As my stomach twisted and turned in the van this morning, I realized that some of the things our children go through is far more difficult on us as parents than it is on our little ones.
Thing 1 had a cavity. He needed to have it filled, so we went to the pediatric dentist to have it looked after this morning.
I suppose a little background information is needed here. When Pete was three I took him to see my family dentist. She willingly takes children as patients, so I figured I would give it a shot.
It was a disaster. 'nuff said.
We were sent to a pediatric dentist. They had a long waiting list, so it was over six months before we could get in to see the ped dentist. We went, and for the beginning of the appointment Thing 1 did quite well. After all, we had prepared him, chatted, read the books, talked openly about the dentist, etc. At the point when she started taking the mouth x-rays, things started to go downhill. He wasn't able to hold the thing in his mouth for very long and she just couldn't get a good picture. Eventually she got one x-ray, but was unable to complete the second side.
By this time Pete was very agitated, and had become quite upset. She came back in to check his teeth and gave me the BAD news. He had a tiny cavity in his top back tooth.
My heart truly sunk. I thought I'd heard her wrong. She did say "tiny" . . . maybe that was more like . . . "nonexistent"???
Me? Have a child with a cavity? What kind of bad parent allows their child to get a cavity? I cried. I blamed myself. I wondered where I'd gone wrong. Did I not brush his teeth well enough? Should I not allow him to have sugar . . . ever? It's no secret that Pete is a poor eater, but I never dreamed it was to this degree.
She assured me that childhood cavities are usually due to poor teeth enamel and are hereditary. I hadn't had any cavities until I was a teenager, where I contracted two underneath my braces. Hmmm, isn't that an oxymoron - straight, rotten teeth? But my poor husband had a few when he was smaller, so it looks like our first Thing may have his daddy's teeth.
We made an appointment to have the cavity filled, and the lovely dentist recommended we use sedation due to the level of anxiety he had experienced with just the x-rays. Our appointment was scheduled for June 4th, although we had to cancel that when Pete came down with impetigo and was given an antibiotic. Oh, temporary joy. We got to put off the inevitable for another month.
So last night I sat down to read the list of instructions the dental office gives to parents with children who are to be sedated. The list of possible side effects was longer than most of the papers I wrote in university, so I figured I better prepare for the worst. Surely Thing 1 would exhibit ONE of these dreaded side effects?
The no food or drink prerequisite proved to be tricky, but not as difficult as I imagined. He asked for a drink and some food a couple times this morning, whined a bit, but that was the end of it. Our appointment wasn't until 10:20 a.m., so a big kudos to him for lasting that long on no food! (I think I would have died, personally.)
When we got to the office, Pete did fabulous. The assistant gave him the sedative (in drink form) and he drank it up with no problems. We were then sent to the waiting room to wait for it to take effect. For an HOUR.
An hour is a very, very long time to wait in a pediatric dental office waiting room. Thankfully, I came armed with some of our very best books. I read to Pete for about 45 minutes . . . and several other children pulled up chairs for the crafty mom's story time too. They're parents must have loved me, I kept those kids happy for ages. By the last 10 minutes or so, Pete was clearly lethargic and seemingly very tired, so I assumed the sedative was working. He did great in the dentist's office. They put a mask on him with a little bit of nitrous oxide and then asked me to leave and go wait in the waiting room.
I was terrified to leave him in there, I felt like he must need me there for support and to help him. But in all honesty, he barely noticed me leave. She came to get me in ten minutes, said they were finished and that he was perfect. She'd even been able to finish up the rest of the x-rays and conclude that the rest of his teeth were in great shape and there are no other cavities!
Mission accomplished. My heart palpitations immediately diminished and my stomach soon began to feel less like a tornado. I brought my little guy home and he's been asleep all afternoon (another side effect she had mentioned). I wonder if I can pick up some of that “special drink” so I can get myself a supply of that to have on hand at home?