Thursday, January 11, 2007


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...


booklogged said...

Owwwwiiieee! Give him my sympathies. Some to you to for being a good mother. He will appreciate it in the future.

Lotus Reads said...

Poor little guy - he's going to be in agony for a while, but it will all be worth it in the end. I'm glad you have an orthodontist you trust and who will both listen and talk to you - makes it that much easier. Poor you, too, I hadn't realized how much suffering you went through with your teeth, ouch!

J said...

Oh MY GOD! I thought I had the worst braces story, with an orthadontist who said the F word the first time he looked in my mouth...but I went through NOTHING compared to you. I had braces for 5 years, headgear, rubber bands, lost 5 adult teeth, but at least I never had to have my JAW broken. Crazy!

I wish they had had those expanders when I was young...could have saved me some grief.

I remember when Maya had hers put in, and she cried out in pain because she accidently touched the outside of her cheek. I would have done anything at that moment for it to be me again, not her. I feel for your little guy. He'll be better off for it, and hopefully, this will be one time only type thing.

beenzzz said...

Melissa, I am so sorry. Your poor little boy! That would break my heart too. I hope he gets used the rpe soon.
Sounds like you went through a lot with some of these procedures. I hope h doesn't have to go through as much as you did.

hellomelissa said...

booklogged-- just wish i could take away all the pain and frustration! i'm powerless!

lotus-- i KNOW it will be worth it in the end, as with any good struggle.

j-- it's good to hear another parent's point of view... i'm not the only one!!

beenzzz- yep, i went through too much, and i won't put these guys through that much, even if it means having imperfect teeth.

da mommy said...

OH my, your poor little guy!! My DD is getting ready to have upper AND lower expanders placed two weeks from today, what should I expect? I'm really worried about her, she has a high pain tolerance but is a control freak (like her mama) and emotionally melts down if anything is emotionally painful or even WORSE, embarrassing. We just moved and she is in the 7th grade, does it really get any worse? poor thing...

Dara Kane said...

Soon my son will also start his orthodontia treatment with R.P.E and I have concerns. I am trying to gather as much info as possible so I can ask our Dr. intelligent questions and sooth my son when and if he has anxiety about the procedure.

Do you have any good tips or advice to share?