Thursday, August 21, 2008

Head Gear

I had no idea that head gear even still existed. My seven yo Dante was born with a large underbite. When his first teeth came in on the bottom, he looked like a cute little bulldog. Now the cute puppy teeth are turning into a bite problem. (HE isn't biting, but rather his teeth aren't lining up properly.) So along with our oppressive mortgage, we have now invested a good 10 grand into orthodontia work. He started out with a bar like spacer across the back of his bottom teeth to prevent them from tilting backwards and to spread the bottom mandible to accomodate his larger upper jaw. Last month he got a another spacer that attaches to his top molars and form fits the roof of his mouth. A metal wire hook lies agains his canines. Stage III: rubber bands attach to those hooks and also to his new head gear. It is a mask like contraption that fits around his face to keep his chin from moving more forward and to pull his top jaw out more. The goal: Stop the projection of his chin and improve his bite and have his teeth line up.

This whole 10 plus year committment was hard for me to make. I kept thinking about my older sister stuck in a Milwaukie Brace for scoliosis and 6 years of braces that didn't work and then she ended up having to have oral surgery, anyway. What a nightmare social life she must have had. (Not that she ever once complained about it-at least not that I remember. But then she is seven years older than me and we didn't really run in the same circles. I do remember trying on that Milwaukie Brace a few times when whe wasn't looking thinking she was so cool. I tried the retainers a few times too but they never fit.) I also remember my own social hell growing up and was giving myself anxiety attacks trying to decide what to do. Allan and I decided to go ahead and do it. I consciously made an effort to present it all in a fun way. All this dental work has become JEDI TRAINING. (who knew that 30 years after Star Wars originally came out, we would become official Star Wars geeks. I get it from my kids, not the other way around!) The spacers equal youngling training, the head gear has become initiation to becoming a Paduwan. (For you non-Starwarians, it is 1st and 2nd stages in becoming a Jedi Knight. ) I think we may be overdoing it though. While at the beach (Dante's 'favorite place in the whole wide world,') he kept asking me when we were leaving to go and get his head gear. He bugged me ALL DAY about wanting to go to the orthodontist. He wants to wear his 'droid face' to school, too. I draw the line at wearing it to school. I am all for personal identity and being strong emotionally I have learned from personal experience that the 'FREAK' label never goes away. He may be in a nice small protected Catholic school, but kids are still evil no matter how hard you pound love and Jesus and religion into their heads. I would rather he learn about mean kids later than sooner. So instead I will be the mean mommy and NOT allow the head gear at school. I am continually reminded that times DO used to be that children were forced to endure huge social injustices, real or perceived. (Pimples and a drinking age of ain't fair!) Having a sister who lived through head gear hell, and my living through mean kids taunts, I hope to shield my own from the same. (I'll just post picutes online for the whole adult world to see instead!) He is really disappointed that he in banned from the device during school hours. Between that and forcing him to brush those thousand dollar teeth and making him eat anything green and that grew on a plant, I really AM the meanest mommy ever.

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