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Monday, July 14, 2008

Our first cavity

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?


Heather @ Cancer Mommy said...

What a brave boy and a brave mama!

Donna M said...

Congrats to you both for surviving this trauma! Next time will be a piece of cake :D

Anonymous said...

I could have used some of that "special drink" today. My son was in rare form.

Don't be too hard on yourself about the cavity. My kids drink juice everyday and haven't had any yet, so I really don't think there is any rhyme or reason to it. It probably is just as you said, related to the strength of their teeth.

Laural Out Loud said...

You read outloud for 45 minutes? After half an hour my tongue feels like it's going to fall out of my mouth!

Yay for surviving the dentist! Is he less traumitized after having a good experience?

McMommy said...

Shannon, nice work on being Supermom today! Entertaining all the kids in the waiting room...then separating yourself from your sedated son!! Ahhh! You both are so brave!!

Landerson said...

Whew! I'm so glad it went so well! Big hugs to Pete!

Rach (Mommy Learns to Blog) said...

I'm glad it's over for both of you. If you get your hands on some of that stuff, make sure to let the rest of us know where WE can get some too!

Lara said...

ack! I'd have been scared too. Yay to surviving. I had quite a few cavities as a child - I hope Kiernan doesn't inherit that *sigh*

C and C Mommy said...

My little one had his 1st cavity when he was 3!! I was mortified...but the dr. told me it probably had nothing to do with how well we brushed. My husband NEVER went to the dentist growing up and didn't have a cavity until he turned 30. I went to the dentist religiously every 6 months and have several cavities!! Go figure!! Good job on leaving. I have a hard time with that too.

Simply Shannon said...

Big hugs for a brave Mama! I am so dreading going to the dentist with Ciara. We really need to go. Keep your fingers crossed that she is cavity free when we finally make it?!

Kristen said...

So glad to hear that all worked out so well.

And you are a brave Mama. Sometimes it is hard to be that way. They are our babies after all. :)

Rebecca said...

Yay for being a brave boy and getting his tooth fixed....and yay for you being such a brave mummy Shan!

ppsstttt...when you get your hands on some of that fancy *drink* I will take a couple gallons please. hehe

Anonymous said...

Glad to hear you both made it though okay.

Seriously, I think this kind of stuff is harder on the parents!

Unknown said...

I'm glad everything went so well for you both! I can imagine how stressful that was for you. Great job, momma!

Stephanie Wilson she/her @babysteph said...

We went through this just a couple months ago. I was a wreck! So glad all went well!


Some kind of Mom said...

Woah! That's a story to tell for sure! Poor kid! I only had my first cavity a couple of weeks ago and it was devastating. I know how you feel.

Jenny said...

man...i wish they had that special cocktail for grownups to drink!
he definitely was a brave little guy! the dentist has always scared me since I was a child.
i am sure that the parents waiting to get called back were thrilled that they had the crafty mom reading story time!

Kimberly said...

Okay, so this would have killed me too!! I hate taking the kid to the dentist.

But the fact that you kept 10 kids entertained for 45 mins, I am dying over that - you must be crafty indeed! I cant even keep mine interested for 10 seconds!

Andrea@Sgt and Mrs Hub said...

The drink thing - bringing it home was too funny. But a VERY tempting idea to me also ;)

I am glad it all went so smoothly - it sure sounded like it was as good as it could possibly be - thankfully!

And you - rockin' the book reading in the waiting room. The other parents should have showered you with thank yous and possibly chocolate bars. Okay - toothbrushes rather than chocolate bars - toothbrushes would be more appropriate for a dentist office. But not nearly as delicious.

Yay! It's over!


One Crazy Chick! said...

Worst Nightmare. And to top it off both of my kids have stains all over their teeth. My oldest (almost 4) has been 3 times to the dentist but no xrays...I fear that he has a cavity or eleventy million because I tend to exaggerate.

Good job with story time and the ENTORE ordeal. It's hard to have our babies "go under".

Anti-Supermom said...

I will only go to a ped. dentist because they know how to make a little guy not scared, like not saying things like 'your so brave...' indicated that there is something to be worried about. At least this is what I got yelled at for doing on our first visit.

Cute how you wrote 'our' first cavity - you can let go of the blame now :)

McMommy said...

Happy POW, Shannon!

Allison R said...

big sigh of relief that you both survived.

Happy POW

Amanda @ notsoextraordinary said...

what a crazy series of events! ok I'm not yet a mom, so i dont know what it's like for your kid to get a cavity, but don't feel too bad... i had a cavity when I was like 10 and my mom brushed my teeth like all the time... sometimes they just have bad enamel :(

Tiffany said...

I know the feeling - my five year old had a cavity at his first every cleaning a year ago - come to find out that his enamel didn't form correctly so it may be the first of several before he loses his baby teeth - :(

Anyway, I felt so guilty! Hang in there!

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