Toby Robinson has it tough. Not only has he got ADHD and anxiety, he’s also going through puberty and battling dental issues that would make the Tooth Fairy cry. Luckily, he has another little helper on his side.
“There are three types of ADHD,” explains Toby’s mum, Amy. “Toby he has them all. He’s socially awkward, which his ADHD medication makes worse, and other kids can find it difficult to get along with him because he’s high energy and impulsive.” Toby was diagnosed when he was 10 years old, but the medication doctors prescribed to make him better had the opposite effect. “It gave him bad headaches and exaggerated his social anxiety,” says Amy. “Coming into his tween and teenage years, Toby became even more self-conscious of himself because his teeth were so bad, he couldn’t even smile. Going into college was really tough. Of course, that made his anxiety even worse.” Toby’s jaw is too narrow, which forces his top row of teeth inside his bottom row. That causes all sorts of problems. “He couldn’t bite down on food properly. I used to think he was a fussy and messy eater, but it was because his teeth wouldn’t line up properly!” Left untreated, dentists said it would require surgery to cut Toby’s jaw open and expand it. There was another way to correct the situation without taking drastic action, but it wasn’t funded by New Zealand’s public health system. That’s when Satan’s Little Helper stepped in to cover the cost of the treatment. “The orthodontist took a mould of Toby’s teeth and created a device that fitted around his back teeth and attached to the roof of his mouth,” says Amy. The device was in place for six months and expanded every two days by turning a key, which widened Toby’s jaw. Toby is now living expander-free but needs braces to finish the job. However, he says he’s already feeling the benefits of the treatment. “It didn’t really hurt, although it was a bit uncomfortable when I could feel it expanding my jaw,” says Toby. “I feel a lot better now, as there is a lot more space in my mouth and it’s so much easier for me to eat. Even though my braces aren’t on yet, I feel a lot more confident because I know they’re coming.” Amy agrees. “He’s a lot happier and more confident. This is the first step towards getting his teeth sorted and he can’t wait for the final result. Getting the treatment done is a huge weight off my shoulders as well, it was such a relief.”