r.p.e. stands for "rapid palate expander" and h had one of these monstrosities cemented into his mouth today. although i accept that early intervention in an orthodontic sense can lead to greater orthodontic health in the future, it's still hard to watch my little guy suffer as i did with a mess of metal in his mouth.
the goal of the rpe is to create a wider palate, and thus more space in the jaw for teeth and tongue, and to encourage a better bite. h's mouth and jaw are tiny like his mama's, and his teeth are huge (also like his mama's) so there is a discrepancy that hopefully the rpe will address.
i have such mixed feelings about orthodontia! at the same time as i love it, i loathe it. i would be just about the ugliest girl on earth if it weren't for braces, headgear, retainers... the whole 9 yards, but i'm pretty sure it was all overdone in my case. by the end of my orthodontic history (not even 2 years ago) i had braces 5 times, headgear, retainers, bite splints, and both jaws cracked open and reset with metal plates and screws. i simply will not allow either of my kids to feel as violated as i did.
however, i think that my history has prepared me much better to care for and protect my children in this area. we are using the final orthodontist that i used (for my braces 2 yrs ago) and i trust him completely. he knows to expect 5,000 questions from me at every juncture, and is ready and willing to explain the ins and outs, the wheres and whys, the hows and whats. every argument i've been satisfied with, so we're starting our adventure with h.
the cost is astronomical, but the worst part is watching my boy cry at dinnertime because he couldn't swallow. he sobbed and drooled, proclaiming that he'd never again be able to eat. and he was hungry!! we tried several different food items, and by the end he was getting good at swallowing with large hooks pressing into his tongue. he can't talk properly, and to top the whole day off, we discovered that he is inexplicably missing a few of his second (adult) molars. they are just not there. at this point, i'm wondering if that's a GOOD thing so that he won't end up like me... having adult teeth pulled to make room. on the other hand, i'm wondering "DID I NOT DRINK ENOUGH MILK WHEN I WAS PREGNANT?!"
ah, well. it's been an emotional day. i'm beat. until next time, y'all...