Monday, July 12, 2010

Who Needs Canine Teeth Anyway? We're A Cat Family ...

Agent 98 saw his orthodontist today. We have been waiting for his eye teeth to come in, making room for them before we can really progress with the braces. He won't get the bottom braces on until those two top teeth are dealt with. One's coming in slowly, and will likely need a little "nudge", by which I mean an oral surgeon will open a hole in his gum, attach some kind of bracket to the tooth, and attach a wire to that bracket, so that the orthodontist can begin slowly yanking it down into its proper position. Eww. And that's the good news.

The second tooth, the one on 98's left, not so much. That tooth is growing nearly sideways; in fact, since the neighboring teeth have proceeded to grow in since he got those top braces on, the wayward eye tooth has less guidance, and is moving even more out of alignment, making it look virtually impossible to bring down correctly.

We haven't ruled this out altogether, but the orthodontist isn't really holding out a whole lot of hope that the tooth can be rerouted. We'll know better after consulting with the oral surgeon later this week, but it looks like the decision to be made will be: does 98 get a bridge or does he get an implant?

How do I make that kind of decision for my 12-year-old?


  1. I guess I'm the nearest thing you'll find on this blog to an expert:

    When I was about 14, I had my two baby eye teeth yanked, ligatures (wires) wrapped around the adult teeth hiding happily atop the roots of the bicuspids behind them, and braces installed to pull them painstakingly into place. I have pretty mobile teeth so it all went fairly quickly, though the gum never really healed over the left one.

    Then I went to college where, while absent-mindedly gnawing on a pen cap, I broke that tooth. It was probably weakened by the process of pulling it in. So they installed a cantilevered bridge (capped the bicuspid and the bridge has a bar that runs behind the incisor to support it during a bite, but I can floss around it). That bridge has lasted 30 years and only had to be recemented once. Maybe never.

    I also have no adult lower canines. The babies lasted 40 years but needed to be replaced. So I had implants. They're pretty cool. In retrospect, the implant surgery was way less bogus than the surgery during which they installed the ligature. In fact, it was kind cool because my surgeon let me watch in a mirror as he cut open the gum to expose the bone, then drilled and tapped the hole and screwed in the implant.

    I think the implant experience may vary depending on how good your bone is. Mine is pretty good.

    The one drawback to the implants is that they seem to get food wedged underneath.

    I'm happy to talk to Geoffrey if he has questions.

  2. Oh, thanks so much for all that information, Eric. Yes, one of Geoff's troubles with an implant is that he is scant in the bone department; if we think he's going to want the implant, even if we do the bridge now and he want the implant later in life, we'd need to start the bone grafts now, if I understood the orthodontist correctly. It's reassuring to know the bridge has lasted as long as it has; I was wondering if a 12yo would outgrow it. I'm sure I'll have questions (and Geoff will, too) after we talk to the oral surgeon on Thursday. Thanks! - L