Children with Down syndrome grow their first set of teeth willy-nilly. That is, they don’t come in on time or in any particular prescribed order. So when The Boys finally started growing their first tooth(s), or teeth, our Pediatrician said, “No worries. If they’re getting teeth at all, that’s good! They’ll come in their own time and order like everything else with Down syndrome.”
Because The Boys are identical twins — who, as you might have heard, have Down syndrome — it was interesting to see their baby teeth emerge in the same out-of-typical-order but at different times for each boy. This is because when a tooth emerges is highly affected by environmental factors such as the amount of chewing and the type of food the chomper tends to eat — hard and crunchy breaks through the gums faster than soft and mushy. It was no surprise for us, then, that My Big Little Man broke ground — or gum — first. Interestingly, his baby brother (by all of 2 minutes) held out for another 2 months before his first pearly white made an appearance. That pattern followed suit for every one of their teeth… consistently out of the “normal” order but consistently in their order! Very interesting to watch. And, being the bad parent that I am, I did not log the appearance and order of their teeth to preserve for eternity. I was thinking then, and still, that they won’t care when and how their teeth came in! Being the meat eaters they are, they only care THAT they came in!
Fast Forward to the emergence of BIG teeth! There’s not a lot of information out there about the timing or order of big teeth growth for people with Down syndrome. I find this interesting since their was a bit of a hoopla surrounding the first baby teeth. However, I did hear through some Down syndrome grapevine or another that their adult teeth actually follow a more traditional pattern… which I, personally, found sort of odd. Why would their baby-tooth-growing pattern differ from their big-tooth-growing pattern? I kinda thought the big teeth would follow the little teeth. First come, first served… or, in this case, first [tooth] in, first [tooth] out sort of mentality. Still, not having recorded the original pattern, I couldn’t prove or disprove anything anyway. So, I hadn’t found much about the timing of this big-tooth-growing process and I guess I assumed (always a bad idea ’cause you know what that makes me) that they’d be delayed and willy-nilly, just like the appearance of their baby teeth.
Since a jaguar doesn’t change its spots, I did not attend diligently to the whole baby-teeth-losing/big-teeth-growing schema with the Old Soul any more than I did for The Boys. And it’s been awhile since we went through that whole process given she is now 9 and has all her big teeth. I do, however, remember specifically when those two GIANT chicklets appeared right smack in the middle of her smile. The toothless grin happened for her and most of her female classmates in 2nd grade! And though I did not record these events for my oldest child either… class pictures support my aging memory. That said, in my head, I had tooth loss slated for 2nd grade-ish!
What I’m getting at is that I’m not quite sure when that first little tooth came out or even which one it was, exactly, though I remember snapping a picture of her when it happened. Side Note: The Old Soul — like one of my big sisters — chose to save her baby teeth for eternity in a fancy little box. She did not part with a single one of her teeth. As such, in a motherly fashion, I bothered to wrap each and every one of them in a tissue with the date she lost it… See, I’m not a totally lost cause! And, in a dictated note, the Old Soul explained very nicely to the Tooth Fairy, that she preferred to forgo the money and keep the prize — her tooth — instead.
Imagine my surprise when The Boys were wrestling — something I was warned not to let them do because of the potential atlanto-axial instability (advice I never heeded, which is, thankfully, a position now supported by research) — and My Little Man accidentally head-butted My Big Man in the mouth. When the blood cleared, the little tooth on the bottom left was heartily loosened and darn-near hanging by a literal thread. GREAT!, I thought. He’s knocked his tooth out and it’ll be years before we see another one in that spot. Days went by and though the tooth loosened — I could get my thumbkin and pointer on it — when I tugged I might as well have been lifting all 57 lbs of boy right up off the floor. It wasn’t coming out and he was NOT happy with my repeated attempts. This, of course, just confirmed to me that the tooth was prematurely knocked loose. Why else would those final few threads be holding on so tightly… it just wasn’t their time!
A week passed and I continually checked that the tooth was still there. The Big Man would no longer let me near his mouth after those first few extraction attempts so verifying was no easy task. But, I didn’t want him to swallow it for obvious reasons — think Marley & Me and the golden necklace. On the same day that my online, twin-mama friend, Sara, announced that one of her also-5 1/2-year-old twin girls lost her bottom left incisor (’cause she’s the kind of mama that scrapbooks absolutely everything that happens including the proper scientific name of the first tooth lost LOL) My Big Little Man bit into a slice of pizza for school lunch and finally lost his bottom left incisor.
Yes, folks, he’s keeping up with the “typical” kids! And, right below that incisor was a new Big Boy tooth waiting patiently (unlike me) to see the light! So, as it turns out, though the head-butting game he played with The Little Man may have accelerated the timing ever-so-slightly, that tooth was coming out anyway… and at just the right time.
So what about the Tooth Fairy, you ask? Sadly, seeing The Rock’s portrayal of the Tooth Fairy during this trauma, My Big Little Man decided he doesn’t want any GIANT, baby-blue satin-clad, cat-scaring, hockey-playing, winged fairy anywhere near him as he “peeps”. “NO Toof-Fairy Mommy!”
I guess I’ll just wrap his little tooth up in a tissue and mark it with the date, his name and the tooth’s proper scientific name and position: bottom left incisor (we live and learn) and put it in my very own little gold box. Like my sister and the Old Soul, I’m more interested in the prize — his first lost tooth — than the money (which may be why I’m always broke LOL)!
Related Link: Dental Care for Children With Down Syndrome
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