Monday, June 8, 2015

When Bad Spelling and Extra Teeth Collide

There are a lot of things they don't warn you about before you have children...

  • Persistant mom guilt
  • Everything disgusting that happens before, during, and after childbirth
  • Traveling sports fees
  • How having three kids makes 2 parents exist in a chronic state of zone defense
  • The absurd volume of food a 13-year-old can eat
  • The ridiculous cost of the above mentioned food 
  • How your IQ drops 10 points for each child in your family
The list could go on and on.  

Most recently I've been introduced to a whole new set of medical anomalies involving teeth.  A couple of weeks ago I took my 13-year-old son to the orthodontist to get braces... installed... mounted... placed... Is there a correct verb for this?  We showed up expecting to come home with a full set of braces only to discover that a last minute X-ray revealed a mesiodens (Yes, grammar police, that's always plural-looking.) hidden under his upper gum.  

What is a mesiodens?  It is an extra tooth!  You might say, "Great!  An extra tooth is awesome just in case he smashes one out playing on that really expensive traveling baseball team while eating tons of costly food."  Nope.  Totally not great... especially when the mesiodens (still having a hard time adjusting my verb tense for this word) is growing upside down toward his nose and is tangled in (and damaging) the roots of cosmetically necessary front teeth. Unlike the $20 I often find in coats I haven't worn in months, this was not a good surprise. 

Consult an X-ray technician if you can't make sense of the photo above, 
but that's a mesiodens.   

My son, the genetic lottery winner of a bonus tooth, would require oral surgery to remove this tooth before it does further damage to his permanent front two teeth.  Here is a representation of the cost break down... 

1 Week Food Supply < Traveling Baseball <  Oral Surgery for a Mesiodens < A Cheap Car < Braces < 2 Dental Implants < A Much Nicer Car < A House in Columbia Heights, MN < College Education < Regaining My Sanity

Upon first hearing that my son has a mesiodens, I misunderstood the orthodontist and wrote down 'mesodent'.  As you can imagine, I went home and told my husband this word.  I also complained to many (and I mean many) friends about my sons 'mesodent'.  Heck, I probably complained to a cashier at Target and mesodents while swiping my Red Card.  Needless to say, dozens of people knew about my son's 'mesodent' issue and his need for surgery to correct the problem.

A few days ago I actually Googled 'mesodent' and it corrected my spelling to 'mesodont' and directed me to this definition on

                              FYI, I played both the American and British pronunciations 5 times each.                               Sans accent, they are said exactly the same way.


Apparently I had been going around telling people that my 13-year-old son needed oral surgery to fix his condition of having very average teeth.  To the very bottom of my soul I hope that someone went home and Googled 'mesodont' and found the definition above.  I also hope they laughed for hours about my ridiculous need to cure my son's abject averageness.  Makes sense right?  Why settle for average when you can have bigger, more beautiful large teeth via surgical enhancement... It's so American!  

For the record the New International Encyclopedia tells me:

Microdont = Small Teeth
Mesodont = Average Teeth
Megadont = Large Teeth

I'm a megadont... sounds like a dinosaur of some kind.  Just think of all the trouble my dentist could have saved me by just using the correct medical terminology rather than just saying things like, "Wow, Naty.  You have such big, beautiful teeth."  

What's the moral of this story?  Like any good story, there's a few...

  1. Ask medical professionals how to spell things as you write them down
  2. Fact check before you spread incorrect information about any diagnosis
  3. Dentists should teach us more big words
Questions for the readers...
  • Did/Do any of you have mesiodens(s)?
  • When have you misused a medical term?
  • What should be added to the list of things they didn't tell you before you had a kid?

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