For Months Teen Was Too Sick to Swallow Food. Doctors Were Stumped Until Mom Asks About Her Braces

For Months Teen Was Too Sick to Swallow Food. Doctors Were Stumped Until Mom Asks About Her Braces

For most teenagers, getting braces is a nightmare. Not only are there dietary restrictions — no apples, Starbursts or popcorn — but braces are an easy target for teasing.

For one Memphis teen, however, getting braces wasn’t just a nightmare: it was life threatening.


From the Independent Journal:

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According to WMC Action News, in February of 2015, fifteen-year-old Kennedy Odom and her mother, Cicely Odom-Rose, both got braces.

Nine months later, Kennedy began experiencing medical problems. Painful blisters formed around and inside the teen’s mouth— so painful that she was unable to eat. The sore throat that accompanied the blisters and lesions left her unable to swallow.

As a result, Kennedy missed much of her school year and lost over thirty pounds. And doctors had no clue what was causing her problem.

“They ran a lot of different tests, and it was everything as mundane from strep throat to Stevens Johnson Syndrome and they ruled out everything,” Kennedy’s Godmother, Tamara Irving, tells WMC Action News.
For Cicely, watching her daughter struggle so much was agonizing, and doctors didn’t know how to help the girl. So Kennedy’s family began looking for answers on their own.

Endless Google searches and YouTube videos led them to the culprit.

“We asked ‘Is it possible that since all of the issues are surrounding her mouth area, inside her mouth, her lips, that it may have something to do with her braces?’” Irving recalls.

As it turns out, they were right. Unbeknownst to both her doctors and her family, Kennedy had a nickel allergy, and the nickel in her braces was causing the breakouts of blisters.

According to the Mayo Clinic, nickel allergies are one of the leading causes of allergic contact dermatitis, a skin rash that is caused by contact with the source of the allergy. Symptoms of a nickel allergy include:

-Rash or bumps on the skin
-Itching, redness, or changes in skin color
-Dry patches of skin

An allergist can perform a skin patch test to determine an individual has a nickel allergy, and if it turns out that a braces bound child is sensitive to nickel, titanium, ceramic, and plastic braces are available.

While nickel allergies are not uncommon, Irving notes that Kennedy is only the second documented case of nickel allergy caused by braces in their county, Shelby County, Tennessee.

Wow! This is one lucky girl. It’s a blessing that this was discovered before she needed a major surgery and could have died from it. I’m glad she is safe and will have a long happy life.


Writer, Blogger. Political aficionado. Addicted to all levels of government campaigns.

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