Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Appointment with the Dentist

Rachel had an appointment this morning with the dentist. This dentist was recommended to us from the dentist on Rachel's Craniofacial team a couple of years ago. I was happy to discover she accepts our dental insurance, and it is at the recommendation of her staff that I found my new dentist, who happens to be her husband!!

I'm ashamed to say, it's been two years since I've had my kids to the dentist. But we're there now, and our insurance covers the new office and the girls both had pleasant experiences today, so we'll be better about going every 6 months now.

I had told Rachel ahead of time what they'd be doing, etc. She was happy to get there and see that they had TV's in the ceilings and that Kung Fu Panda had just started. She was even more excited when the hygienist gave her sunglasses to wear while she shone her bright light into her mouth. Rachel was such a big girl and a good girl while they took xrays of her teeth, even having to go back and repeat a film, and then do another xray that better showed the activity in her cleft aveolar ridge. She sat very still for the xrays and all through the cleaning too. She got to pick a treasure from the treasure chest and get a sticker and that made her happy. She was even happy when she got her very own goody bag - a new toothbrush, floss, toothpaste, and a little timer for brushing your teeth!The dentist came and checked out Rachel's teeth. She was very impressed with Rachel's lip repair. It always feels so good to hear professionals say that. LOL.

We knew Rachel would have orthodontic issues in the years to come. But it really hit me today when I saw that xray of her upper gum line and all her teeth jacked up and every which way. You sometimes 'forget' your baby was born with a birth defect because the obvious visual signs are gone - the lip has been repaired, the gapping, black hole has been repaired. No one can see how jacked up Rachel's teeth are, unless she smiles really big and you can see that something is a little off.

It was my goal today to get a picture of her teeth, to share here on her blog. You see the commercials for Operation Smile, or The Smile Train. You see the advertisements in magazines. Pictures of three or four year old children with unrepaired cleft lips. You can see how messed up their teeth are if they have a cleft in their aveolar ridge, their gum line. THAT is exactly how Rachel's teeth look behind her beautifully repaired lip. I explained to the hygienist that I keep an informational blog about Rachel's cleft and would she mind shinning her bright light so I could get a picture. She did better than that, she put this device in her mouth that props the mouth completely open for surgeries, etc. But those pictures turned out blurry. Rachel has a tooth up in her gum that can't be seen in this picture. It's a tooth we recently found! It's also a tooth I was told today we need to be making sure we get it clean and pay special attention to it. It's in a place that's hard to get, making it more susceptible for problems. The dentist applied some special sealant on a couple of those teeth, which should help.

Apparently Rachel has very porous teeth, something unusual for kids. Her teeth also have deep grooves, and as a result she has four teeny tiny little cavities in her big teeth in the back. Those will need to be filled. We go back in April to have those fixed. They take extra caution with kids and try to make the experience as positive as possible. So in addition to numbing the area, they will give Rachel some laughing gas for the two appointments. We need to keep Rachel's thoughts towards the dentist on the positive because she'll be dealing with dental issues for years and years to come. So whatever works!

Also looking on Xray, the dentist did say it looked like she was perhaps missing an adult tooth. Which is VERY common in children with cleft aveolar ridges. Something orthodontics will take care later down the road.

Overall, the dentist said she looked good. If you call four teeny tiny cavities and the fact their Mother hasn't had them to the dentist in two years, good. Rachel enjoyed the experience. She didn't quite get the needing to wait to eat or drink for a while afterwards (give the vitamins time to dry or soak in??). Rachel listened to the dentist and allowed me to help her tonight after she'd brushed her teeth. LOL.


Allison said...

Sounds like another successful appointment! I think I need to get Abby in to the dentist after her 2nd birthday, it's coming up!

John, Shannon, Broderick, Camden, and Adalynn said...

Adalynn just went for the second time and as much as I wanted them to do x-rays she said it was still too early. I just posted a picture on our blog of Adalynn's teeth as well, but definitely not as good of a shot as yours. She was one tooth facing front and back instead of side to side. Like you said, it is a reminder of the birth defect that I so often forget about. We still have a long road ahead of us, when it seems like we have already traveled so far.

Krissy said...

Thanks for posting the teeth pic! Rachel's gums look like they are a lot closer together than Drew's. I'm curious to see how Drew's tooth next to the front one of the cleft side comes in...

Joy Howse said...

Reading your account of the whole dentist experience makes me think of my own anxieties and then I start to tense up. I know that Aiden has a long dental road ahead of him and I am going to have to conquer my fears so I don't pass those to him. Alexis also has 4 cavities in her deep pocketed back teeth. We have a great dentist but can't afford it. :( Hate to have my child's care put on hold because of money. Mine is one thing, but I don't want my kids doing without. They haven't been in 18 months. Need to make them a priority.
Praying that Rachel will continue to love going to the dentist.