ADHD Confessions: Paying for Invisalign plus Braces

I’d love to say that I’ve conquered my ADHD.  I’d love to write only happy posts about how well my life is going now that I’ve conquered this condition and that of my family members. But it’s not the truth.  The truth is I still lose my temper, I don’t exercise enough to engage my brain and I’ve made EXPENSIVE mistakes.


Photo by Janko Ferlič on Unsplash

Strange and Weird

I was born with only baby teeth for first premolars. Maybe you didn’t know this, but even with good dental hygiene baby teeth won’t last past your 35th birthday.  I had metal braces at 15 and my dentist chose to ignore these 2 baby teeth at that time.  He figured I could pay for braces again at 35, I guess.  So, at 36. . . rather than get metal braces like the 8th graders I teach, I decided to get Invisalign.



Photo by Daniel Frank on Unsplash

Invisalign and ADHD

I’m an inattentive ADHDer.  That means I forget things, sometimes.  Give me 2 tiny clear trays I have to take in and out of my mouth EVERY TIME I take a bite of something, and I may lose them.  I was originally given 20 sets of trays.  This equated to straight teeth and implant surgery for a complete smile within 1 and 1/2 years.  I was looking forward to being the proud owner of a complete set of teeth.


A year plus later

One and 1/2 years into my Invisalign treatment I had to backtrack.  I was way behind schedule.  With Invisalign, you wear 1 new tray every two weeks and, slowly but surely, the teeth are straightened out.


The kicker is you’re supposed to wear the trays for 22 hours a day.  I’d be lucky if I had them in for 7 while I slept.   I also lost some of the trays while out of town, or by accidentally trashing them.  They were everywhere except in my mouth moving my teeth to the right position! I wore Invisalign for over a year with little progress.


My orthodontist felt pity for me and allowed me to “adjust” my treatment.  He re-made another 15 trays for my poorly progressing smile.  This time, I lost one more tray on vacay, was inconsistent in wearing them at school, forgot how much I hated the lisp while trying to speak Spanish to students all day and was feeling pretty dejected.  I didn’t think I would ever get my smile back.


Photo by Charles Deluvio 🇵🇭🇨🇦 on Unsplash

The Last Straw

One fall evening my dog, who eats EVERYTHING, watched me take a tray out before breakfast.  He then put his front paws up on the kitchen counter and snatched the tray with his big mouth! I’m not particularly picky, but I wasn’t going to wear that Invisalign tray after my dog chewed it.  So, it was back to the drawing board.  I had to visit the orthodontist, again.


Photo by Miguel Runa on Unsplash

Metal Braces

One year ago, I finished paying off the interest-free $6000 Invisalign bill.  And now, my ortho, who is quite merciful, has agreed to supply me with metal braces for only $800.  I know I should be thankful, and I am. But, am I really paying almost $7000 because I didn’t have permanent teeth and couldn’t get my $&@! together to wear the Invisalign trays??!!!! I tried to avoid the negative self-talk, but it was hopeless.  I felt so guilty.  Why didn’t I just wear the Invisalign regularly like a normal person?  Why couldn’t I just deal with the lisp?  Why did I keep losing the damn trays?  What’s wrong with me????? Ugh.


Photo by Pepi Stojanovski on Unsplash




Redemption might come when I publish this post.  I’m hoping some people will understand how I operate.  Maybe you paid double for braces?  Perhaps you’ve paid a late fee, or forgotten to turn in a reimbursement receipt before the repayment deadline?  Maybe you’ve left your laundry at the dry cleaners so long they sold it. Were they your mother’s beautiful suede boots from the 1960’s?


Did you leave $900 dollars in your flexible spending account and realize it was too late to submit a claim?  Could you really have used that $900?

Photo by Bernard Hermant on Unsplash

If any of these scenarios apply to you, I GET IT!! I’m not going to judge you.  I won’t tell you-you’re a loser.  I won’t tell you-you’re a bad person, or you’re unworthy.  The only thing I will say is, love yourself the way you are.  If you want to try meds to keep on top of things, go for it!  If you prefer to buy a planner in which to enter key dates, like the deadline for FSA claims, by all means, do it!!! But, whatever you do, LOVE YOURSELF.  Appreciate your quirks, chalk it up as a lesson learned and please, I beg you.  BUY METAL (or porcelain) BRACES (for you and your ADHD kiddos)!


What’s your most expensive ADHD confession?  Can you beat this doozy? Share it!  We need to know we’re not alone. 

Published by Family ADDventures

Nicole Santiago is a learning specialist, student advocate, and founder of Family ADDventures. As a specialist, she assesses and teaches clients (adults and adolescents) to manage and grow their executive functioning skills which include emotional regulation, task initiation, and time management. As an advocate (IEP coach), she is a member of COPAA and ensures inclusive (special) education students receive the most appropriate educational services possible. She often collaborates with OT's, SLP's and neuropsychologists all in the name of student improvement and success. Her practice is located in San Antonio, TX, and everywhere (virtually). The author grew up an army brat and spends time with her three ND children and husband in Puerto Rico whenever possible. She writes about mental health, parenting, education, and entrepreneurship on her blog:

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