The Fader family will remember 2011 for many wonderful things in Kenya, but 2011 will also go down as the Fader Family Year of Dental Disasters.
Just kidding. These are not our teeth. But this is a common look for Kenyan teeth in our area, due to excessive fluoride levels in the ground water in our area, and also due to lack of sufficient dental care. If you'd like to read more about dentistry in Kenya, you can find some great stories here.
Our dental drama began six months ago when our 5-year-old began to grow her first permanent teeth... in a nice straight line of their own... behind her study little baby teeth.
Take a look, and share our horror in anticipating ghastly orthodontic bills in her future. (Our fears abated when we realized that there are no cosmetic orthodontists in Burundi... maybe we can just teach her to keep her teeth covered with her lips.) We emailed our friend and dentist, Hank, back in the USA. He broke the news that those front little teeth would probably have to be pulled. And that those new teeth should move forward into line with time. Let's hope.
Meanwhile, upon taking a careful look in our 2-year-old's mouth, I discovered funny-looking small bilateral discolored dots on her first top molars. Strange. Tenwek's dentist, our friend Peter Kuyaya, referred us to a pediatric dentist who was coming for a visit a few weeks later. She diagnosed that those little teeth had not formed properly during Abi's infancy, probably due to her illness in the orphanage before she came home. She said Abi would need crowns on those molars. Who has ever heard of a 2-year-old with crowns?!
The girls were troupers as Anna had 5 teeth extracted, and Abi had her tooth bling inserted.
Anna was thrilled with the results.We were also pretty pleased with the total combined bill: $210.
A few weeks later, Abi knocked her upper lip into the corner of something, and soon thereafter, one of her upper middle teeth turned a shade of gray. Emailed pictures to Hank again. Nothing we can do about this one.
Just as I was thinking our dental drama was over, I felt a dull pain in my lower jaw. Then I felt a hard bony something poking through the gums back there. Wisdom teeth. Sigh. More emails to our friend Hank. And another visit to our friend Peter. An x-ray showed that these teeth are coming in at an angle that requires extraction by an oral surgeon. He gave me chlorhexidine rinse to keep infection away until I could have them removed in the US. Adding insult to injury, chlorhexidine turns teeth yellow. After I had been rinsing daily for few months, Anna told me, "Mommy, if I were going to draw you with your teeth, I would use a yellow crayon!" Sigh. I'm not complaining, however. This is definitely preferable to the fluorosis pictured above.
Anyway, tomorrow is the day for the extraction of my four troublesome wisdom teeth. You could take a moment to pray for no complications. You could also pray for a dentist to come and work with us in Burundi someday - we could definitely keep one or two dentists busy.
And just when I thought our dental disasters were almost over, Anna now has a canine tooth coming in significantly behind her line of baby teeth....