Today is a big day in our family. My 16 year old is getting the braces off. Pretty normal stuff, kids across America are getting their braces off today, but this case is different. My daughter is different. Turns out she was born with a condition called ectodermal dysplasia.
What is ectodermal dysplasia?
According to the National Foundation for Ectodermal Dysplasias, they are “inherited disorders that involve defects in the hair, nails, sweat glands and teeth. The conditions are a remarkably diverse group of disorders which may also affect other parts of the body. The ectoderm contributes to the formation of the lens of the eye, parts of the inner ear, the fingers and toes, and nerves, among others. Therefore, ectodermal dysplasia may cause these parts of the body to develop abnormally.”
For my daughter Emma, this condition has primarily affected her teeth. I remember when she was about seven and the dentist said, “She’s missing teeth, a lot of teeth”. While her baby teeth appeared fine, he was referring to her adult teeth. She was missing 10 teeth and several of the baby teeth would eventually become fused to her jaw bone. He tried to prepare us for the long process she was facing. There was no easy fix. …