.
It is not shallow to want her to look good at the wedding because you are going to have to look at those pictures forever.
Post # 19
Thanks for your immediate responses. Perhaps some more information will help clarify my concerns. I’ve been going to a great dentist myself for invisalign treatment to help correct my jaw (to prevent my incessant teeth grinding). While I was there, I picked up a pamphlet about peridontitis and recognized the symptoms because the pictures closely resembled what my future mil’s teeth looked like. Apparently this is a serious disease that is common in smokers and can even lead to heart problems. I’ve known my future mil for almost 5 years, and have always accepted and loved her for who she is. I think the upcoming wedding coupled with what I found in the dentist’s office is what is driving my concern. I do recognize how part of my concerns are for esthetic reasons and I don’t want to feel this way. I also know that dental work is expensive. My fiance and I would be willing to help her pay for this, especially if it is linked to a disease that must be treated. My fiance is reluctant to say anything because he doesn’t want to hurt her feelings.
Post # 20
I do think it’s a difficult topic to bring up. I can’t imagine having to discuss something like this with my inlaws (but I would force my husband to do it!).
Can you perhaps gather some info- like that pamphlet and have your Fiance write a note to his mom and leave it at her home on a future visit, saying, "I left something for you to think about on the kitchen table."
The note could say, "Mom, you know I love you and think you are beautiful, but I’m worried about how your teeth are impacting your happiness and, most importantnly, your health. I think it’s important that you get treatment right away. We know how expensive it is, so Tartar and I are going to help you find a way to get the treatment you need- either by contributing financially or helping you find insurance/payment plans/etc. It would put my mind at ease to know that you don’t have an underlying health problem that is contributing to the situation with your teeth. I wrote this in a note because I didn’t want to put you on the spot, but please let me know how you feel about it and what you’d like to do. Love, FI"
I hope that she will be receptive to your help. Even if she’s not, you and your Fiance can at least feel that you have done your best to help her.
Post # 21
It sounds liek your fil is a sweet person. And you have a good relationship with her. I think the timing here is not good. You have admitted that her teeth would be unpleasant for the wedding. Despite sincerely wanting her to be healthy, I think it will mainly come across to her that this is mostly about the wedding. that will hurt her feelings, even if Fiance says it. Otherwise, this would have been brought up before.
Which makes me ask, has this been brought up before? If your Fiance talks to her, it is a generous offer to help her pay for the procedures. But I wouldn’t let your Fi tell her that you are part of the deal. (that also makes it sound like it is part of the wedding) I think he would need to try to rally any other siblings, to make it seem like everyone is interested in helping her.
Also, she might be completely terrified of the dentist. I can’t imagine anyone with teeth like that is simply thinking, that time has slipped away from them, and had been meaning to make an appointment. There is a major reason why she has not gone to the dentist. And truly if her health was that big of a concern to her family, I would think it would have come up sooner.
Post # 22
I haven’t posted in a while, but felt the need to chime in b/c of personal experience.
My dad *just* got out of the hospital.. he had an infection which the doctors think came from his mouth that went to his heart. After 4 weeks of antibiotics administered via IV, he’s going to need open heart surgery to replace a valve in his heart. All this from an oral bacteria – it wasn’t even visible in his teeth. This is a very serious matter! Please have someone talk to your Future Mother-In-Law – having it treated now is so very important, b/c it can lead to horrible complications in the future that could cost even more money. Let your Fiance know that this can affect SERIOUSLY her health in the future, and hurt feelings now is trivial compared to open heart surgery. 🙁
Second – you and your Fiance might want to look into something called "care credit" – it’s like a credit card just for medical stuff, and a lot of doctors take it. My dentist took it, and it gives me some grace period (3, 6, or some other # of months) to pay off the bill w/o interest, so that might help w/ expenses.
I hope things work out for you and your MIL!
Post # 23
@ Tanya- I can appreciate what you are saying about the timing making this seem to be about the wedding, but honestly, does it really matter when a person’s health and well being are at stake? This could be a serious health problem- why wait just because it might appear to be wedding-related?
Also- so what if she is afraid of the dentist? What if she was afraid of the gynecologist? Would it be acceptable to never get a pap smear and risk dying of cervical cancer? Or afraid of the proctologist so she could die of colon cancer? You see where I’m going with this? Fear is not a reason to allow a loved one to neglect their health. I am VERY afraid of the dentist- having had a horrible one as a child. It’s so bad that the last time I went in to have work done I had to ask the dentist for a prescription for Valium (only the 2nd time I had every had any, the first being before a surgery). There are ways to deal with the fear and anxiety.
I don’t think it matters if the motivation is superficial or genuine- it’s a medical issue that Tartar and her future husband can help address. Also- the reason I think the offer of financial aid should come from both of them is that they are getting married and will have joint finances- the Future Mother-In-Law should understand that they are both willing to help.
@ Dezziemon- I’m sorry to hear about your dad. I wish he and your family well in the coming months. I hope sharing his story helps people to understand the risks.
Post # 24
It’s not that I’m opposed to discussing these problems with her. And her health is very important. In fact they should be discussed at some point. But we still don’t know some things about this story.
When is the wedding? If there isn’t enough time for her to get the work done, I definitely don’t recommend telling her before the wedding. As there is nothing that can be done, but make her feel ashamed.
Also, I like Niki, have concerns about the "why" of this being brought up. It would be good to get the teeth corrected (which is right) even if for self centered reasons (my wedding). And if there was no wedding, I would hands down recommend talking to her. However, I think if the approach comes off as "your going to embarrass us", damage could be done. She’s already self conscious about it. What if she doesn’t show to the wedding? Or this causes family problems? Your Fiance who knows her best, thinks she’ll be too hurt. That doesn’t mean she doesn’t need to know what’s at stake, but the fact that this is about the wedding could cause more harm than good if discussed, now.
The expense of what she is looking at is great. Are you and your fiance aware of the price before you start offering help? What if she gets her hopes up to get her teeth fixed and it is still way more than you and she together can pay? Ask yourself if it’s important enough for you to sacrifice some of your wedding budget.
What if this was after the wedding. Would you still bring it up? Would you be willing to pay for the dental work?
I guess I’m a little frustrated that if this was a big concern why it hasn’t been brought up before. It’s not all the new information that oral care is linked to heart health. But I understand, better late than never.
If your Fiance does talk to her, maybe in offering to pay for the dental work, he can try to say something like, "I notice when you talk to people you’ve developed some mannerisms that tell me you aren’t happy with your teeth….." if she asks if it’s about the wedding, maybe he can say no but that if she is concerned about it with some of the attention she gets as MOG, he’d be willing to pay for the dental work as a gift.
That’s the best I can do.