Friday, May 2, 2008

A hat trick?

Well, unfortunately your are going to get the "annoyed" version of this diary entry. I just spent the last 30 minutes drafting the perfect diary entry and then somehow it disappeared while saving. It is really pretty disappointing because it was a great entry. Now you are going to get stuck with this crappy one. Oh well, good news must go on.

So, yesterday was a trip to the dentist for Sydney. I am shocked to report that her loose tooth may have absolutely nothing to do with late effects from treatment. Sydney seems to have a condition known as tongue thrust. For all of you tooth nerds out there, it is Sydney's right mandibular lateral incisor (26) that seems to be of issue. For all of you regular nerds like myself, this is the tooth just to the right of the middle two teeth on the bottom. The dentist likened Sydney's tooth loosening to a fence post. When you put a fence post in the ground it is very firm but, over time, as it is rocked back and forth, it eventually loosens. Although you probably won't be able to pull it out, it will just become looser and looser. The same affect is happening in Sydney's mouth. Every time she swallows her tongue is thrusting against her bottom teeth and this pressure is loosening her teeth. The tongue is a very strong muscle. Normally, we place our tongues on the roof of our mouth when we swallow but, somehow, Sydney has learned to do it by placing her tongue against her lower teeth. So, what do we do?

Well, as it turns out there are actually dental appliances that can be installed in her mouth to help correct this behavior. Unfortunately, these can be uncomfortable, can cause abrasions on the tongue and can cause speech issues. None of this sounds fun for Sydney. In the end, we elected to "train" Sydney to swallow differently. Believe it or not there are whole programs on tongue thrust and over the next 3 months we will take her through a series of exercises designed to teach her to swallow differently. Hopefully, this will alleviate the issue.

So, there you have it. Another benign ending to a potentially malignant situation. This completes our hat trick of auspiciousness.

Now, you know I would not have left without pestering the dentist with some hard hitting questions. Does this really mean that we can rule out late effects? Could this actually be caused by a malformed tooth? Could we be dealing with some kind of necrosis instead? His answer was that this was all still possible. However, he was leaning towards a more benign cause simply because she is not showing signs of other problems that would be consistent with these other maladies. Her teeth seem to be in good condition and her gums are healthy as well. This issue seems to be localized and there do not seem to be any other contributing factors. For the time being we will work to correct the issue we know we have and hope that it fixes loose tooth.

Well, I had best be off. Now that I have written this entry twice I am now further behind. Plus, if I am being totally honest, I am very excited to get back to working on some projects for the CNCF. I am doing some very, very cool things. Additionally I have a day full of meetings and tonight I will be driving to Houston for the 2nd Annual Amazing Grace Golf Tournament benefiting the CNCF.

I have purpose plastered all over the walls today.


Vickie said...

Thirty-five years ago we treated my sister's tongue thrusting using the behavioral approach. As my dim memory recalls, she balanced tiny rubber bands and cheerios on the tip of her tongue and did a variety of other exercises to strength and position her tongue (so it wouldn't be lazy, which I think led to thrusting). As an obnoxious older sister, I think my favorite part of her training was that we had a little cue, tongue clicking, we were all supposed to do if we caught her tongue thrusting. Imagine my delight to be able to "catch and correct" morning, noon, and night. It drove her crazy, but ultimately fixed her tongue thrusting.


Anonymous said...

My son has a tongue thrust (and an open bite) and had an appliance made for this. It was on the top of his mouth, inside of his teeth. It was 8 sharp prongs a tiny bit away from the roof of his mouth. The first 2 days were horrible, his tongue was bleeding and all I kept thinking was "what did I do?" After that all was fine and he got used to it. He had it removed last fall (2.5 years later) and his top teeth have come in, he still has a bit of a tongue thrust. But then again, so do I (I also went through the behavioral approach and it all just came back).

Good luck.