Monday, February 20, 2012

she's bracing herself....

for all the teasing she's sure to get at school soon. things like "brace face" and "metal mouth". but she's one who can laugh right along with them so i know she's gonna be okay. but still, kids can be cruel.

not sure that i've mentioned it here before but ashlyn was accepted as a patient at Children's Hospital Ortho Clinic several months ago. they have a limited number of openings for their ortho procedures and we consider ourselves blessed to be one of them.

so we've been there several times over the past 6 months with ashlyn taking xrays, doing impressions, waiting for a plan of treatment, doing new impressions, and waiting for appliances to be made for what they are calling Phase I of treatment. this will last 12-18 months.

anyone without dental knowledge looking at her would think "why in the world does she need braces?" but looking at pictures of her along with the xrays, it's plain to see.

she has what's called an open bite and a cross bite. i dug up this picture that best shows what the 'problem' is. (you can click it to see it bigger) her top palette is collapsed cause her top teeth to rest inside the perimeter of her bottom teeth. because of this her bite remains open in front. also her lower jaw is growing at a much faster rate than her upper jaw.

the course of treatment for these two issues is meant to prevent a very extensive jaw operation in her teenage years. if we don't take action now they will have to break her lower jaw and reset it with metal screws and plates to make it smaller and expand her upper jaw. not something we want to put her through.

so, a few weeks ago they took their final impressions to make her appliances. she'll be getting a lower retention bar cemented to the back of her teeth to keep her jaw from growing any further and on top she's getting a palatal expander that we'll use along with a key each night.

each visit is a new adventure as she is learning the types of things that still cause her sensory issues to spiral out of control.

i thought for sure that the impressions for both upper and lower was going to cause her gag reflex to go wild. she hates to hear people coughing (for fear they are going to get sick), she hates to think of someone puking, hates to hear the word puke.

but she did awesome and we discovered she's just like me and barely has a gag reflex at all. phew. the doctor is super awesome with her and keeps her spirit high. again, i think that makes all the difference in the world.

she was perfectly content with the lower impression, but wasn't really a fan of the lower one.......but expressed it in such a normal way with the thumbs down signal. it was such a proud mama moment.

i laughed and cried at the same time. we've come so far. sooooo, so, far with this girl of mine and her sensory issues.

it wasn't until they were removing the last band that she started to well up with tears. she had reached her maximum level of tolerating pain and decided she was done.

i kinda got a half-smile outta her on the way out. she's really excited to get braces finally put on today and pick out the colors for her rubberbands. but she's not so excited about turning the key on the palatal expander.

we spent some time yesterday pulling up youtube videos so she could see exactly what it was and how it works. and also to see how they cement braces to your teeth.

youtube is her go-to method of gathering information to help reduce anxiety. she loves to know exactly what is going to happen before it happens. most times it calms her fears. yesterday? not so much.

she's scared most of all of the pain it might cause. and quite annoyed that she can't chew gum for the next 12-18 months.

but, i know dr. S will put her totally at ease and remind her how awesome it is that she gets to come visit every 6 weeks and miss a little bit of monday morning school. that would make any kid smile, yes?

time to go........braces and cement are awaiting!


  1. What a trooper! She did better than I would have (impressions really do make me gag...blech!)

  2. You might be suprised at how cool braces have become! My kid got braces and glasses in the same month and every girl in her class was jealous. TOTALLY cracked me up!! So different than I was a kid! Sounds like she's doing really well considering all her sensory stuff. WTG Ashlyn!!

  3. I'm so glad she is handling this so well with her sensory issues. I will pray for her that that continues through the long road to perfect teeth. My daughter had braces and she became quite the baby food eater, after those days of tighting.


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