Monday, December 7, 2009

Teeth, Teeth Everywhere!!

We seem to be in a season of hurting teeth, loose teeth, and crazy teeth these days. Alexis's front teeth have been bugging her for a while and I think it is just because her big teeth are beginning to push on the roots of her baby teeth. They are not wiggly yet, but I am sure it won't be much longer before she has a toothless grin.

Andrew on the other hand is still loosing teeth at a steady pace. The most recent loss was a bottom canine tooth. It was SUPER wiggly that he could actually push it sideways with his tongue. It got to the point that he couldn't bite down on anything on that side so I decided it better come out sooner then later to prevent swallowing it. He loved pushing that tooth straight out and freaking his sister out (and mommy for that matter). After lots of coaching, coaxing, and a few tears from anxiety, the tooth was pulled. Then came the tooth fairy negotiations. "Do you think she would be willing to give me a lego set since it was so painful?" Uh, no! "Well, then don't you think it is at least worth $5?" Uh, no!! The tooth fairy gave a fair price for that clean, shiny tooth - $1.
Aiden on the other hand doesn't have hurting teeth or loose tooth, but rather crazy teeth. I knew to expect craziness when he was born with a cleft, but seeing the x-ray put crazy into a whole new perspective. Aiden is such a trooper and did a great job at the dentist. He sat so patiently in the chair and allowed the assistant to clean his teeth, even asking her to do it again. He sat great for his x-ray, even sitting a second time since the tech didn't get the film in the right location for the spot the dentist wanted to see. And then, he patiently let the dentist poke and probe in his mouth without too much resistance.
And this is the x-ray! This is of the front top teeth. You can see how crooked they are, how crazy they are coming in, and even some tooth fragments that will never be 'real' teeth but will have to be dealt with somehow. The cleft is still pretty significant the dentist said, so he highly doubts we avoided the bone graft surgery by using the NAM. Time will have to wait and tell us if that is the case or not.

Dale and I have had some concerns about two of his teeth (his left front teeth and one tooth on the left side in the back of his mouth) that have cut through the gum line but are still hidden by soft tissue. Our plastic surgereon wants to take a more laid back, wait and see approach, but after talking to our dentist I am not so sure that is the best route to take. He explained that the soft tissue covering his front tooth is lip tissue. When connected to the gum line it was attached lower then what ours is so the tooth came out the path of least resistance. The only reason to leave it the way it currently is, is to prevent a cavity, but the reasons to expose it are numerous. Though Dale and I were concerned about the front tooth he was more concerned about the long term effects of leaving the back tooth alone. The soft tissue that is covering that tooth is actually cheek tissue. Because that tooth is covered, Aiden prefers to chew everything on the other side so he can break it down. After all, who would want to bite down on your cheek all the time? In the long run that one sided chewing could cause jaw problems. He STRONGLY suggested we have both teeth exposed, which from what he explained to us will not be a simple slit the tissue procedure, but yet a rather extensive reconstructive surgery similar to the initial palate surgery and recovery.

I have asked for the dentist to write up his findings so I can take that synopsis and a copy of the x-ray to Aiden's craniofacial appointment next Monday and to his plastic surgeon the following Monday if he isn't at the team meeting (which he rarely seems to be when we go... whole other story). The dentist feels so strongly about him having use of those teeth that he has suggested we find an oral surgeon who is willing to do the surgery if our plastic surgeon refuses. Dale and I feel so strongly about doing what is right for Aiden and all along have not felt in our gut that leaving it alone was the right thing to do but did not have the expertise to back those feelings up. I am really praying that the surgeon will be open to hearing what someone else thinks and consider helping him out. I am also praying that Dale and I will know exactly what to do when the time comes. I am not looking forward to another surgery, but guess that I have always known that this was a possibility.

We should know more in a week or two and then it will be decision time. In the meantime, it is teeth, teeth everywhere in this house.

1 comment:

  1. When you go to Cranio facial that day, when you get put in a room, ask if the Oral Surgeon is there and tell them you have questions and concerns you'd like to discuss with him. The pediatric dentist that is part of the team might also be able to give you his thoughts on the case as well.

    His Xray looks so much like Rachel's. It brings tears to my eyes everytime I see her Xrays.....