June 13, 2022

Well, that bites . . . literally

On April 26th, Reg had an ortho appointment at 4:30 pm. That feels like last week, and yet it was a month and a half ago. I just fumbled around with my giant desk calendar that sits on my island, so sure was I that this appointment was in May. 

Anywho, after the appointment Reg hopped in the car where I was waiting. "Only like 6 more weeks. Then I get my braces off." 

On our drive straight to travel ball, Reg complained a bit. We've been going to the same place since Ed was 3 years old and required an expander. Yes, THREE.YEARS.OLD. 

Ed's top and bottom teeth didn't line up right. He couldn't chew properly. He sucked on his food. When he was tired, he'd sit at the table almost like he was in a trance with his little lips pursed as he worked on his food. It's the face one makes when peanut butter is lodged on the roof of one's mouth. I'd constantly remind him STOP SUCKING, CHEW. He needed to make a concentrated effort to chew. 

I shared my frustrations with the dentist and he sent us to the ortho. Ed then wore an expander (maybe something even before the expander?) with headgear at night. The drool while he slept would collect in his chin strap, leaving him with a bright red, raw chin. 

At the ortho, Ed was a champ. Younger than most of their patients, the staff marveled at his willingness to cooperate, chit chat, etc. Plus he was as cute as a bug's ear. Ed's 21, so I've been going to this place for 18 years, if anyone's counting. 

A few years ago, the ortho retired. He'd recovered from something as a young man (lymphoma?). He retired early and planned to do volunteer work, because he wanted to give back after being blessed with his eventual good health. He was a great guy, always very engaging.

Through a gradual process, he handed the practice off to new people. Reg and Curly, who experienced the original group, feel the new people do not measure up. Wires don't fit quite right or get tightened too much, and pieces break off more regularly. The staff comes across as clueless.  

Early on, the new doc tried to get me to come in for a consult about THE PLAN, I was like OH, YOU JUST DO YOUR THING. All the explaining in the world will not make me any more knowledgeable about orthodontics. Save me the 1 hour consult, thank you very much. 

Needless to say, to get one kid closer to the finish line at this non-favorite place felt AMAZING. 


April 26, I sat in my car, ate my dinner from my thermos, and worked on my laptop while Reg was at travel ball. He came out at 8:15 pm. 

Climbing into the car:  OH, MY MOUTH. 

I thought it was just the pain from having braces tightened. Sadly, no. He took an elbow to the front teeth during practice. One tooth was now protruding the littlest bit, and was overlapping the other front tooth. 

Nooooooo!!!!! We were so close. 

I called the dentist. He was at the office on a board member zoom call meeting. He told me to bring Reg in. *This may or may not shock you, but I used to babysit for the dentist's kids when I was 12. 


Adding an extra trip to this off-the-beaten-path place was not ideal.

At the ortho a day or two later, they couldn't adjust anything yet. Too acute, but come back next week. In the meantime:  have x-rays at the dentist. Said I'd have to start bringing him in every 2 weeks after the following week. They tried to send me back to the dentist for x-rays, claiming he had the better equipment. There was some back and forth with a few unnecessary phone calls. Finally the dentist called me personally to assure me that he'd told them how to do their job that they needed to do x,y,z x-rays on x,y,z machine. 

How did they not know this? Now, I had to go BACK there for x-rays that they should've taken. Dentist was like, it's OK - you can just do it next week. No need to go back today. Sweet mother. 

We've been going every few weeks. On June 2nd, I sat in my car for an hour and 10 minutes for an appointment that should've taken a few minutes. What?


Reg later told me that he fell asleep in the chair, they'd left him laying there for so long. The office staff was like, OH, IT'S BECAUSE WE NEEDED TO TAKE SOME MORE PICTURES. HIS TOOTH IS CHANGING COLOR. More photos should not have taken that long, unless of course they don't know what they are doing, like which tooth do we take a photo of? 

My internal dialogue that had recently celebrated an end in sight for braces was now going: TOOTH CHANGING COLORS? WHAT NOW? WE'VE BEEN HEARING THAT THE TOOTH WAS LOOKING FINE. EVERYTHING'S FINE, RIGHT? 

Reg and I have an appointment at an endodontist later today. Can you hear that? It's me weeping. Poor Reg. Root canal? What are we looking at? No idea. Will the braces be extended? I'll keep you posted, in the meantime - dental nightmare stories? Clueless orthos? I'm afraid to ask. 


Nicole said...

Oh noooooo. No!!! You were so close! It's a nightmare of mine that one of my kids will have something happen to their teeth after years of orthodontia, but now I feel a bit bad thinking that because I haven't been going to the orthodontist for EIGHTEEN YEARS like you. Poor Reg but poor you! I remember when my younger son finished, it felt like suddenly so much time was freed up NOT going to the orthodontist. My older son was supposed to be 18-24 months in braces, ended up being 26 months. My younger son was supposed to be the easy one - one year in braces - but then the pandemic hit and he was delayed so much from not seeing the ortho for months, and then the ortho had put the hook for his elastics on the wrong tooth...long story short he was also 26 months. But I won't complain because it sounds like you have more road ahead of you with Reg. I repeat: oh nooooo.

Ernie said...

Nicole - I remember how the pandemic added so much time to your son's braces. Yikes. I am very ready to be done with ortho. Mini had braces twice. I must write a post about my own experience with orthodontics back in the day. All of my kids have required braces. Let's just say I remember back in the day when NOT every kid needed to go that route. Hmm.

Kara said...

I thought my streak of seven years with kids in braces was bad. You win! My youngest got hers out in March. The oldest and youngest are great about wearing their retainers. The middle kid- not so much. I want to get invisilign on my teeth, but I need to get like three root canals before they'll agree to that (I have bad teeth, I grew up without fluoride in the water).

Ernie said...

Kara - Seven years is long too. I never dreamt that all of my kids would require braces. Ed was very dedicated to wearing his rubberbands and was done with braces in record time. Can't say the other kids bother. Three root canals, shudder.

Busy Bee Suz said...

Oh my gosh. The saga continues. Poor Reg! I hope his tooth can be saved because getting a root canal and then a crown/cap...with braces? How does one even do that?

I have nightmare stories about myself, finally getting braces at 14 when I needed them much younger. (we were poor, my parents lived in different states, no one really cared...etc...) I remember having SIX teeth removed to even start the process; I had a mouthful of teeth. (Do I still have them? Maybe) Nothing was easy since I had them put on in Florida then went back to GA. The GA ortho didn't like what the FL ortho did and wanted to take them off and for me to have surgery to realign my jaws. WTH? It was a messy process and I finally go them off just before I met the Coach at 17.

I hope all goes well--Sending up good mojo Reg's way. Please keep us posted.

Beth Cotell said...

Oh no!!!!!! You were so close!!! Sarah broke half of her front tooth off in 2020 and had to get a root canal and the bottom half of her tooth capped. We were told the cap wouldn't last forever - roughly two years max and then she would need to get an implant. We are at the two year mark and it is holding strong so far but she has to be very carefuly when biting into things with her front teeth. I hope they can save his tooth.

Ally Bean said...

Well phooey! Things like ortho need to end. I had braces as a kid, then again as an adult. In both situations I lived for the end. I'm sorry to read this, obviously.

Ernie said...

Suz - I do believe the fact that he had braces on when he got hit, he ended up in better shape. We saw the endodontist guy yesterday. He thinks there is still hope that the tooth will be OK, so we wait. Next appointment in early August. Day after Yellowstone, remind me, because by then my brain will be fried, I fear.

The story of your teeth, yikes. That sounds awful. I've considered switching orthos, but we're SO close to being done. trying to finish up and move on. In the meantime, the doc yesterday recommended a mouth guard to Reg that is very thin and still allows a player to talk to teammates, etc. Need to get that ordered.

Ernie said...

Beth - OH NO - Sarah lost half a tooth? A front tooth, no less. That sounds so painful. I'm glad the tooth is hanging in there. The doc yesterday said he isn't giving up hope yet that the tooth will end up recovering. Fingers crossed.

Ernie said...

Ally - Yes, these braces can feel like a never ending process. We hope that this will not add a ton of time to his sentence. The doc did seem to think that the fact that he had braces on actually helped his situation. The doc is not yet ready to give up hope that the tooth will recover.

Bibliomama said...

FOR THE LORD'S SAKE, CHILDREN, GUARD YOUR MOUTHS. Eve took a ball to the teeth after a long year of baseball injuries. Matt was her coach and he said "I'm really sorry, sweetie, you have to go back out, we're playing short". I said "go finish the game, baby, and then Daddy's taking you to Dairy Queen and you never have to play baseball again".

Ernie said...

Ali - Reg hates wearing a mouthguard while playing basketball. Says he can't talk to his teammates. The endodontist suggested a mouthguard called SISU. It is more thin than most and a player can still talk (trash?). I have one on order from Amazon that should arrive later today.

Oh, poor Eve. Hope her teeth weren't cold sensitive after being hit, so she could enjoy the Dairy Queen.