Wednesday 20 August 2014

Teeth and jaws

So we recently got to know of something called a Palatal Expander. It's a steel appliance that fits into the jaw, slowly expanding it over a period of months, and giving more space for the teeth to grow. We have known for a year or so that Ads might need such an appliance to correct his short upper jaw. Nevertheless I had put off doing any research on it until we saw an orthodontist that we liked and who could explain the whole thing to us in layman terms. When he did, it sounded so horrifying (a big ugly steel thing! in my baby's mouth! for a year!). Won't it hurt terribly? How will he eat and swallow? The questions were too many so I took a second opinion, with an equally nice orthodontist who advised exactly the same thing.
So with a sigh, I went back to our first dental clinic and agreed to get the expander inserted in Ads' mouth. Not that we had much of a choice - using an expander at this early stage, and adding braces in a couple of years, could well avoid years of expensive dental treatment in the future. 
I cringed when they fitted the thing in his jaw, even while the doc assured me that initial side-effects were minor- maybe headaches for the first couple of days, excessive saliva production, some slurring of speech. The last one continues even now though his tongue is adjusting to the appliance and his speech is definitely not as slurred as it was for the first week. Every morning and night, I have to fiddle around inside his jaw with a sharp pin to "activate" the appliance, which always makes me very nervous (I'm not great with things that require fine motor skills), and there's a lot of "Can't you open your mouth wide, you silly boy?" and "Ouch amma, you just poked me!".
Ads also can't eat anything sticky or hard until the expander sits inside the jaw - that means no pizza, nuts, apples etc. The pizza is a hard blow but we learnt our lesson well one evening when Ads forgot the rules and wolfed down 2 slices at a birthday party. S had to spend 45 minutes with a toothpick to painstakingly remove every errant bit of cheese from the expander. Never again! :(


  1. Oh, oh. That's the 'real life' part of being a parent. Tough.

    Wishing Ads all the best with the Palatal Expander.

    1. Real life indeed - picking cheese out of teeth :)


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