Thursday, January 19, 2012

Dental visit, Part 2

Yesterday we took both girls back in for their first of many dental devices. You may remember our first visit back in November which was completely unpleasant for Lucy. This time I asked the hygienist if she could take off her mask and with that, Lucy was calm. Len sat in the chair this time and we let Kate go first so Lucy could watch and see what was going to happen. It made a world of difference because, as has been demonstrated in nearly every video I've taken of them, Lucy insists on doing whatever Kate is doing even if it's unpleasant. Fortunately, the visit was not unpleasant at all.  They were both fitted for infant trainers to help align their jaws correctly. True to form, they remain opposite in every way, even in jaw structure.  Lucy needs her upper jaw to move forward and Kate needs her lower jaw to move forward.

Here's a video of the appliances in action. Kate had it down pat last night but I could only get Lucy to keep it in her mouth if I distracted her with Yo Gabba Gabba. Pick your battles, right?

As for what else is going on in their mouths, here's what I can recall from trying to listen to the dentist while keeping 2 toddlers from destroying his office:

In order to explain, here's a visual to help in case you aren't familiar with tooth development:
Kate has 16 teeth and is working on cutting the last 4--the 2nd molars.  That's pretty much it. Normal.

Lucy has 13 teeth. She is missing both lateral incisors on her lower jaw and one lateral incisor on her right upper jaw where her cleft was located. She still needs to cut her 2nd molars as well.  Since her bottom lateral incisors never came in that means she will not get them as an adult either. As for the top lateral incisor, it could be there in a stunted form or it may not be there at all. It could still come out through her gums or her palate (really hope that doesn't happen as that will cause nasty problems) or it might not ever come out. This all means that she may or may not have this tooth as an adult either.

For now, we wait are taking a wait-and-see approach. We'll work on jaw alignment with the infant trainer and continue that process with different appliances as they get older, shaping the jaw and keeping the canines where they are supposed to be so her face will keep the proper shape. In the past, dentists would just move all the teeth over to fill the gap where teeth are missing. Now, as they have realized that the canines are kind of like the cornerstones or framing of your face, it is best to keep those in their proper location.

The goal with the infant trainers now is for them to wear them 5-10 minutes a few times a day and then to work up to sleeping with them at night. This will also help them continue to breathe through their noses at night which is optimal for good health.


Glenn said...

Your two kids look cute with those mouthpieces a la infant trainers! That's an effective jaw aligner that can exercise their gums, too. It looks like they love their mouth pieces, as the video tells, but how are their teeth now?

[Glenn Koehm]

Lisa said...

Glenn, they just started with these infant trainers so not much to tell yet. Kate's teeth are "normal" thus far but Lucy is missing some due to her cleft situation. She will need a lot of orthodontic work through her childhood/adolescence.


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