Tuesday, December 18, 2012

What's New in Orthodontia

Samantha had her orthodontist appointment last Friday afternoon.  We were prepared for the worst, trying to head a potentially catastrophic and life-scarring situation off at the pass through role-playing and constant discussion in advance.  It was a new doctor for her, one we'd never met before, but who came with words of praise from my own dentist.  My dentist failed to mention if he had super-human powers of calming-effect coupled with skin of steel, impervious to the claws of a cornered, frantic and deranged 6-year old, but we thought that calling his office to ask that before our appointment might not be in our best interest. 

Why an orthodontist, you may wonder?  She's just 6 1/2, after all...  Well, Samantha has a pretty severe underbite.  Cute now, won't be so cute later, but, even more importantly, it already causes complications with her speech.  She speaks very clearly (when she isn't talking so freaking fast!), able to enunciate most letters beautifully.  But there are a few letter sounds that she is completely unable to make accurately as a result of the underbite, not the least of which is the "r" sound.  We've stopped private speech therapy for now, but will likely pick it up again once she's had the correction.  We'd been told by a few people that palate expansion (for the upper palate, to bring it forward, in-line with the lower jaw) needed to happen before a child turned 7, as the palate is more pliable up until that point.

However, as we learned at the appointment, we'll have to wait until both her 6-year molars have grown in (they're coming in now - I saw them when I was flossing her teeth the other day!) and her top front two teeth have fallen out and grown back in.  These teeth are all very important for anchoring the appliance in her mouth.  He's suggested make our next appointment for a year from now, when we can re-visit the topic.

How'd she do at the appointment? 

She dug her heels in and refused to open her mouth for a good 15 minutes, while Steve and the orthodontist talked.  Then, all of a sudden, the jaws of the savage beast opened, revealing 20 beautiful, white teeth - the sweet child I know so well had returned to herself and was ready to get on with the exam!  Just like that.  No bells, no whistles, no cajoling.  Just...ready when SHE was ready

And that, my friends, was that

We have no illusions about next time, but will continue the home-education we've been providing, hoping that her growing, developing brain will finally see the light above the dentist's chair, will finally be able to reason that it's not so bad.  The orthodontist has suggested sedation to take tooth molds, which is not an unrealistic idea.  We'll see when the time comes.  But in the meantime, I consider this a pretty large victory in the battle of wills. 



Rochelle said...

YAY Sammi! Aidan has had a palate expander and top braces for the past year now. Amazing how they can move things around just a tiny bit and get those teeth to line up.
A little laughing gas might help her be at ease with the moldings as they make some of the kids gag.

Lisa said...

Hooray! great job Sammi and Mom!

Jess said...

Glad it went well! Both my kids always get a little nervous at the dentist. And heck I don't like it either! :)

Denise Mom of 4 Amazing Kids said...

I dread the dentist days....I can hope for good experience!

Jenny said...

A step forward, good for Sammi!

Loved the..."all of a sudden, the jaws of the savage beast opened" lol

Renee said...

Way to go Samantha and mom and dad for preparing her so well.

When Wesley got his new glasses, all I good think was, "and he is going to been braces too." (thinking more about the money than anything else)