Friday, March 4, 2011

It's not very cute after all

Damn genetics and damn you tongue thrust, you little devil.

Who would have thought that the adorable little tongue thrust that babies are born with could cause so much trouble, (painful and uber expensive trouble I might add! But I will get to that in a minute.)

All babies are born with a tongue thrust. You really notice it when they are introduced to baby food for the first time. You put the spoon in and blaap, out comes all the food again with the "thrust" of their tongue. As they develop the tongue thrust goes away and they learn to swallow foods correctly.

Sometimes however, children never outgrow it in infancy. This can lead to speech problems, like having a lisp, which my little princess currently has. It can also cause problems with adult teeth coming in, as is the case with the athlete. We started noticing a year ago that his adult upper teeth were having a hard time coming down and they were overlapping and protruding. I knew he would need braces eventually, and didn't think it was that big of a deal. (Almost every kid on the planet needs braces now a days, why should mine be any different.)

Little did I know that his messed up mouth was caused mainly by that little culprit tongue of his!

After going for a consultation with an orthodontist we were slammed with the fact that the athlete has one hell of a messed up mouth! Not only is he going to need the usual treatment with braces, he is considered a phase 1 candidate and needs to have major orthodontic work done now before the bones in his jaw permanently harden.

Let me preface this next part by filling you all in, this orthodontist we are seeing comes highly recommended. She has a son in the athlete's grade and the boys play on the same soccer team. I have met with her several times and she has fully explained the issues he has and how and why they need to be corrected. I completely trust her and her treatment plan.

Phase 1 plan includes, are ya ready for this????

Rapid palate expander, to be turned manually by me, once a day for 3 weeks. Serious ick factor here! I can feel his poor little mouth stretch and ache just thinking about it.

Headgear, to be worn 12 hours a day, mostly at night while sleeping. Wish me luck with this people! Some of you already know all about the athlete and his issues with sleeping!
Tongue crib, this will be in place to block his tongue from thrusting against his teeth every time he swallows. He will need to re-learn how to correctly place his tongue when he swallows. Supposedly achieved with special exercises. (Are we all having fun yet?)

Last but not least, 4 front upper braces to correctly place the teeth that have been pushed
out so far.

And before we could even begin this treatment my poor guy had to have 3 baby teeth pulled in his upper jaw that were not even loose yet. That made two more separate appointments to his dentist for the extractions. On his last trip he came home with the right side of his face sagging a good inch lower that the other because he had to have so much novocaine. He was a trooper through the whole thing!

So this is where we're at now. Yesterday was the athlete's first appointment of four which he will have every Thursday until the 24th when everything will be cemented in place. (I have secretly been referring to the day as D day. The D standing for doom!) He had 4 spacers put in to move his molars and make room for the metal bands to go around them. He did well until about 2 in the morning when he woke up with major tooth pain. Some motrin and a nice long hour and a half chat with mom in bed and he was back to sleep until the morning.

We'll see how he's feeling when he gets home from school today, and hopefully by Sunday the pain will be gone. Then I get to look forward to doing this all over again in two weeks!

Next post I will have pictures up and plan on documenting this torturous process from start to finish! You know being the good and caring mom that I am! (Just kidding! I really do sympathize with the poor kid!)

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