Friday, June 9, Part I: Sick Kids Orthodontics

Laura On Friday we finally went to the movie that Jon has been waiting half a year to see… But first we spent several hours at the Dentistry and Orthodontics Clinics at Sick Kids.

To backtrack, in April Jon’s dentist (whom he calls Dr. Jane) found a small cavity in an awkward place on one of Jon’s back molars. She was concerned about Jon’s ability to stand getting it filled. Since his train wreck of a mouth suggests that he’ll need braces soon, Dr. Jane had the good idea of sending him to the dental clinic at Sick Kids (since they often deal with special needs kids), get him assessed as to how many teeth he’d need pulled under anesthesia (since Daddy had to get teeth pulled for braces as a child), and get the cavity filled at the same time.

At the hospital, getting a panoramic x-ray (the one where the machine circles your head) was a total non-starter. Jon got very apprehensive at the odd contraption he was supposed to chomp down on, and when the technician told him it would make “a noise” as it took pictures he flew into full panic mode. Even when we tried to reassure him that it was a very small noise he would not cooperate. (After leaving the x-ray room he calmed down and agreed to do it “next time”. We’ll see!)

The orthodontist looked at Jon’s teeth, and contrary to our predictions (we assumed he’d be just like his daddy in numbers of extractions), told us he wouldn’t actually need any teeth pulled—for now. We’ll see about later. She then gave us a few toothbrushes with tiny, round heads; showed us a new technique for brushing teeth (in preparation for when he gets hardware, no doubt); looked at Peter’s teeth and told him his orthodontist did a great job; and assured us that Jon should be able to handle a filling without being knocked out. Hmm, okay, if you say so…

We like this orthodontist a lot: She has a very pragmatic attitude about how much they can do for Jon. She explained how Jon’s schooling and cognitive abilities would determine the kind and amount of orthodontics he would get. It’s a balancing act: If getting various hardware would negatively affect his ability to learn or enjoy life, it just isn’t worth it. That would suggest that the more horribly intrusive forms of orthodontics (elastics, headgear) aren’t in the cards. We have no idea how much Jon can tolerate, or how much it’s ultimately worth it; all we know is that 1) he has a 7 mm overbite; and 2) currently his teeth are so jammed together the rear molars aren’t coming in properly (they’ve been sort of half-erupted for a year now, which can’t be good.)

So we’ll be back at Sick Kids in September to get that cavity filled. By the way, the hospital dentists seemed surprised at how minor the cavity is. I guess over the retellings from the original referral the cavity kept getting bigger and more and more challenging, like in a fishing story. But we’ll hold off on orthodontics until his all his adult side incisors are in; then we’ll revisit. And we’ll keep you posted.