Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Continued orthodontic woes

Spencer had an appointment with the orthodontist last October.  It was a follow-up just to make sure everything was going OK since his slow fixed palate expander was removed about 18 months prior.  At that time (in October) his orthodontist saw some things (a lot of things, actually) he was concerned about and wanted us to come back much sooner than the 12 month follow-up schedule we had been on. 

We had that appointment on February 16th, but I haven't written about it yet because obviously I've been a blogging bum and have been struggling to even transfer pictures from my phone and camera to the computer.  It'd be nice if somebody could just snap their fingers to break me out of this funk.  You have my permission. 


Side note:
THIS is a post from 3.5 years ago with the beginning of Spencer's orthodontic woes, and THIS is a post from 2.5 years ago with what we will now call Phase I of  Spencer's orthodontic history, if you're interested. 


I knew it was going to be a long and serious appointment and I didn't want Elliott distracting me, so Michael stayed home with him while Spencer and I went to the appointment.

The first thing they did was a functional MRI.
They were specifically looking at his airway.

If you look at the color scale on the bottom of this image, anything on the right is good.  You want your airway to be blue, purple and white.  Anything on the left is bad.   Red, orange and yellow mean your airway is compromised.

There are also some numbers on there that are hard to see.  Anything in the 200 to 400 range is good.  The lower the numbers go the worse your airway is.  They said that 50 is a huge, very serious concern.

SPENCER IS A 32!!!!!!
His tonsils and adenoids are enormous and they are preventing him from getting adequate airflow.  This is not a surprise and I've been pushing to get his tonsils and adenoids removed since his was two, but he's never had strep throat or tonsillitis, so I've never found a doctor who would consider doing it.
The orthodontist sent these images to a maxilo-facial radiologist who wrote a big, fancy report for us that we're taking to an ENT next week.  The plan is to get his tonsils and adenoids out as soon as possible.  Which I'm totally fine with.  I had mine out when I was 24, which was horrific and not advised, so I'd like to save Spencer from suffering the same fate.
Moving on.  Because, yes, there is more.  Oh so much more.

This is the x-ray that was taken in October.  You can see Spencer's upper canine teeth were coming in at a bad angle.  They should be coming straight down, but his were more horizontal.  The orthodontist was hoping that once Spencer's adult front teeth grew in a little more it would make more space for the canines.
This is the x-ray from 2 weeks ago.  You can see that the canine's are actually coming in at a worse angle.  Like, almost completely horizontal on the right.

So, this is the plan.  And it's pretty awful.

We have an appointment with our dentist next week to see about getting his baby lateral incisors (the teeth next to the middle teeth) pulled.  The roots on them are really strong and they are not going to fall out anytime soon on their own.  But they need to come out so that those adult teeth can come down so that the adult canines can have more space to turn down.  If the dentist doesn't think he can extract them safely, we'll have to go to an oral surgeon.  And I guess we might as well just go to the same one that did my jaw surgery.  We'll see.

The day after the dentist appointment we see the ENT to talk about getting the tonsils and adenoids out ASAP.  It would be great if we could do it over spring break, but that happens the next two weeks and I doubt we'll have enough time.

Once the teeth and tonsils and adenoids are out, we'll go back in.  That will be in about 6 months.  At that time the orthodontist wants to put on a RAPID FIXED PALATE EXPANDER and force me to re-live one of the worst parts of my childhood and to inflict the same kind of  horrendous pain on my son.  He made it very clear that he never, ever, ever recommends or uses rapid fixed palate expanders, but that Spencer's mouth and his dental arch are about 7 billion times too small and this is the only option.  He did say that instead of turning the key to rip apart the bone and musculature twice a day we will do it once every three days.  So, there's that.

Once we have expanded his mouth enough he'll put a bar across the palate to keep it from closing while we do the first round of braces.  This will be a little more than a year from now.  The first round of braces will get his front teeth situated so that as he loses his baby teeth and grows his adult teeth they will have enough space and will be able to come in a little straighter.  Once that is done the braces will come off and we'll wait until he has all of his adult teeth before we do the second round of braces.  

And, that's pretty much all I have to say on the subject. because I'm still pretty traumatized about the whole thing........the pain, the commitment and the cost.


Valerie said...

I'm so sorry to hear this Natalie. This sounds truly awful. I would say I hope this goes by quickly and it is a distant memory but it sounds like the scars from this are still fresh for you. Poor Spencer. You're a rock star for going through this yourself!!

Maryellen said...

Oh my goodness Natalie! Poor Spencer. That's a lot for him to go through. You guys really have been hit hard lately. Spencer is really lucky to have you and Michael for parents. You two are such advocates for your boys.

Cat said...

OMG. Poor kid! :-(