Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Older Child Adoption Tooth Adventures

I apologize for my lack of posts over the last few days. We have been drowning in home school preparation and end of summer fun. I am adding a little preschool to the mix for Grace plus several additional subjects for Anthony so I am frantically trying to get organized. :) I am loving it! (Additionally, my computer monitor died which set me back a few days.)

This post has been brewing in my mind for quite some as time. As we walk this journey of older child adoption, my hope is to encourage others who will soon tread the same path and to provide information that might make your journey a little less stressful. :)

Oh, the adventures we have had due to poor tooth care. It appears that Anthony had never been to the dentist, and the little knowledge he did have of the "tooth doctor" was limited to visions of people's teeth being pulled without anesthesia. 

As you can imagine, Anthony was pretty nervous about having his teeth removed. We explained over and over that he would receive special "sleep medicine" so he wouldn't feel a thing. Finally, after his first little surgery at the oral surgeon's office, he promptly proclaimed upon waking up that, "Sleeeep medicine is gooood". :) His second round of work at the dentist office went splendidly with the laughing gas. However, the tooth with the most significant infection (which was removed yesterday) was a little more traumatic. 

The oral surgeon declared that it would hurt more for him to numb the gum than for him to just pull out the tooth. I hesitated, trying to remind him that Anthony comes from a culture that filled his mind with images of teeth being ripped out, but I was too late. I stood, frankly in horror, as he started to pull the tooth out. The look on Anthony's face ripped my heart out, and I was frozen, afraid to touch him, even in comfort, for fear of causing him to jerk and create more issues. It did only take about 30 seconds (so on one level I understand why he did it), but it was a horrible 30 seconds that felt like a lifetime.    

In the short time that Anthony has been with us, he has had three baby molars pulled due to abscess and infection, three cavities filled and sealant put on two permanent teeth. Additionally, he had three tooth tumors (tiny pearl-like pieces of enamel embedded in his gums) removed by the oral surgeon which were preventing an adult tooth from breaking through. However, even after the removal, the tooth has yet to make an appearance, so now we will have to visit an orthodontist to see if we can get the tooth to come in or if he will need a spacer put in until it does.  

Praise God we have dental insurance, but it still doesn't cover it all, so keep little things like this in the back of your mind as you prepare for the arrival an older adoption child. 

Dental care in orphanages, or consideration of the teeth at all, is definitely not a top priority. Our dentist told us she has over 30 children adopted from China in her care, and they all have significant decay and tooth deterioration. Many places are still feeding children sugar water in bottles which leads to horrible decay so don't delay in getting your precious ones to the dentist upon arrival in the country. Anthony's infection in one of his teeth was pretty significant so it was a very good things we didn't wait any longer. 

Here's to real life, my friends! :)


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