Friday, March 6, 2009

She's Bionic Now, or Her Mouth Is

Remember when I described Laura's various orthodontic issues? Well, on Wednesday she had her palate expander inserted to correct her crossbite. It looks like this:

Twice a day for a while, and then once a day, we give it a crank with a little key to expand her upper jaw. Right now she is a little sore, but she's a trouper. Apparently after the bone suture that holds the two halves of the jaw together separates, the soreness will go away. It's amazing to me that this works. Dental Maven, are you out there? I've been thinking of you and wishing you lived next door.

We are giving Laura ibuprofen, whether she complains or not. Right now when she talks, I can hear that she has something in her mouth. Maybe if she were older, this would bother her, but she showed off the device to her classmates, and seems to be doing fine.

So while we initially thought this would be the only treatment, it never turns out that way, does it? When Matt and I went in to hear the guy's treatment recommendations, he asked if anyone else in the family had an underbite. I was like, "I don't think so," and Matt was like, "Honey, are you forgetting your entire family?" Oh, he's right. Turns out that Laura has the same underbite that everyone on my mom's side of the family has (except for me). My sister actually had surgery in her teens to correct this, and it was a major thing. So I called my dad up and complained that he hadn't more carefully vetted my mom's genetic dowry. We never think of our future grandchildren's orthodontia when we're young and in love, do we?

So we're looking at the palate expander, and nighttime headgear, and partial braces on her front teeth. He thinks this will all be complete in 18 months or so. I kind of almost flipped out when he pulled out the headgear. I thought, "There is no way we're sending her to school in that." But not to worry--it's just at night. I don't think it will be too restrictive, and if it helps avoid surgery down the road, then we're up for it. After that meeting, Matt and I agreed that it was going to be both more trouble and less money than we feared. The whole shebang is $3000, of which $1000 will be paid by our insurance. I always love specific info on this stuff, so I'm giving the numbers for you folks who are googling "palate expanders" and such. So after a discount for paying up front, we were out of pocket like $1700. And this guy will really earn that--he has to see her every week for a while, then every two weeks, then monthly. . .it's like being pregnant, in reverse. Or not really, but you get it.

So that's this week's news from our checking account. And get this, my loving parents (the ones who gave Laura a genetic tendency to prognathism) are taking the kids to the mountain house this weekend. Leaving Matt and me at home to work our butts off on our own projects. And maybe kick up our heels for like, five minutes. So they'll be turning the magical mouth key, bless 'em! And we have a childfree weekend coming up. Gotta get the kids ready.

Have a good one,y'all!

20 comments:

The Stiletto Mom said...

Child free weekend? What is that??

I'm going to be looking into the same expanders here soon. Little G has big giant teeth and a tiny tiny mouth. I had no idea what the cost would be like so this was super helpful to me! Enjoy your weekend!

Michele Renee said...

We were watching "Sixteen Candles" recently and the Anthony Michael Hall character had headgear and it was hysterical. I have been avoiding making an ortho appt -- my 8 yr old has a small mouth and an overbite. My 12 and 11 yr olds are not perfect but pretty lucky. So we'll know an opinion soon. When the ortho fights me on when is the best time to start I can tell him that I had braces at age 28 and mine moved in place beautifully with a two-year treatment. Am green with envy on the child-free weekend.

Ginny Marie said...

I echo the jealousy of a child-free weekend! The dentist tells us Lily will need braces, but she's only 4. How does he know? *sigh* He's probably right!

Stephanie said...

"Honey, are you forgetting your entire family?"

I laughed out loud when I read that. Scott's got the same underbite and had the surgery for it. I have an overbite so our chitlin has a perfect jawline.

Laura's new hardware doesn't look so bad, but it does make my mouth hurty. Enjoy your childless weekend!

Elizabeth said...

My sister had to wear head gear at night when she was in 5th or 6th grade. I laughed my butt off. Then she also had braces, and some other weird thing.

She does have absolutely beautiful teeth now, if that makes you feel better.

A Lawyer Mom's Musings said...

Damn. That palate expander looks scarey as hell. Girlfriend, I need to send you a box of Frownies, pronto.

The Dental Maven said...

Hey Suburban Matron! I'm always out here, like a bad penny I keep turning up. You need anything let me know - I make housecalls and blogcalls. But sounds to me like you've got full control of the situation.

Michele said...

There is no diving in my shallow gene pool either. Have a fun child free weekend.

Keely said...

Owie! I have no experience with any kind of mouth hardware because I inherited a big mouth (haha). I have room for all my wisdom teeth and then some, and so does hubby. Although as I get older my teeth are harder to floss. My dentist told me teeth naturally want to crowd to the front for some reason. It's like they're trying to escape.

Casey said...

Youch. As someone who spends a pretty penny on dental work every year, I'm so sorry. That bionic contraption does look cool though. Enjoy the adults-only weekend!

fraught said...

The pediatric dentist, Dr. Highly Recommended, told us when M was 36 months old that he would probably recommend just pulling ALL her front teeth (as in 8, yes) when the first ones fell out. So as to make room and see if that would help her wicked crossbite. At least I think that's what he said; I had a strange buzzing in my ears by that point. Frankly the bionic contraption when she's 8 sounds a lot better to me. I'll stay tuned...

Becky said...

Stephanie, ha! I forgot Scott had that surgery. They are a tribe of prominently-chinned people! But we love them.

Thanks for the vote of confidence, Dental Maven. And yes, LM, send Frownies, 'cause every time I have to turn that key, I'm furrowing here! Though the child free weekend may smoothe my brow.

Amy said...

Don't worry--I had one of those thingys, and it didn't really hurt. I see one of them and much more in our future with Ava. Glory be!

And I like my prominent chin. After all, it's why, very occasionally, someone tells me that I look like Reese Witherspoon. I don't really, but it's nice to hear!

Coffee with Cathy said...

It's so good that you're taking care of these problems right now because they only get worse when you tackle them as a grownup. Exhibit A: Me. Anytime you want some adult oral-surgery stories to scare you straight, just ask. In the meantime, have a great weekend!

Wendy said...

Hey you should come up with some kind of scheme in which all the grandparents with the bad tooth genes have to pitch in and pay half!

I know your daughter will be so thrilled when this is all over and will be so proud of her "new" teeth.

bsouth said...

I had a plate when I was younger. it was sore but worth it, it worked wonders in my mouth. I had fixed braces too - same thing really.

A child free weekend - you lucky duck! Hope you have a lovely time.

Patrick McBride said...

So Laura has entered the orthodontics world! I did not inherit the underbite, but remember my orthodontic devices well! (I believe Scott's jaw surgery was the same as Amy's though). Anyways, I'm enjoying reading what's going on with yall!

melondonkey said...

i'll feel guilty if i win, but i can't resist a shot at free stuff.

crazylovescompany said...

how the hell did you take that picture of her mouth?

Becky said...

Ha! Crazy L.C., that's not her mouth--it's a pretend model mouth like they have in the dentist's office.

And MelonDonkey, the giveaway is the other post! Maybe I'll move you over there.