Wednesday, April 8, 2015

No more headgear!

Last photo before the expander was removed
The six-month-long saga is over. The headgear has been returned to the orthodontist. I have to say that the kid was a pretty good sport about sleeping with a bunch of metal strapped to her face for the past six months. Putting it on every night was another matter, of course. She wouldn't do it until her dad and I were foaming at the mouth like rabid dogs. "Put. Your. Headgear. On. NOW!" Once she had it on, though, she was fine.

The palate expander was removed yesterday. She was supposed to be rinsing with saltwater three times a day. Ha ha ha! She threw a Hail Mary of sorts and did rinse a few times in the last week. However, I think it was too little, too late.

When we got to the orthodontist's office yesterday, her dad and I couldn't resist joking about the palate expander and how it would be removed. We had no idea what the process was.

"I am pretty sure they use a chain saw to get those buggers out." I said to my husband, as the kid played in the toy corner nearby.

"No, I think they just remove her whole lower jaw and then pry it out."

"Oh, like a snake?" I responded.  Then we had a whole conversation about whether ALL snakes can unhinge their jaw or not. I need my reptile rescue friend to weigh in on this. Is it all snakes or just certain types?

Anyway, the kid didn't find us amusing at all. When it was finally her turn to be seen, we went back with her to the assembly line. I am not kidding. They have four exam chairs arranged in a circle and they just rotate kids in and out of those chairs like nobody's business.  I could see the kid was getting nervous while she was waiting for Dr. M to get to her. Dr. M's assistant explained to her that the doctor was going to use a dremel-type tool to thin down the sides of the expander and then use another tool to break off the plastic in large pieces. She had a few minutes to worry about that while waiting for the doctor to come over. Meanwhile, I grabbed a Kleenex and swatted a booger out of her nose, and I can't say that she was terribly appreciative. "MO-O-OM!" I couldn't help it. She was lying on her back in the exam chair and I could see straight up there.

Finally, it was her turn. The orthodontist got to work in my kid's mouth and then said this: "If any teeth come out with the apparatus, don't worry about it - that means they were supposed to come out anyway." Why did he have to say that? My daughter's eyes got big and she started to panic. I held her hand while the doctor did his thing. Poor kid. A few minutes later, the apparatus was out. And ew, it was pretty gross inside her mouth. I could see a big flap of gum tissue hanging down and she was bleeding. She was still in a panic because everything felt very "wrong" in there to her.  She started to cry. Dr. M. is a good orthodontist but he is not down with any kind of drama. He ignores it completely. So, I consoled her even though I thought she was being a little dramatic, too. That's what moms do.

When we got home, we basically let her eat ice cream for dinner. The roof of her mouth was so raw that she didn't want to eat anything else. She gets one week off before the braces are installed next Wednesday. They did install some spacers between her teeth yesterday in preparation. The braces will just be on the top and their job will be to align the four teeth in the front. At that point, after the braces come off, she should be in pretty good shape - orthodontics-wise, anyway.  She has more teeth to lose so I don't know what will happen in the future. Once all of her adult teeth have taken up residence in her mouth . . . if a couple of them are a little crooked, I don't know if we'll shell out for more braces. Everything we've done to date was undertaken for the sole purpose of correcting a misalignment of her jaw. That's done, so I'm not sure how much we need to do beyond that. We'll see.

I'll have an update on brace-face next week.

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