My daughter had a dentist appointment today. Not just for her regular 6 month check up but for a cavity to be filled and sealants put on her 4 big girl molars that I’m pretty sure caused the cavity in the first place!! Well, I know that the ‘sugar bugs’ as her dentist calls them are the real culprit, but I blame the big girl molars moving in before any of her baby teeth are even loose cramming her baby molars together and in that tight tight crack is where this cavity was hiding.
I am that mom who because we fortunately had great insurance that covered teeth took her daughters to the dentist starting at age one and then every six months. I have a thing about teeth and dentists. I don’t really like either of them. Wiggly teeth gross me out, the idea of them falling out makes me throw up a little and then the fear of a dentist is just icing on the cake. I brush, floss and do the same twice a day to my kids. I did not have a cavity until I was 24. I expected my daughters to follow suit. But at the last check up 4 days ago (yes we were at the dentist twice in a one week period) the dentist showed me a ‘suspicious gray mark’ on my five and a half-year olds x-rays. A cavity, albeit a small one, but one none the less that needed to be filled because she won’t lose THAT molar until she is 10 or 11. WHAT!! A cavity. I’m sure the blood drained from my face. MY daughter the excellent tooth cleaner had a cavity. How could that happen?!
Ok, I know how. I just couldn’t believe it. I wanted to hide my head, keep it a secret. But my daughter didn’t allow that to happen. She bravely told her teacher while I was volunteering in the classroom that she was leaving early to get a cavity filled. The teacher looked at me and I managed a weak smile. Yes, I know, and yes, we brush AND floss…My daughter didn’t bat an eye. She told me there are lots of kids in her class with fillings. Silver ones which she hoped to get. (Hers is not silver, but white blending in nicely) much to her dismay. She told the school secretary all about her cavity as I signed her out. Again I wanted to whisper hush but I did not. I obviously suffer from cavity shame.
Once at the dentist it was all business. The Happy Air (nitrous) was put on, the movie chosen, the sunglasses in place. We met Mr. Whistle (the drill) , Mr. Water and Mrs. Air (self-explanatory), Mr. Bristle (some other tool), Mr. Raincoat (the rubber tooth cover thing) and it began. The cheek numbing ointment was put on and then the dentist came in to administer the numbing shots with a like 3 inch needle he conveniently kept hidden until the last possible minute. He pinched and wobbled her cheek and then started sticking that needle in. This is where I lost it. Tears started pouring out and I was a mess. My daughter? Oh, she was laughing away to WallE. Unaware of the effect her plight was having on my heart.
After an hour of cavity filling and sealant painting on those permanent back molars (the ones I’m still going to blame for my high blood pressure and the cavity) it was all over. My beautiful brave daughter didn’t make a sound except for a few giggles . Her only complaint was that her tongue felt like a huge hard rock. She chose vampire teeth from the prize box and we were on our way. We went to the store ( again she had to tell the check out woman and another who asked if we needed any help about her now newly filled cavity) where I let her pick out a small toy since I didn’t feel like the vampire teeth really cut it after what she’d endured and we grabbed a smoothie.
My daughter is brave, and deserves to tell whoever she wants about her cavity and her new filling. I have decided to embrace the fact that no matter how hard you may try for something not to happen (like a cavity) it still may and that isn’t the end of the world. We try to protect our kids from broken arms, stitches, illness and they still happen. It is not a sign of bad parenting just a sign of life. We need to embrace all that may be thrown our way and hold hands in solidarity when it does. So here is to all the parents who have had to sit by watching their children endure something they themselves wish they could take their place being forced to sit with their hearts in their hands. We can do this. Kids are stronger than we think. And so are we ❤