It was time…AJ now has his expander (he calls it his “smile-maker”).

The pediatric dentist/orthodontist had just finished putting AJ’s appliance in and my brave and uncomfortable son – with gums bleeding (only slightly, but it sounds dramatic, no?) – was choosing from a pile of Disney stickers for a prize when the the dentist turned to me and said:

So, to review: swallowing is going to be different for him for a few days. Just eat soft, slippery stuff – ice cream, applesauce, yogurt – stuff like that…until he gets used to the smile-maker. Nothing sticky like gum, taffy, or tootsie rolls. Be sure to brush not just the teeth, but be sure you get any food-stuff in the smile-maker as well.

I nodded with approval as AJ selected a Finding Nemo sticker and the dentist turned toward his chart before abruptly turning back to add:

Oh, and be certain to brush his tongue; it is going to be pressed against the roof of his mouth (and the smile-maker) all day so it can become indented. So, be sure to brush the tongue hard when you brush his teeth so that you toughen up the tongue to to prevent it from getting too indented by the smile-maker.

As I left the office, I wondered how many parents would be scrubbing their child’s tongue tonight, wondering if they were doing it hard enough.


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