Tuesday, September 20, 2011

spt 09.20.2011

i spent the morning at the dentist office. not for me, but for jack. he goes to a really great pediatric dentist. the office itself is fun and colorful, and i have never, EVER, in 41 years, witnessed such caring and attentive staff members in a medical office. despite the ever present (and overly loud) Disney Channel, i often wish it was my dentist! but, i digress...

we were at the dentist this morning because someone needed to get cavities filled. not me, but jack. four cavities. my mouth hurts just thinking about it.

i don't know how i have failed as a teeth brushing mom. i had braces twice. i had visited the oral surgeon three times before the seventh grade. but i never got a cavity until i was 35 years old. and i haven't had one since.

maybe i'm lucky. i brush twice a day. i always use Crest. i floss when i remember. i don't drink soda. i still think i'm lucky.

jack? not so much. at the tender age of ten, we've had extractions and fillings, all due to cavities. every time we leave the dentist, i feel compelled to deliver my motherly speech about the importance of good brushing. i keep thinking the pain and/or embarrassment of having to get scolded by the nicest dentist in the world will encourage him to take better care of his teeth. i worry that i haven't helped him develop better habits, and that, at ten, it might be too late.

he knew this morning that he was going to get "drilled." when the very amazing hygenist came out to get him and take him back, she said, "we are going to try to get to all four today, but we might only be able to do two. we'll see how he's feeling."


i saw it - the brief moment of panic/dread/disbelief as the words sunk in. he stood up, caught up in the amazing hygenists whirlwind of energy. he was walking towards the back, and i could *feel* what he was thinking:

holy crap
it's going to hurt
i don't want to go
somebody tell me i don't have to
how much is it going to hurt?

and there they were, real tears. but not in his eyes. they were stinging in my eyes. the door closed behind them, and the amazing hygenist and my son with the mouth full of holes were whisked into the Universal Studios of dentist's offices. and i was left, feeling the anxiety and the fear and the slighly queasy stomach for him. in that moment, i would have given anything to take his place, to ease his uneasiness.

he is fine. halfway through, the amazing hygenist came out and said that it was jack's decision to go ahead and complete all four fillings today (smart kid!) afterwards, we laughed about his "duck lips" and he practiced saying words that ended in S and F all the way back to school. and he only half-heartedly attempted to talk me into letting him stay out all day.

i'm still feeling a bit anxious. i still want to protect him, even though he is quite obviously fine. well, as fine as you can be with FOUR NEW FILLINGS!!

i'm glad to say i am fine, too. i was able to hold back those tears. at least until i had to get out my checkbook...

will you take a self-portrait today? leave me a comment and let me know!


John said...

Ok, I know I shouldn't bust on other people here, but I can't help it . . . especially since my wife is likely going to share the same story.

A few years ago, my wife had her first cavity (I, on the other hand, have had extensive tooth issues - I had a sealant on a molar that was mis-installed and that was....bad). She was distraught, so she called her sister.

Her sister started laughing because Duffy was "too old" to get a cavity. Somewhere along the way, my sister-in-law associated cavities with childhood and that was it.

I'm sorry the little guy is having such issues. Do you think it's lack of brushing? Because I have no idea how to get someone to care more about dental hygiene other than "threat of pain"

Alisha said...

Maybe you can blame genetics? (How are Jack's dad's teeth?)

I'm with you--lucky. No cavities. So far my kids are lucky, too. And we are NOT stellar brushers. Once a day for me. Very intermittent flossing. I have a neice who brushes twice daily, does flouride, floss, etc. and has a mouth full of cavities. I say it's genetics.

(Oh--and go CREST!)

It's tough being the mom and watching the kids face pain. Totally agree with you on that one.

Natasha said...

Luci has NO cavities. Griffin has a mouth full of them. I brush their teeth every night (they brush their own in the morning)and floss their teeth every night also. I even take Griffin to the dentist every 4 months for cleaning now that he has braces. So I treated both their mouths the same, they basically eat the same (although Griffin does eat meat)...so I have to think Griffin just got bad genes in this department.

Anonymous said...

Oh I have been there...and it hurts to see their pain. You summed it up perfectly.

ps- I think dental issues are a crapshoot. Or should I say genetics? (kind of the same thing, really :)!