James showing off his ‘bling’
So a dreaded trip to the dentist today has inspired me to write for all you moms out there who’s kids have a bit of ‘bling’ in their mouth (this is what my son calls his silver tooth). A while back my son began to complain about one of his teeth hurting whenever he chomped down on anything hard. Naturally, we took him to the dentist to find out that not only did he have tremendous fear and anxiety about the whole visit, but he also had a cavity. As a side note, this incident takes place somewhere between his first swimming lesson and despised soccer season.
As we walk into the office I feel James grab onto my leg. It’s the grip of death, and there’s no way I’m getting him to let go. So, I walk up to the dentist chair with a child attached to my leg, taking each step like I have a full leg cast on. I then have to sit in the chair, hold on to him and try to pry his mouth open for the dentist to see inside.
‘Yup, he’s got a cavity for sure… and you should go to a pediatric dentist from now on’
Okay, so this sound awful right? Well, for anyone who has a child out there with fillings, you know that it doesn’t end there. As I begin to tell people about our terrible appointment and upcoming trip to the pediatric dentist, I get flooded with statements like this:
‘Does he eat a lot of candy?’ Yes, of course, I give him a giant bowl every night before bedtime.
‘Do you let him drink juice?’ Every single ounce of liquid he drinks is filled with sugar. I never water anything down, and I give him a can of pop to start his day.
‘Do you help him brush his teeth?’ No, of course not. I often tell him he doesn’t have to brush at all, as long as he swishes around some juice before bed, it should be fine.
Seriously? Please do not cast judgement in a form of a question, as this is not at all helpful. I think as moms, we all know the do’s and don’ts of dental hygiene, and sometimes despite brushing three times a day and eating healthy, these things just happen.
So the trip to the pediatric dentist was not any better than our first experience. Now the fear about the dentist chair was even more intensified than initially. Right off the bat I’m told that my son will need dental surgery because there is no way that they can even get an x-ray let alone fill a cavity.
Oh, and by the way, sometimes cavities are just caused by the bacteria that kids naturally develop in their mouths. But more often than not, that bacteria is transferred from their mother’s mouth early on. Awesome. So just when I thought perhaps I was not the root of all my son’s dental issues, I find out that in reality he probably has a cavity because of my dirty mouth. Great. I feel awesome. Please ask me if I let my kid eat candy now, it might make me feel good. I will try to put an end to this extremely sarcastic post, but not before I describe what it is like for a child with high anxiety to have dental surgery.
James and Jocelyn brushing their teeth.
James actually does amazing with all the pre-op and really only has an issue with the hospital bed itself. So we walk him down to surgery instead. The nurse looks over at me and says, ‘you walk that way’. So we did. I could hear my son screaming hysterically until they put him out. Waiting for the surgery to be over was the longest hour of my life. He ends up having an abscessed tooth pulled, another one capped (with silver – this is the ‘bling’), and two others filled. I know… parents of the year, right? He woke up from surgery and everything was fine. The tooth fairy came, and left a hefty amount of money under his pillow (to make up for the amount of guilt we were feeling)
So, the point of this story is, don’t assume that when you see a kid with a silver tooth or hear about a child needing a filling, that its the fault of the parents. I can assure you that they already feel bad enough without any judgement, and they probably didn’t do anything wrong to begin with. For us, we’ve done everything the same for my daughter, and her teeth are cavity free. Next time you talk to a mom who has been through any sort of dentistry fiascos, know that they seriously need to hear that they’re doing a good job. And if they have a child with high anxiety, tell them they have the patience of a saint… because trust me, that’s what it takes to make it through with your sanity in tact.