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Expander #3. Seriously.

Expander #3. Seriously.

Well, we ended up getting to our 3rd palatal expander with Gavin.  The left bracket kept breaking apart in the same location due to his inability to leave crap alone.  The 3rd expander our ortho built with more anchors so that it could be rigid and not allow for him to keep messing with it AND worked for almost 4 weeks!  We were able to turn it every night and then the night before our appointment, guess what?  “Mom, my expander is loose, again!”

It has been a trying four weeks folks.  I have been all over him to keep his hands out of his mouth, to use his WaterPik after every meal and to make sure he was brushing properly and removing all of the food that was getting stuck in and around the metal contraption.  He has had some sleepless nights complaining of his jaw aching, which I know must have really hurt because he actually asked for Tylenol a couple of times. This process is definitely a process for all involved.

Showed up for our appointment and thankfully we are done with turning the expander.  It was supposed to remain in for an additional 8 weeks.  Since it was broken yet again, it was decided that a permanent bar would be put in and accelerated in the timeline rather than having another expander made to just hold things in place for 8 weeks.  I am hoping that the permanent bar will be less intrusive and that this kid will be able to handle it better than the expander.  Here goes nothing, right?


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1 week with a Palatal Expander AND broken!

1 week with a Palatal Expander AND broken!

palatal expander

June 2016 palatal expander1

Yup, you read that right, the palatal expander lasted for one whole week!  We even went on vacation with our water pik in tow and wouldn’t you just have guessed that the night before our follow up appointment with the ortho, my 8 y.o. walks into my room and says, “mom, something’s not right with my expander.”  I get up to look and can clearly see one side of the expander just hanging down and not at all attached!  I’m like, “what the $%#!?”

So, I tell him to push it back up and see if he can keep it there for the night until we get to the ortho in the morning.  It’s still very much attached on the other side and pulling it downward actually hurt the teeth it was still attached to.

Next morning we are headed to the ortho and needless to say she is not ecstatic with Gavin’s expander having lasted a mere week!  Neither.  Am.  I.  We haven’t even paid for the first one and now we need to tack on a second one that has to be made.  This 5 min. follow up appt. turned into an hour ordeal of new impressions, fittings for brackets and spacers being put back in. Grrrrr….

Of course it would be my son unable to keep his tongue and fingers off of the metal contraption in his mouth,the incessant wiggling and prodding around that caused a stress fracture on the one bracket, thus breaking it apart completely.  My son IS  however, the glass is half full kind of kid, so he impishly remarks to me and his ortho that at least he can eat whatever he wants for a full week, right?  He’s lucky there was a room full of witnesses.  No, seriously.

That is our update for week freaking 1.  Yes week one and only one.  Will let you all know how we progress, should we progress….Anyone else go through a palatal expander like this?

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Speech, To Take a Break or Not?

Speech, To Take a Break or Not?

Our son was born with a bilateral cleft lip and palate (BCLP) and has been in speech therapy since he
was 18 months of age.  I value private speech therapy and we are faithful in keeping our weekly appointments, incorporating speech techniques at home to gain consistency and working on a great deal of repetition.

speech therapy

It’s just that at this point we have now added orthodontic appointments to our ‘have to’ weekly list and he has a palatal expander and permanent bar on the bottom.  We’ve been told that his cleft will temporarily widen due to the palatal expander and that his speech intelligibility is going to degrade because of the widening cleft and cumbersome contraption in the roof of his mouth.  All of which we are currently witnessing.

This kid has weekly speech and reading therapy already and now we have added orthodontic appointments!  His therapist believes that there is value in continuing speech therapy and that other things can be worked on while suffering through the changes taking place due to Phase 1 of his orthodontic treatment.

My husband and I have been seriously discussing our options and are leaning towards giving speech therapy a break.  His speech is not going to improve while undergoing orthodontic treatment in preparation for his bone graft surgery, so why not give him a break?  It’s not forever and they are estimating that he is going to need the bone graft in 6-9 months.  Speech therapy can resume after healing from the bone graft.

thumbs up down

Has anyone else gone through this and found value in continuing speech therapy while undergoing orthodontic treatment?  Did you take a break and regret it?  Or was it a much needed break for your cleft kiddo that allowed them to just deal with the ortho stuff?  We have a lot to consider and once we make a final decision I will post an update.  Any input or feedback, even from a therapist’s point of view, is welcome!


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