Friday, September 10, 2010

We'll call them princess crowns

Every time one of my kids lulls me into thinking I'm a good parent the other one comes along and sucker punches me with a nice big reminder that hahaha, I really don't have this all perfected yet.

Joseph is 10 years old and has never had a cavity.  I won't lie - taking him to the dentist office has always been a little bit of a morale boost for me.  I would hear other parents talking about how Little Johnny needed three fillings or how little Suzy had two cavities and I would think "Hey, my kid may not eat anything other than peanut butter sandwiches and he may require hours of therapy a week and he might not be able to write legibly and he might scream at me if he can feel the tag on his shirt but by golly I've got this dental hygiene thing figured out!"

I live for the little victories.

For a long time it seemed like Elle was going to continue the proud Perfect Teeth tradition.  She loves going to the dentist.  She loves brushing and flossing her teeth and she'll sometimes do it three or four times a day.  She never drinks pop and only very rarely drinks juice.  She seems like the perfect candidate for being crowned Child Who's Teeth I Could Brag About.

Then a few weeks ago I took her to the dentist.  She went back for the cleaning herself and I sat in the waiting room feeling superior to everyone around me.  Next to me was a couple arguing because the dad had let their son have candy right before coming in for a cleaning and his mouth was still green.  Across the waiting room a woman was telling her son "You're in 5th grade now.  You're going to have to start brushing your teeth every day."  Yeah, I was feeling pretty good.

Then Elle came out. 

I'm sure you can guess where this is going.

Two cavities.  They were forming in between teeth on both sides of her mouth so she would need four crowns put on.  I almost passed out when they told me the bad news.  I made the appointment to get the fillings done and I tried to act very casual about the whole thing but in reality I was clutching on to the edge of the appointment desk for dear life and reminding myself to breathe.  There was a combination of two things going on here.  First, I was mortified that I had become one of those parents.  I just knew that somewhere in the waiting room someone was looking at me and going "I'm glad that's not my kid!"  Maybe it was even the mother of the green mouthed boy.

The second thing is that I have a huge, massive, gigantic, extreme, intense fear of the dentist. So much so that when I was recently on the phone making my own dentist appointment and they asked me if I wanted gas during the x-rays I used my most grown up and mature voice to say "That's an option? Yes, I do believe I would like that.  And who will I be needing to kiss in order to thank them for this wonderful, magical development?  And also, can you please send me some gas over the phone right now because even talking about this makes me anxious and queasy."

So I was a little upset about about the whole crown issue.  Not Elle though!  She told me every day that she was "exciting" to go back to the dentist.  She read her Dora Goes To The Dentist a thousand times.  She happily announced to everyone that she met that she was going to the dentist to have her teeth fixed.

Today was the big day.  She wanted me to come with her to hold her hand.  Watch my baby get her teeth drilled into?  That sounds super fun!  But I did it because I am the mom and surely those cavities were somehow my fault and the least I could do was hold her hand while they got fixed.

She was a rock star.  At least as far as I could see.  I tried not to watch too much and whenever I did accidentally look over the room would start to get dark and wavy.  But the people working on her kept saying what a great job she was doing.  In fact at one point they joked that she probably could have done it without the nitrous.  I "joked" that if she really didn't need it maybe I could take a few hits of it please and oh my god, why is it so dark in here and why is the room spinning?

The only real incident came when Elle whined because I was holding her hand too tight.  (What?  I needed the emotional support!)  Well, that and the moment she was all done and she gave me a great big smile and I could see the crowns and I felt like the scuzziest, most low life parent on the face of the planet and clearly I have ruined her for life and I'm not fit to parent her everyone should just go ahead and use me an example of what not to do with their kids.

Then we walked out of the office and and I was paying I overheard a dentist scolding a woman for the state of her son's teeth.  "We had to remove three teeth today because they were so rotten.  One of them only had a little tip of root left.  There are a lot more cavities left on his teeth that will need to be taken care of.  In fact, almost every tooth he has some some decay on it."


Ok, so maybe I'm not the worst parent ever.  I'm still getting Elle a t-shirt that says "Please notice my gorgeous red hair and my brilliant blue eyes and not my four crowns and did I mention that my brother has never had a cavity?"

One year ago today Elle started preschool.
Two years ago today I loved Sarah.
Three years ago today I struggled with medication.

12 comments:

Shannon said...

I don't know if this will make you feel any better but my dentist told me that people's saliva is generally more acidic or more base-ic (basic?). I forget which type falls in which category but he said that if you fall on one side of the spectrum you will get cavities no matter how good your dental hygiene and the other has issues with enamel erosion or something like that. So I believe that is why I am 30 years old and have never had a cavity because while I brush my teeth regularly, I'm certain not a flossing rockstar AT ALL! My husband and I do the same thing but he usually has some cavities and I don't. Not fair at all, but maybe that will help you not feel guilty? Elle might just fall at the unfortunate place on the spectrum.

Unemployed in PDX said...

she sounds like me when i was little. now i do fear the dentist but not because of the work they do but the bill i will have to pay... shudder...

Stimey said...

This post made me really stressed out. I think you gave me some of your anxiety.

(Or it could be because Alex is right behind me cursing at the vacuum cleaner, but whatevs.)

I agree with Shannon. Let's blame the teeth, not you. Sam had a tooth thing that he had to have fixed once and it was maybe worse sitting there watching him have stuff done to him than if I had had to.

Anonymous said...

Jen, some if has to do with heredity as well. I had horrible teeth as a youngster... but they have such wonderful treatments for the baby teeth, now....don't worry, you aren't a bad Mom, and Elle doesn't seem to be troubled by dentist visits.

Grandma Judy

Claudie said...

It is indeed normal for us families to experience different dental problems. And part of being a kid is having a bad tooth, I mean almost all kids out there has cavities and tooth decay in their childhood years. But with just proper brushing and regular visit to some of your dentists (Aiken), kids can all have a perfect smile when they grow up. Just let the dentists (Aiken, SC) because they know what's best for us in making us have that billion dollar smile.

Claudie said...

It is indeed normal for us families to experience different dental problems. And part of being a kid is having a bad tooth, I mean almost all kids out there has cavities and tooth decay in their childhood years. But with just proper brushing and regular visit to some of your dentists (Aiken), kids can all have a perfect smile when they grow up. Just let the dentists (Aiken, SC) because they know what's best for us in making us have that billion dollar smile.

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