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Anything is Possible if you Dare to Dream

January 27, 2009

All I want for Christmas is my two front teeth. . .

My generation all grew up on that now famous Christmas song. I remember when my ASD daughter lost her two front baby teeth at about 5.5 years and anxiously waited until her permanent teeth filled in the gap. We've been very lucky with our daughter. She has healthy teeth that came in relatively straight and has tolerated her braces well (okay maybe not well) for more than 1.5 years (mostly b/c I got adult braces at the same time.)

We're not so lucky with her almost 7-year-old ASD brother, who was premature, suffered from severe reflux from birth until recently, was diagnosed with asthma as an infant, and, as if all those factors aren't bad enough for baby teeth, has a congenital problem with his enamel or rather the lack thereof.

All of these factors resulted in major restorative oral surgery at age 4.5 and we are now facing another round of surgery next week, to repair, crown and/or remove his remaining baby teeth. Oh, and I forgot to mention that he's also extremely small for his age with a tiny jaw i.e. no room for permanent teeth.

So next week he goes back to the ER for his fifth surgery in less than 7 years. When he wakes up from the anesthesia he's going to have huge gaps in the front of his mouth where the 8 teeth that have to come out are currently located.

We have gotten through his prior surgeries by not telling him much of anything. We take Dr. Bear to the hospital with us, along with comfy blankets and stuff for our stay, we play while he gets his prophylactic breathing treatments and loopy juice (Versed, great stuff) and kiss him and Dr. Bear goodbye on the way to the OR, while he giggles away.

A hour, or two or three later, he comes back to us sleeping like an angel, until he wakes up feeling like a bear in a bear trap (Versed, nasty stuff). He screams, tries to yank out his IV and with any luck goes back to sleep for awhile while his pain meds. kick in.

Sounds like a routine, huh.


I have no idea how to explain to him that he's going to wake up without his teeth. We can't tell him before hand, he'll freak. He has major SID issues with his mouth, textures and food. Last time, all we said, once the nasty anesthesia hangover wore off, was that he got these great new silver teeth (expensive stainless steel crowns). This time all he will have left are silver teeth!

We know it's only for months, maybe a year or so, before his permanent teeth fill the holes. We also know that we don't have the luxury of removing these teeth one at a time, like most dentists would do as the perms come in. With a medically compromised child, you have to be aggressive. The last thing we want is to have to go back to the OR again in another year.

I keep praying that the next surgery will be his last. I will continue to do so, even though we know he has a 50/50 chance of needing sinus surgery again at age 8 or 9. We also found out during this go round that he has a narrowed airway. I guessed that a while ago, since he keeps getting croup, which he should have long out grown, but hearing it from a doctor hurts.

Still, we are very blessed, and once he gets over all this, he will probably have a great time wearing a variety of fake teeth.

He's a clown, that Charlie Brown.