Thanks, guys! I am so glad to hear that someone else has the same experiences with dentists and feels the same way I do! I actually posted this question on a website where a dentist answers the questions, asking if there were other options besides the retainers, and this was his response, verbatim:
"Find the money. If your car broke down you would find the 4-800.00 to fix it. This is not a lot of money to fix something you'll have for a lifetime...and do it right,as your dentist recommends."
Sheesh, who made him the Dr. Laura of teeth??? He might as well have put one of these in:
His response isn't even relevant to what I asked. Would it have been so difficult for him to just say, "Your dentist is making the appropriate recommendation"???? I guess he just couldn't resist bagging on me since I am just a moron with a puny doctoral degree in something other than dentistry. Reminds me of the plastic surgeon I went to who acted like a tummy-tuck was the only thing that could save me from a life on the traveling freak show circuit. He actually looked at my 5 month-old infant and said, "What took you so long to come in?" I must be doing something to bring this on myself.....
As for my dentist, she makes a big production out of everything, gasping and widening her eyes every time she looks in my mouth. She has been making me feel like I ought to just go ahead and move to the trailer park if I don't want to get this problem (that no one else can see) fixed. At 35, my beauty queen days are over, and my kids are getting to the age where they are going to be needing braces soon, so I think it would be selfish of me to spend so much money on my teeth when my own husband could barely even notice it.