Saturday, March 17, 2007

Alan had dental surgery in January to remove two secondary teeth that were deformed. The orthodontist felt that this was the best way to make room in his mouth for all his teeth in his upper jaw. We went with his expertise. We were apprehensive about the surgery because we had had a terrible time with it at UCLA for several reasons when he had had his first dental surgery. This time, though, we were treated well and Alan was, especially. His only problem was a little bit of nausea and he made it through the surgery fine. That left two huge gaps in his mouth. I was afraid that he would not tolerate closing up those gaps with braces and we may have made a bad choice.
We convinced Alan that actors and politicians need to have healthy mouths and nice smiles. Also, we pointed out two boys he know who have braces and commented positively on people with braces. Last week, he had some elastic bands installed in preparation for the actual braces. This morning, both Dad and I went with him to the appointment to have the braces put on. It all went smoothly. He accepted everything. We all had to watch a twenty minute video on taking care of his teeth while he has braces on. This will be the main challenge.
Last fall, he got a terrible dental hygiene report and they have never been very good since we stopped brushing Alan's teeth for him when he was seven or eight. I started to brush and floss each evening with Alan in his bathroom, modeling for him.
Last night, he demanded that I come and brush with him. I finally did to keep the peace, although I am still ill and need rest. I needed to clean my own teeth anyway. However, I was not up for the next complicated steps and Don went in and did them with Alan. First, he brushes with his regular electric brush, which we did together. Next, Dad helped as he has a special tool to get in under the braces. After that, each individual tooth has to have floss threaded under the braces to reach the side of each tooth and under the gums. And, we will also be having him rinse with the disclosing rinse he hates every few days.
We need to get Alan to do his evening routine of dental hygiene earlier in the evening, not just before bed when everyone is tired and wanting to cut corners and get to bed. If that doesn't work, we can move the flossing to after breakfast.
Since there are so many teens and adults with braces now, there are many products on the market in the drug store the hygienist told us. I used to have a water irrigator, but gave it away. We may need to get another for Alan's use.
We did get some Motrin for pain as we were told he would have some. We asked him a couple of times if he had pain but he said he did not.
Also, he has wax to mold over any part of the braces that is rubbing on his gum.
I see many kids who are tolerating braces all the time. None of them, though, that I know, is autistic. One thing about Alan's autism that may work in his favor is his need for routine. Once he has learned all the routine of keeping his mouth clean while wearing braces, I am hopeful that he will not only do it, he will insist on doing it, no matter if it is inconvenient or impossible, such as not being able to use the electric tooth brush if the power is out. We will have to convince him that the manual brush still works. This is one static system, for those of you who know we are doing RDI, that we need to maintain.
We also need to figure out how to turn the timer on the electric brush on, as he doesn't know how and I don't know where the manual is for that tooth brush. Fortunately, Cate and Jim are coming to visit at the end of the month and each of them has the same model. Alan is also more likely to comply if Jim or Cate show him. Right now, he is using the little egg timer that came in his kit, but it does not time 3 minutes. I have to admit I am bored and feel that my teeth are clean enough after one minute, not three. I wonder if music would help us both tolerate the three minutes of brushing?
Tonight, Alan was already asking several times when he could get braces on his lower teeth. To think that we worried that he would never tolerate having braces on his upper jaw, never mind his lower jaw at the same time! Bravo, Alan!



Blogger The Glasers said...

I am so glad Alan tolerated his surgery well and is surviving his first few days in braces. Wisdom teeth extraction--Pamela had FIVE--was not pretty. She did not eat right for three weeks!


3:30 PM  

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