Marcel has been attending the local orthodontist since January 2010. His mouth is way too small to contain all 28 adult teeth so he needed the four that had grown inside the outer ring of teeth removed and the rest realigned. He also had no overbite so they have been working on that too.
Charlotte's mouth is almost a third wider to look at so at least she wasn't going to cause any problems... Then when her upper right cuspid came through last year it was completely out of line with her other teeth (as you can see on this photo). The dentist suggested a small spring could be placed behind it to push it back in line. He sent her to the orthodontist to check his hunch.
In we went yesterday morning. I joked that at least she'd be a small issue in comparison with her brother. The orthodontist had a look and confirmed it was a tiny job. Then he pointed out that one of her bicuspids was still a milk tooth so nothing could be done till that fell out, suddenly he looked concerned, eyeing her high school uniform. She's very old to have milk bicuspids, he commented, noticing she still had all four. Then he explained that they could just speed the whole thing up by extracting them. He sent her for an X-ray with his nurse. We're just checking how close the adult tooth is to pushing it out itself, he explained. There is a rare inherited genetic condition that leads to the odd adult tooth being missing, he added - 2% of the population are missing one adult tooth. Less than 0.5% are missing more than one though, he explained. Charlotte's X-ray was transmitted to his computer... He brought it up. He started to look worried. I looked at it with him. I couldn't see any teeth in her gums, but I'm not exactly a dentist, am I?
Oh! Charlotte is missing all four adult bicuspids, he pointed out, surprised.
Is nothing this year going to be simple?
So he talked me through the options. We try to look after her four baby bicuspids in the hope they'll last a lifetime. Built to last eight years, keep them eighty? Sounds unlikely... With a lot of care they have been known to last into a person's forties, he told me. Or the four baby teeth can be removed leaving four large gaps in her very large mouth and then they can try moving all her back teeth forward to fill the gaps, copying Marcel's treatment! How ironic is that? Marcel needed teeth out because he has no space, Charlotte is missing the same four but has lots of space. Oh and to cap the problems, the NHS is cutting back orthodontistry because of the recession so they have warned me Charlotte's application might be rejected simply because of lack of funding, leaving Marcel with beautiful teeth and Charlotte, who has perfect teeth but a genetic defect with potential gaps everywhere.
So my kid is some kind of genetic anomaly. And I guess that means I also have three other potential future mutants to deal with. Stress!