Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Ankylosis For One

Please let me begin by saying that I am FULLY aware that today’s events discussed below are NOT the end of the world. 


But…I am still reeling from receiving a bit of “less than desirable” (some may call it bad) news today, so take me with a grain of salt, if you could.

And nod your heads as you tilt them a bit to the side, and make the “I’m sorry…” face.

You all know what I mean…that face when someone tells you news which to them is TERRIBLE and to you it’s “Eh, it will be fine.” But you can’t exactly say that to them.

On the inside you might be rolling you eyes a touch. I don't judge that; we do our fair share of eye-rolling here at the PBA.

So...now that I have tried to convince myself that this is NOT a big deal, let us continue. I’m sure that you can’t wait, what with all this build up.

Today I took the PBA to the orthodontist. This is not the first visit for either one. They have, in fact, been many times. They have both had expanders (the 10yo has had two of them actually; the dog ate the first one when it was functioning as a retainer and my son had left it on his nightstand…which happened to be the perfect height for Indy to reach it; but he needed another round of expansion anyway, so that wasn’t a huge deal.) and lip bumpers…both to widen the arch thereby theoretically making room for all the teeth.

And the 12yo has been wearing (for a minimum of four hours/day...also in theory) a tooth positioner which holds the teeth in place until he loses the rest of his baby teeth (he’s still holding on to about 4 or 5 of them) and can go into braces.

The 10yo still has 11 baby teeth (for those who may not remember, you lose 20...so he’s not even 50% of the way there at age 10; he’ll be 11 in March).

One other thing I’d like to add here/take the blame on here is that I, myself, have what dentists and orthodontists term as “the world’s smallest mouth”. And lest you think that I only passed “bad genes” to the 12yo in the form of his lazy eye, I also passed down “the world’s smallest mouth” to my 10yo; in both cases, the gene manifested itself in a much more degerative way than when I myself had it.


So…all that rambling to get to this: the purpose of today’s appointment was to take new x-rays on both boys to see how things are progressing and when the next phase might begin.

The 12yo went first and everything was happy, happy, joy, joy: standard braces for him…we can start as early as January or possibly summer…still waiting on those baby teeth, but could actually begin braces soon if wanted. The cost wasn’t horrible but higher than expected (always is, isn’t it?). We’re looking into dental insurance…to see what it covers, because in the past it wasn’t great so we never bothered to get it.

But I digress...

Then it was the 10yo’s turn, and the boys switched seats so he could move next to the orthodontist.

I was seated across from the orthodontist. I could see his face when he saw the 10yo’s x-rays for the first time.

And he was speechless. 

For several minutes.

So the boys and I sat there making jokes (it’s what we do when we’re nervous…don’t judge). And the doctor looked in the 10yo’s mouth. And he looked back at the xrays.

And he finally said, “Wow.”

And not in a way that he was really excited about what he saw.

I started giggling; because that’s the OTHER thing I do when I’m nervous.

He gave us the DL (I know you're all young and hip and trendy, but that means "down low"...did I even use that right? I don't even know); I’ll give it to you in my own words, because I didn’t record the conversation.

I thought about whipping out my phone to do so, because even at the time, in spite of my “trauma”, I was thinking, “This is going to be a fabulous blog post…ok, maybe not fabulous, but it will be a post nonetheless.”

I might have a problem...

According to the doctor, the whole upper jaw could “easily” be fixed with traditional braces with springs and rubber bands down to the lower. The worst part of it was that my child’s midline is off-center, but that’s nothing compared to the hot mess going on with the bottom jaw.


OK to be fair he didn’t say “a hot mess” but I could see it in his eyes.

And I was thankful that he didn’t say, “This is the worst case I’ve ever seen!”…because no one wants to be that: “the worst case.”

Before I continue with my rant, here is the x-ray just so you can follow along…because when the orthodontist was talking, I stopped fully listening when I heard the word “surgery”.

I'm on the verge of tears just looking at this picture...
Yes, I said surgery. That was NOT a word on my radar for today.

Or any day, actually.

As I previously stated, the 10yo has 11 baby teeth still hanging on. And perhaps the reason that they’re still hanging on is a little thing called “ankylosis”. When the doctor said it, even my etymology wasn’t helping me, so thankfully Google came to my rescue.

Of course, I knew what "osis" meant (who doesn't, right?) but "ankyl" was not in my vocabulary (by the way "ankyl" means bent or crooked; a joint locked in one position; "osis" means abnormal or diseased...ah, fun with etymology! You are welcome!)

Here is a website if you want to know more about ankylosis, but I shall give you a very brief synopsis; basically to me, it sounds kind of like impacted teeth (I equate it with impacted wisdom teeth, because I had those…on their SIDES those teeth were…so clearly I have no idea why my child would have such extreme orthodontia issues, right? Must be his dad’s side of the family…), and whereby the teeth fuse to the jaw bone…so that right there sounds good.

I was secretly glad when I read more about ankylosis in the privacy of my own home that I had been clueless as to its meaning while sitting there in the doctor’s office…the tears might have flowed.

As an aside, I promise to try not to Google any more about it...until we have the appointment with the surgeon. I can be a little dangerous when armed with a tiny bit of data. WebMD is not always your friend, boys and girls.

For the record, I only cried twice during the appointment…but only after the 10yo went back to the waiting room with his brother; he is unaware that I was crying so let’s try to keep it that way. He was scared enough as it was so he doesn’t need to know that his mama is scared too.

(He even stopped making jokes once he heard the word “surgery”. That tells me all I need to know.)

There’s plenty of time for that discussion to happen. And he knows me well enough to know that I’ll be worried whether I say it aloud or not.

I’m not great at Poker, let’s just say that.

So…he will see an oral surgeon after the beginning of the year wherein they will take a 3D x-ray to see exactly where everything is located within this hot mess. Surgery may happen as soon as we can get it scheduled and approved; it’s also possible that the surgeon will recommend that we wait a year.

And what will happen in the surgery has several different outcomes. The ankylosed teeth might be cut out, as well as those bottom molars which are crazy-crooked. Then once the remaining permanent bottom teeth are straight and where they need to be, having left space for implants, he would have implants put in (probably as an older teenager) to take the place of the ones which were pulled.

Or just the ankylosed teeth (look at me using my new vocabulary word!) could come out and once the crazy-crooked molars erupt, they would be pulled over into position using braces.

And there might be other options out there too...yeah! I love surprises!

At least that’s what I think he said. It’s all kind of a blur…I told you that the word “surgery” threw me (ok, all of us) for a loop, so I’m feeling just a bit wonky here.

Bottom line, there are several ways this could play out and we won’t know anything for a few weeks.


If there’s anything I love to do, it is to wait patiently. 


  1. Wow. Just wow. So sorry...I think that's the right thing to say? Wishing you the best possible outcome.

  2. I'm no expert in mouth x-rays, but even I could tell that wasn't close to normal. I'm so, so sorry. None of this sounds the least bit pleasant.
    When I first saw your title, I thought you were going to be talking about dinosaurs for some reason. See, there is a dino called ankylosaur? I really wish your post had been about dinosaurs.
    I am praying for the lot of you, including his oral surgeon.

    1. Yes, there is a dinosaur called ankylosaurus (which means "fused lizard"...and yes, I Googled it to make sure...)...I wish this post was about dinosaurs too.

      Thanks for the prayers...we appreciate them!

    2. I too went to dinosaurs. I wish it was dinosaurs! Ok so have you chosen a surgeon? What a lot of time to think and worry I pray for peace for you. I've seen a few ortho x-rays and the top is at least nice looking, easy fix. Poor kid. We too wait until all the baby teeth are gone before braces, I don't feel like paying for braces twice per child. Keep us posted!

  3. It is never a good sign when a doctor is quiet for minutes on end. And though your son's predicament isn't the end of the world, it certainly is a big deal, and you have my sympathy and prayers. (Actually, one of my favorite soapbox topics is about judgment. Life is not a competition, and just because one person's trial seems easier or harder than yours, doesn't make him less or more worthy of compassion.) Hang in there, stay off of WebMD, and try to enjoy Thanksgiving!

    1. Yes, thank you for the reminder that life's not a competition and you can't compare your circumstances to anyone else's...but I still feel like even though this is bad, it's not "the worst thing ever" and am trying to keep that in mind.

      Yes, staying off WebMD...you guys check it out all you want, just don't tell me what you find. :)

  4. Good Morning, I started following you a few days ago...I saw your blog through Kristi...I love your blog and it its always quite "random" this one is not so random...I am not a teeth expert or a X-Ray expert...I am so sorry your little guy has to go through this. I'm sure everyone will be fine but I do know the worry that we do for our children. Wishing your family the best possible outcome and a speedy recovery! Kristi is right stay off of the internet...Have a wonderful Thanksgiving! Marisa B

    1. Thank you so much for following me and for your words of encouragement, Marisa. As you said, I am usually more light-hearted than this, but this was one of those things in front of me that I needed to process, and writing always helps me do that. And I knew my bloggy community would understand and be very encouraging. So thank you for that. :)

      I hope I haven't scared you away, BTW!

      And I promise (to try) to stay off the Internet...you have a Happy Thanksgiving as well! :)

  5. Yikes! You know, I'm such a worrier that something like this would blow my mind, but isn't it wonderful that we have technology and understanding that will make for a miraculous difference in your 10 year old's life?

  6. Ok, I'm here...but only for a second...in the last 24+ hours, I have been on the computer probably all of 15 minutes (that includes work today-- NO INTERNET...ack!!) and that was last night (oh wait, I took the time to set up some posts and FB stuff awhile ago)...but that's it. All that to say, I did read this post from my phone last night ....and like Christine, I'm no x-ray tech, but even I can tell that's seriously messed up...and ...(I'm just ditto-ing everyone else's comments) that although it isn't the end of the world thing, it IS a big deal in YOUR world and in 10yo's too. (It reminds of my un-thankful post about lice awhile back...not the end of the world, but a big deal in mine at the moment---you did your post without swearing though, so kudos to you!! ha!) Anyhooo, prayers for you and for 10yo...

    I actually initially logged on to find your salted pretzel yumminess recipe... I should really think about writing it down, but ...this way, it gives you more hits to your posts! ;)


  7. The only thing my daughter inherited from my husband is his freakishly small mouth. And with it came all sorts of orthodontic nightmares, so I understand COMPLETELY. My fervent prayer is that you have good dental insurance. And I highly recommend an attractive oral surgeon, as you will be spending a lot of time there (my daughter had 14 baby teeth extracted, because her mouth was so small there was no room for the permanent teeth to come in). Prayers to you all; he will handle the surgeries better than you will.