Yesterday Jax and I took the two and a half hour drive down to Joplin, Missouri to start his Orthotropics treatment. His feelings were relatively benign about the whole thing as we talked on the way down. When we got there Dr. Detar showed Jax the expander that he would be wearing for the next 4-6 months. The doctor inserted it and made the adjustments needed. It was set to the side and next they prepared and installed Jax’s braces. A couple brackets popped off his baby teeth and had to be glued back on. Then they put the expander in for the full effect. Jax panicked and started gagging so we quickly removed it. After a break we tried again which didn’t go any better. So we decided to hold off inserting the expander until Jax adjusted to the change of having braces. He did really great but was a little overwhelmed. Getting the wire put on the brackets was a little rough for him. I was worried that he may be too young to handle all of this.
After we left Detar’s office we went in search of an ice cream place. We found Andy’s and had some delicious custard. It was a distraction and a perk for Jax. Being a mother of four I don’t often get to spend one on one time with my children away from my other children. So getting custard was a special treat. During the ride to the ice cream place we tried inserting the expander several times. Jax showed great effort and I was really proud of him for trying. The child has had a super sensitive gag reflex since he was born. We headed back home and Jax kept trying to keep the expander in for longer durations. He told me that he was fine with the braces but didn’t want to have the expander. That it was no fun and he didn’t like having to do any of this.
Over the course of the next two hours he was able to keep the extender in his mouth for longer periods of time. He did best when he wasn’t focused on it and watching a movie. By the time he got home he was pretty proud of himself for being able to keep it in for so long. When he saw his siblings he was super excited to show them his mouth and all the goodies he got with his Orthotropics. A water flosser, three sided tooth brush, and some wax are awesome to a seven year old. As the evening progressed Jax flipped his perspective. He was no longer having any issues with his expander and kept it in all evening and all night. The pressure of the braces on the other hand made his gums hurt and he was in pain. He told me he’d keep the expander but didn’t like the braces. Poor kid. He had mushroom soup for dinner while the rest of us ate pork chops and zucchini with rice. I gave him Ibuprofen to help him with the pain earlier in the day. At night I gave him some melatonin to help him fall asleep faster.
This morning he struggled at breakfast eating his oatmeal so I gave him some more Ibuprofen. He’s doing much better more. Less complaining about the pain and more goofing around instead of doing his math sheet. So overall it was a rough start but it’s getting better. He adapted pretty quickly in reality. In a few days the pain won’t be so bad. Tonight I will start enlarging the expander by one tiny adjustment. We will continue that each night until his next appointment in 3 weeks. The braces make him look older to me but he’s still my baby and I have to remind myself that this is best for him in the long run. I think he’s young enough that any teasing will be milder than in middle school, and less traumatic than in high school. We’re trying to encourage him to feel special about having them. He goes to enrichment one day a week starting next week. That’s the only interaction I’m worried about since I’m not there to help. He also has co-op but I will be around and can help him explain how neat it is that he gets to have braces. It’s all in perspective. Being positive is key to a happy life. This is going to benefit his character in the long run I think.
For more details on Orthotropics and why we choose this method please read my previous post.