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Posts about Colton's Cleft Lip and Palate surgeries as well as the Triplets' Cranial Bands are along the sidebar.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Another dose of dentistry

So I was driving across town this particular morning, coming home from the littles' dentist appointment (getting to that) and within the confines of our 'Burb, those LITTLES were screaming, hitting, and biting each other something BIG. (In fairness, by 'they' I mean Hunter and Ethan. Colton was exempt from this).

It was the second day in a row for these two to be at each other's throats and for me to be their referee. Now, as you may know, I have a crap-ton of patience, but the ultra annoying tone of Ethan's wail, coupled with the shrillness of Hunter's shriek was about all I could take. 

I was literally about to open my mouth and yell something I knew I shouldn't and then I noticed where I was-one turn away from the office in which I spent years and years pining for a baby of my own. The office I can still remember today as well as I did almost 6 years ago. An office whose walls have seen some of my most devastating tears as well as the best moments of my life.

So while the screaming continued, I impulsively made that turn and drove into the parking lot of my infertility doctor's office.

Divine intervention? A sign? Coincidence? Perfect Timing? Call it what you want.

All I know is that at that moment, I was suddenly grateful for the three little people in my backseat. Even the two who were screaming.

Sometimes we need those reminders.

The good news is... we have no cavities! (And by 'we' I DEFINITELY don't mean me...) But hooray for the wee ones! I'm determined that they will have happy teeth for life.

I was uncertain about Ethan, once again. Last visit, you may recall, he refused. Like, straight up, said, "No thank you. I will not be having my teeth cleaned today." So I knew today was going to be a gamble. He was totally compliant when asked to hop on the scale, so immediately, I had hope!

We only waited in the waiting room about 4 minutes before we were called back. Hunter immediately crawled up on the purple chair, Colton climbed up on the red chair

and Ethan climbed up NO chair anywhere. "Nope. No thank you. No need to have my teeth cleaned."Again....{the hygienist even had it in her notes from the last visit}.

I asked him if he wanted to sit in Dr. Bunch's yellow swivel chair instead of the exam chairs and surprisingly, he said yes. So I figured that was worth something.... Colton and Hunter's hygienists began their cleanings while Ethan's was finishing up with another patient. I just kind of ignored him and talked to Dr. Bunch casually, while watching Ethan's curiosity with it all out of the corner of my eye.

When his hygienist finished, and approached Ethan, she said, "Hey you! Were you waiting for ME?" in a very lighthearted, friendly manner.  Much to my surprise and delight, he said, "Yep!" And  just like that he was at her mercy. Whatever she wanted, he did. Hop up on the chair? Check. Put on these sunglasses? Check. Open wide? Check. She has magical powers...

I'm hoping this will be like pooping on the potty for him. Now that he's done it and sees that's it not at all bad, he'll be less anxious the next time. {Fingers crossed.} We have six months to find out....

Just as a side note, I tried to get a picture of Colton's teeth. Many people ask what his teeth are like after his cleft lip and palate. I'll see if I can snap one to show you one of these days. Basically, his bottom teeth are totally fine. Luckily for him, that's all you see when he smiles. Though I have no doubt he'd still be every bit as handsome if you could see his top teeth, he may not agree.

His top teeth are pretty crooked. There's no other way to put it. The overall tendency of the very front teeth is to grow down, but also back. (In other words, imagine that the very bottom edges of his front teeth are pointing towards his throat rather than pointing to the bottom row of teeth. He's got some funky spaces in there too, and an extra little tiny tooth to boot!

The beauty of it all is that it doesn't hinder him at all. He still eats anything and everything he wants and even successfully eats corn on the cob. (and this is quite possibly one of the most difficult foods we could put on his plate. Just imagine how difficult it would be to eat Corn on the cob if your top chompers were pointing backward. But dude's my hero. He can take down a cob of corn with the best of 'em.

So for now, aside from looking very, very crooked, this is  the only residual 'effect' we see for our 'baby born with a cleft lip and palate.' We see the dentist every six months and we see his plastic surgeon at least once a year.

His speech is surprisingly good. There are a few speech sounds that he articulates incorrectly, but he is such a fast learner that he has been able to correct almost every one. (He isn't currently even going to speech services, but as a kindergarten teacher-mommy, I'm very aware of words and sounds he says wrong and am fast to reteach them correctly. He's such a trooper and never, ever gets frustrated when we practice articulating and enunciating words. Even Hunter, (his sister-mommy) gets in on the action. Often, when they don't even know I'm listening, I'll hear her say to him, "No Colton, watch my mouth. Say 'hel-uh-cop-ter.' And he does it. They practice together syllable by syllable. Sooo sweet. The reality in fact, is that Colton's speech is more intelligible than Ethan's on most occasions. Luckily, they have each other to act as peer models and they absolutely learn from one another. (Sometimes this is bad, but mostly good.)

When Colton is somewhere near 7 years old, he'll have another surgery to reconstruct his upper gum line. They will do a bone graft in which they take bone from his hip to recreate a new gum line for his permanent teeth to grow down through.

Do I shutter at the thought of another surgery, especially after nearly losing him at his last one? You don't even know. I watch him go through his day to day life, just like his brother and sister and I wish to all the powers of the world that it could be me who has to bear that pain I know he'll endure. But I can't. All I can do is continue to tell him how handsome he is and how smart and kind he is. I can only love him in a way that leaves him no doubt that I will be there with him when this next surgery rolls around and I will not leave his side.

Love you, little buddy...
And don't you forget-chicks dig scars!  :) 

Three little troopers super excited about their goody bags full of stickers, toothbrushes, flossers, and their tokens which they get to redeem for a toy once they get back out to the waiting room! 

And that concludes another Bunchkin adventure.
Thank you Northwest Children's Dentistry for another successful outing! Still don't regret driving clear across town to come see you all! 

More to come!


Jeremy DeBauche said...

Your kids are so awesome Ami. No doubt about it. Every time you post new photos, it seems like they're so much older than the last time, even though it's just been a couple of weeks. Also, it's gotta be amazing to watch Ethan and how he does everything on his own terms. Very cool that he actually got in the seat without much pushback when asked by the hygienist. You're scaring me with this biting talk though. Not sure I'm ready for that now or ever. However, I definitely have my own moments where I either remind myself how hard we worked to make sure we got to meet our girls or I see an old photo which takes me back and it's those moments which help me deal with the senseless screaming that's starting to take place in our house. You guys are so blessed to have such beautiful and wonderful littles and I'm so glad that you keep sharing your lives with us.

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children dentistry said...

Your main job as a pediatric dentist is to help educate children and their parents on how to maintain a healthy mouth between dental visits. The earlier you start the regular examinations, the earlier you can change bad habits and detect any early tooth decay so that the child can have good teeth for the rest of his life.

children dentistry

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