Sounds like something out of a sci fi movie, doesn’t it? It’s not. It’s what Namine had placed in her mouth today, in preparation for her new prosthetic.

Yesterday was worse; today was better. I’ll start with yesterday. Namine needed to have two things done before they (the ever-nebulous “they,” by which this time I mean the dental team) could make her prosthetic: an impression of her mouth, and the placing of the omega loops.

Yesterday, we brought Namine into the dental clinic at Children’s Hospital, only to find that the appointment was actually at a different clinic; they had failed to inform us. (This isn’t the first time this has happened, either – and I suspect it won’t be the last.) So we went to the correct clinic, where we were made to wait another hour before we were seen.

Finally a nurse came to get us. Of course by this time the cheeriest of us was Namine, but that was about to change.

Have you ever had to have a dental impression taken of your teeth? I did, when I was young, for braces and a retainer. It’s not fun. In fact, it is the exact opposite of fun. When dentists the world over are asked for their favorite method of torturing small children (for I am convinced they won’t let you into dentist school unless you are a proven sadist), they unanimously respond with, “take an impression of their teeth.”

Whatever torture my parents conspired with my dentist to concoct, Namine’s was worse. You see, the prosthetic she requires will extend, as I understand it, to the soft palate toward the back of her throat. The whole purpose of this is to assist her in closing off any air leakage so that she may enunciate better and speak more clearly. As a result, the impression crap (Wikipedia provides the definition ” viscous, thixotropic impression material” – does that not sound insidious?) needed to go as far back as her soft palate. This triggered Namine’s already-sensitive gag reflex, but she couldn’t throw up because the impression crap was in the way. At the end of the day, however, we got it done and we got it done right.

So that was yesterday. Today’s dental appointment actually was at Children’s Hospital, and as far as appointments go, was far less exciting. We like less exciting appointments.

The omega loops, for their part, are what will hold the prosthetic in place. They are loops (hence the name) soldered to a ring placed over each of Namine’s furthest molar in the top of her mouth. All told, it took a couple hours this morning for the dentist to find the right size rings to fit on Namine’s teeth and glue them in place. Nervous as ever at the dentist (especially after yesterday, so who could blame her), she still threw up, but only once. I held her for part of the procedure. I didn’t hold her down, I just held on to her, for that feeling of safety. She became a little more comfortable with the dentist and the dental assistant, so during the latter half of the procedure she didn’t even feel the need to hold my hand.

It will take a couple weeks for them (there’s that nebulous “they” again) to make the prosthetic, but that’s okay because Namine will be in the hospital for a while after her heart surgery this Monday. We just wanted to get this – whatever you’d call it, I don’t know, maybe “prosthetic prep”? – done before surgery. One more thing to cross off our to-do list.

  • What’s the prosthesis she’s being fitted for called? I’ve gone through a fitting process for a palatal obturator and the impression experience you described sounded exactly like what I went through a couple different times. If it is, major kudos to Namine, as I went through that process as a teenager…not quite that young. It sounds like she took it MUCH better than I did :P My heart and prayers go out to you and your family as your lil girl recovers from her heart surgery.

  • I don’t know what the official name for the prosthesis is. I’ll be sure to ask the next time we talk to them. With Namine laid up in the hospital post-Fontan, it’ll be a little while.