Fun Facts

Our family all have sweatshirts with T21 on them. I wear mine ALL. THE. TIME. Besides being super comfy, it's the go-to shirt for educating the masses. There are a lot of people who ask me what it means, and I get to tell them. It stands for Trisomy 21 - the medical term for Down syndrome. October is Downs awareness month, and I try to wear my comfy sweatshirt everywhere I go. Truly, people must get tired of seeing it. But that's alright with me because I'll never get tired of championing my son's cause.


You know what I worry about on occasion? Teeth. Micah's teeth, to be specific. At 6.5 years old and has yet to get a loose tooth. I get brave every now and then and put my fingers in his mouth to check because how else would I know? I just envision that whole scenario to be a nightmare. The sore tooth, his love of eating everything non-stop all day long, the sore tooth... I'm also envisioning anesthesia and extractions involved because the boy won't sit in a dentist's chair to even have a look-see inside the cavity of his mouth.

Fun times ahead, my friends. Fun times. Let's just hope that I'm exaggerating things a wee bit in my mind.

The slow loss of teeth isn't really uncommon for someone with DS, nor for someone in our family. They say teething patterns are hereditary. Sam was a late bloomer as far as teeth were concerned, and the kids have all taken after him. They've all sported weird eruption patterns as well. Becky was my fave - she got her top corner teeth first, on the days before and after Halloween. Daughter, thy name is Vampire.

Micah has some weird teeth going on in his mouth, and while it's par for the course with Down syndrome, it's not overly noticeable. The kid has his sister's fangs. Only when she got her other teeth in, her fangs were no longer noticeable. Micah's definitely are. They're considerably longer than the rest of his teeth. I'm really wondering what he'll look like when his permanent teeth are in, and hoping that braces aren't a necessity for the boy because that would not be my idea of a good time either.

Thank goodness we have a dentist who sees a number of patients with DS and has considerable experience with it. And thank goodness our dentist isn't one to panic nor raid my pocketbook and insist that we do everything that we can to keep him in business. So far, he's good with Micah not really (okay, not at all) brusing his teeth, he's good with Micah's tooth grinding (and strangely, after 18 months, so are we - it's amazing what you can grow accustomed to when you have zero choice) and won't prescribe an insert unless he's wearing down his teeth - which he's not, and he's good with getting bit on occasion (Micah drew blood several times) to check out the overall health of the mouth. Our dentist is a keeper. Unfortunately, he doesn't doctor at Children's, so if an extraction under anesthesia is involved, he probably won't be.


And here's another fun tidbit of information. Most individuals with Downs have smaller airways (trachea, mouth cavity, ear canals, sinus passages) which not only cause a world of fun times at the ENT (hello, 6 sets of ear tubes, I'm looking at you) but cause a bit of problems when the kids are under anesthesia. Intubation is almost a given. Couple that with the fact that anesthesia slows the heart, and all things heart-related freak doctors out when working with DS patients, and you've got a recipe for impending disaster.

I know that any time anyone is put under anesthesia there are risks. I'm just saying that, according to Children's Hosptial, those risks are greater in individuals with Down syndrome. Just about time we'd convinced ourselves that we could get ear tubes placed at our local hospital by a local surgeon (of whom we've heard great and glorious things), we heard the policy from Children's Hospital that they will only place ear tubes for those with DS at the main campus and not any of their branches. Their reasoning: there are too many things that could go wrong. Well that just makes me feel warm and fuzzy all over.

So we'll continue doctoring at Children's any time anesthesia is involved. And continue praying as he's in surgery. Because really, that's all that we can do. Well, that, and double up on procedures when we can. Multi-tasking is the way to go.


Trisha said...

Your dentist sounds like a real gem - hold on to him! Good dentists are hard to find!

Brandie said...

I, too, dread what the future holds for our kid's teeth. Children's is very cautious. They reserved a PICU room for Goldie after her T&A surgery. One of the nurses asked why we were there. I felt guilty, like we were taking a room another child needed more. But, the hospital was FULL and if she had needed ICU care there would have been a wait for the room. So, I give 'em a thumbs up for being proactive.

Anonymous said...

Yeah for such a great dentist! And yeah for physicians who take everything into account and prepare accordingly when it comes to childrens with DS.

(And I had to laugh at the last paragraph and the multi-tasking . . . we do the same thing when we have to put the dog under anesthesia - and I would ask to do the same for any one of my kids as well!)

OHmommy said...

teething patterns are hereditary. they are! my son, son of a dentist, was pulled out of school last week to fix many hereditary issues with his teeth. no fun , for my husband.

JennyH said...

Sounds like Max. guess what, he is 8 years old and not a single loose tooth. Sam is 6 and the same for her. The tooth fairy has never made it to our house yet!

I have no idea how many tubes Max has had but it's lots!

His heart rate usually dips pretty low during surgery as well. So yeah, fun times!

Michelle said...

Kayla hasn't lost a tooth yet either, nor does she have a loose one as far as I can tell! I keep wondering when that is going to happen!

She made it through her last exam ok, laying in my lap and letting the assistant do her thing with looking, brushing and flossing, but she has yet to get an xray done of her teeth - so I wonder what shape they are actually in!

Lance Boldt said...

For all the health problems that carry a greater risk with Ds, tooth decay is actually one thing that is LESS prevalent.

Life with a child who has Down syndrome is the best.
6 months after Josh was
born with Down syndrome, I attended my first parent group. I was touched by the struggle people were having with “why?” I went to bed with a heavy heart and awoke with this story. I hope you enjoy it.

imbeingheldhostage said...

You know what I love about coming here? While I'm laughing my congested head off, I manage to learn new things as well. I had no idea October was Downs awareness month, or of the things you'll face as Micah gets his permanent teeth-- just never occurred to me. Thank you!