Wiser guy?

Today I took Andrew to the orthodontist to get his retainers.  To the uninitiated, they appear as wires in front of his upper and lower teeth, but if you look closely at the lower one, or stand on your head to see the roof of his mouth, you will note that they are (on alternate sides) bright blue and bright green.  Quite the oral fashion statement.

Much has been invested in Andrew’s mouth.  In addition to all the usual preventative dental visits, there was the baby tooth of his that died at age four and had to be pulled.  Our family dentist wouldn’t do it, so he was referred to an oral surgeon in Branson, who insisted, despite my vehement protests, that the boy had to be fully sedated for the procedure.  Read TWO visits, an topical analgesic applied to the inner elbow an hour before the extraction, IV sedation, local numbing, and sutures.  I had suggested that they shoot his gum full of Novacaine and yank that beast out, but no.  $

Then there was the issue of Josiah swinging a seat belt into Andrew’s face and breaking off his two lower front permanent teeth.  Read multiple visits to the dentist, numerous failed attempts to re-build the teeth out of tooth-looking material.  He finally smoothed off the tops and left them lopsided.  $$

Meanwhile, there was Andrew’s sucking of two fingers for eight years and his resulting overbite.  Two situations needed to be addressed:  getting him to quit sucking and getting his teeth re-aligned.  Neither was an easy fix.  I asked for the roof-of-the-mouth retainer-with-two-metal-loops-hanging-down-out-of-it that had been so effective at terminating the sucking habit of one of his older siblings, but no.  The ortho insisted that there was a better way.  Andrew wore a plastic doo-hickey on his wrist and hand that was sure to work.  He managed to get it off, and even when we tightened that puppy so that he couldn’t extricate himself, he wore the thing out and still sucked his fingers.  We then had to buy another one.  The ortho had sold us the first one for an amount that we’ll call x.  I found the exact same thing, made by the same company and everything, online for x/5.  He used that one for months, and still didn’t quit sucking.  $$$

Yours Truly finally persuaded the ortho to fit him with the custom-made, roof-of-the-mouth retainer-with-two-metal-loops-hanging-down-out-of-it, and the sucking finally ceased.  $$$$

All those years of sucking so messed up Andrew’s bite that braces were required.  Let’s just say that most of our CARS have cost less than braces for Andrew.  His upper braces went on, and six months later it was time to install the lowers, but there was a problem:  since his two lower teeth had been broken off, there was not enough tooth left to which to affix the brackets.  The teeth would have to be built up, but in order for them to be reconstructed with enough strength to withstand the torque required to move the teeth, thy would have to have permanent crowns, and in order to crown them root canals would have to be done on each of those teeth.  So, two root canals and crowns were done.  $$$$$

Now the braces are off, and retainers are being worn, in order to keep the teeth from moving as he continues to grow.  BUT, the ortho’s assistant recently called to say that after Andrew’s last set of dental X-rays, it was determined that Andrew’s mouth is a statistical anomaly.  Essentially, all orthodontic patients end up having to have their wisdom teeth pulled, because the space into which the wisdom teeth would normally descend is now occupied by the other teeth; that space is what was used for the orthodontic treatment.  If the wisdom teeth are allowed to descend (typically around age 20 or so), it totally messes up, and even undoes, all those many multiplied dollars of orthodontics.  The wisdom teeth are typically extracted (at a very pricey cost) at age 17 or 18, when they first begin making their moves.  However, in Andrew’s case, at age 13, his wisdom teeth are already beginning to make their move!  We have been told that he will need to have his wisdom teeth out ASAP, and at most within the next six months, in order to avoid their messing up what’s already been done.  So, it looks like August will probably involve a little more oral surgery for our Lovable Lemur.  $$$$$$

Maybe Andrew’ll be none the wiser.  (HA!)

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