Tuesday, February 24, 2009

A very sad day...

Today was the first time I cried in a long time. Infact I can't remember the last time I cried (besides in movies). Usually I am a cry baby but somehow I have gotten tougher and less emotional. But today I got news that really hurt my heart.

Jada has some pretty serious teeth issues. I know that may not sound like a big deal but it makes me sad to think about what she may have to go through until her permanent teeth come in and then maybe even beyond that. Plus it is going to be hard work for me to fight to protect her teeth and keep her teeth from falling out. Here is the story:

As soon as Jada's upper tooth erupted I noticed it was a very yellow color. I kept scratching at it thinking it was plaque. I began brushing her teeth at a very young age because I kept on thinking I could clean the tooth. Then as her other teeth came in I just never really paid attention anymore. I just got used to her yellow teeth.

At Jada's one year check up, her pediatrician said that it looked as if Jada was missing her enamel on her teeth. This was my first time ever looking so closely at her teeth and I completely agreed. I had noticed months ago that she had several chips on her teeth and that it looked discolored but I just didn't ever worry about it. Jada's pediatrician said we should see a pedodontist right away.

Today was Jada's appointment. At first the dentist immediately said that she did indeed have enamel but it was 'weak enamel' and would be prone to decay, cracking or breaking all together, discoloration, etc. She essentially has very weak and fragile upper teeth. The dentist preceded to ask me about family history and infant dental problems since this is commonly caused by bad genes. I didn't really know of any but I think my maternal grandma had dentures at 16 (not sure if that is a rumor or not). So the dentist began suggesting it could have been caused by medications that I took while pregnant or within the first few months of Jada's life. Baby teeth are formed in the second trimester and medication could affect the development of her teeth. But I was vigilant in any medication that was put in my body while pregnant. I didn't take my prenatal vitamins as much as I did with Riley but I did take them and I didn't put anything else harmful while pregnant or breast feeding. Lastly, the dentist suggested that her teeth problems could be caused from any injury sustained to her mouth while in the womb or in the first few months of her life. I explained about Jada's complicated birth and how her mouth was locked open while in was in labor and how for 45 minutes Jada's open jaw was repeatedly being jammed into my pelvis so much that Jada was black and blue ALL OVER her face when she was born. The dentist seemed to be satisfied with this solution. I was too.

I was told to come back in 6 months and we would compare her four upper teeth that have the problems to any new teeth that will come in by then. At that point we will discuss putting CROWNS on her upper teeth! Did you hear me?????????????? CROWNS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Crowns on a one year old!!!!!!!!!! I wanted to cry! See, baby teeth are critical for holding space in one's mouth while the permanent teeth are still forming and developing. If Jada's baby teeth were to fall out or become seriously infected then she would loss those teeth and consequentially leave the reserved space that is was holding for the day the permanent teeth would be ready to erupt. This can cause all types of problems on teeth which are designed to be in place for the rest of your life. They need a good start to be healthy long lasting teeth. It is critical that Jada do not lose FOUR teeth so it might be necessary to go ahead and crown them since we know she is susceptible to losing them.

As if that wasn't bad enough, I came home and decided to research 'weak enamel' on the internet. This is when things got very emotional. I read lots of articles and looked at lots of pictures of young children with severely decayed teeth. I don't want my little girl to have to go through all this. I know there are so many worse things that could be wrong with her but I think every parent wants their kids to be beautiful and thinking that she might have abnormal teeth makes me so sad. Having done my research I am now so paranoid about helping to protect Jada's teeth to the best of my ability. I will have to brush her teeth at least once a day but really should at least twice. Absolutely NO SUGAR! Sugar in by far the leading cause of tooth decay. This is going to be very hard but I think if I have to give her sugar then I will brush her teeth immediately after. I might even have to start flossing to be extra careful. Another change that I have to make is that all her food has to be warmed up since cold food or drinks might cause pain and sensitivity. I think she is fine with room temperature. This was interesting to be told this about the cold sensitivity because I remember when Jada was a baby and started teething I used to give her the cold ice rings to suck on and she HATED them. She would throw them as soon as they touched her teeth. I always thought that was a little weird. Then when I started giving Jada baby food it was a big struggle between her and me. She would cry the whole time she was eating and I would get upset and it was just unpleasant for all of us. See, with Riley I would just pull the food out of the fridge and give it to him. I never even knew that people warmed up baby food. I never knew it was an option. One day when Jada was about 8 months I read the label and it said to warm the food up for 15 seconds. I started doing that and then all the sudden she started eating baby food. Even to this day if I give her yogurt or anything else from the fridge she gets this shocked look on her face. All these things and memories are finally making sense.

Jada's whole life I have been certain something was wrong with her. No one believed me but I knew something was not right. She always seemed to be in so much pain. My pediatrician tried to diagnose all types of things Jada might have but nothing seemed to help. I was planning on getting a new pediatrician because I knew something was wrong with her and it seemed to be beyond my pediatricians knowledge. The last month, Jada has been so much better. Happy even. I have a theory. I am not sure if it is right but it makes sense. Poor little Jada's teeth have always been hurting her which has prevented her from eating enough food and drinking enough milk. Even when Jada was breastfeeding she was acting like she was uncomfortable. She would latch on but be pulling away from me as if she wanted to stop feeding but she knew she was hungry. It was not fun for me to have her pull on me and I was very excited to stop nursing at 11 months. Anyway, Jada is in her 7% for her weight but the 85% for her height. She is quite underweight for her height. The last month when I realized (which remember I said she has been much happier this last month) that she was very skinny I began forcing her to eat much more food and I stopped breastfeeding all together. Jada still doesn't eat very much and hasn't gained much weight yet but she probably is getting alot more food then before which has been making her more happy. I am sure her teeth still bother her but I think she might be more used to it now or she just prefers dealing with the pain if it means she gets more food. I don't know, it is my own personal opinion but it explains soooooo much perfectly.

Poor Jada. I hope everyone will pray for her that it will only affect this four upper teeth and that the rest will remain healthy and strong.


Jessica said...

I'm so sorry to hear that! I can't imagine having to put crowns on a baby. My niece has 2 silver crowns on her front teeth. Her birthmom fed her nothing but sugar and certainly never brushed her teeth. You are doing great, and I'm so proud of you for figuring out what was wrong with her. Good luck!

*Jess* said...

I am so sorry, too :( Did the pediatrician or dentist ever talk to you about acid reflux disease? That, too, is a cause of weak tooth enamel and decay. It would also explain the "pulling away" at the breast during nursing. I'd look into it as a possible cause in addition to genetics.

Big hugs!
-Jessie Staska

Camille said...

I'm sorry about that! That is awful for Jada and for you. You are definitely right...things could be worse, but that is still no fun. Don't worry though, Jada is still beautiful!! She's got a gorgeous little face! :)

Natalie said...

Oh, that is so sad! I'm glad that you have finally found a solution. I can't imagine how difficult it is to know something is wrong but not know what it is and she can't say "Mommy, my teeth hurt!" Good luck!

Melanie said...

Sorry to hear about it, but I am so happy that there are finally answers for you!

nicole said...

Poor little Jada! It's so hard to have a baby that's in pain but has no way of telling you what's wrong. I'm so glad she's feeling a little better. Hopefully I'll see you guys soon!