Finley Walker is a 4 year old boy born with Hypohydrotic Ectodermal Dysplasia (HED) a rare genetic disorder characterized by a reduced ability to sweat, missing teeth, and fine sparse hair. Individuals affected by HED share a similar facial appearance with thin, dark skin beneath the eye with extra folds or wrinkles, a depressed “saddle” nose, small narrow jaw, and small pointed teeth. Eruption of the teeth may be delayed, or only a few teeth may erupt. Additional features include dry eyes, eczema, asthma, earwax impaction, dry nasal concretions, respiratory illness, sinusitis, or sparseness of saliva. With the exception of heat intolerance, general health and overall development, including intelligence, is within normal limits.
The typical 4-year old boy would have a full set of primary teeth. Finley does not. Through a non-profit family support organization called the National Foundation for Ectodermal Dysplasias (www.nfed.org), the Walkers found support from other families and found dental and medical care from professionals who are aware of the syndrome.
Finley is a happy and loving kid who was started noticing differences from other kids his age. His family took him to Dr. Brody Hildebrand, a Dallas County Dental Society member. Dr. Hildebrand made Finley his first set of teeth. The family made the dental visits fun by documenting their journey with photos and videos to encourage others with similar challenges and called it “Finley’s Denture Adventure”.
“Finley is now four and doing great with his first set of dentures,” said Randi Walker, Finley’s mom. “He has no teeth of his own. He saw his older brother with dentures and started asking for them. He never takes them out and hasn’t lost them yet either! He even eats with them. We cheer him all the time because we are so proud of him.”
The member dentists at the Dallas County Dental Society take pride in helping change lives one smile at a time. Thanks to Dr. Brody Hildebrand, Finley has a smile to start school with. He will be able to eat healthier foods and will feel more confident as he grows.