Wednesday, June 12, 2013

First trip to the dentist

When Grace was born there were three things that our midwife checked for immediately.  She inspected the severity of Gracie’s cleft lip, she checked to see if she had a cleft palate in addition to the lip, and she examined the baby’s gum line to determine if that too was impacted by her cleft.  Thankfully, our little gal was not born with any malformation to her palate.  To say that this was a relief would be a huge understatement.  We quickly learned that Gracie’s lip was a unilateral incomplete cleft and was not bilateral, which was also such an answer to prayer.  After the nurse check our little babe out, she informed us that the upper gum line (the alveolus) had been affected and that our plastic surgeon would give us more details on what this would entail in our next appointment.

What we learned was that when Gracie’s lip fell short of completely attaching in the middle, her upper gum line did as well.  This meant that Grace would need to have an additional surgery called “alveolar bone graphing” at around age 6 and the operation would involve a procedure that would replace the missing bone with bone material from another area of her body.  We also learned that often times kids with a split gum never get the one to two teeth that would normally grow down in that area.  This meant that if the teeth did not come in, Grace would have a gap in her gum line even after her bone graphing and the space would need to be filled artificially with a dental implant or two.  These implant(s) would be replaced and change in size as Gracie grew.

We were reassured that while the alveolar bone graphing was definitely needed down the road, there was still a chance that Grace would get teeth in the split in her gum and would therefore not need artificial teeth… translation, she will need surgery but there is a chance that we won’t have to pay the who knows how much, on artificial teeth in addition to her orthodontic costs.  We hoped for the latter.

This brings us to last week and Gracie’s first visit with the orthodontic team that will work with her for the next several years.  First, I must say, the father/son team were some very awesome dudes!  They were engaged, super child friendly and when the younger of the duo walked in, Grace reached out because she wanted him to hold her, haha!  The babe’s teeth were examined, cleaned and flossed, just your standard dentist stuff.  As expected, she was not a fan of the flossing but she also didn’t meltdown, which was a relief.  Me and G got an A+ from Gracie’s dentist on the condition of her teeth (yippee!) and he told us that of all the patients that have been referred to him by our plastic surgeon, Gracie’s lip is the best work he’s seen!  We know that there is a small chance he tells this to all his parents of cleft kiddos, but either way it was still great to hear. 

The BIGGEST and best news we received from Dr. C, was that he is fairly certain that Grace has teeth working their way out in the split in her gum!  I hope he's right!  :)

Here are a few cell phone pics from Gracie’s dentist day.  
They’re a bit blurry but cute all the same.  :)

6 comments:

  1. Such cute pictures. I cannot believe how well behaved she was at the dentist. It's hard enough for us to get a toothbrush in the boys' mouths.

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    1. Awe, thanks! I think the teeth brushing helped her to not freak out when the dentist had to dig around in her mouth. We only brush her teeth once a day (even though we should brush twice) but we got a good report card, so I guess once is enough, hehe.

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  2. I would never have thought that a tooth wouldn't come down in the split. See what I'm learning.
    I'm with the dentist. That's some pretty swell work there :)
    Here's to minimal work needed in her future.

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    1. Yeah, there are all sorts of issues that come along with a cleft. Some kiddos have hearing and severe sinus problems in addition to the dental stuff. Thus far we have been so blessed! Grace passed her hearing test @ 3 months, she has shown no signs of sinus issues and it looks like her teeth are going to come in too! We're feeling very thankful. :)

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  3. What great news! I hope he's right!

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Thanks so much for keeping up with our little family! We love reading your comments and will get back to you as soon as we can.

K+G+g+w ♥

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