Tuesday, April 05, 2005


It seems like there are two types of people in the world: those with good teeth and those with teeth that give them trouble. I am happy to say that I am one of the former, but unfortunately Rees is one of the latter. I have had to adjust to the fact that when the dentist says, “let’s just have a look,” it is never, “alright, looks good!” or “here’s a problem, but on closer inspection, it’s better than I thought.” With him, it is always “well, it’s worse than I expected” or “I’m not sure what to do.” And that is with four different dentists!

So my hope is gone. Now I expect it always to be worse than first expected. It is never good news. I don’t know that he has any real teeth left in his mouth. Luckily that is the baby teeth and we get a second chance with the permanent teeth. But even then, as his first permanent molars were erupting, there were cavities in them BEFORE THEY WERE FULLY ERUPTED!

And I had to get over taking it personally. When your children are very young, you are solely responsible for their health and wellbeing. When I found out he had his first cavity at age three, I wondered what I had done wrong: I didn’t brush his teeth enough, I ate the wrong things during pregnancy, I was sick during pregnancy, I fed him the wrong things or I fed him the right things but at the wrong times. Eventually, I let go of the guilt seeing it as fate or part of his particular constitution or path and now we work as a team to care for his teeth.

Oh yeah, and he takes such good care of his teeth, brushing twice a day (by a grown up at night and by himself in the morning) and flossing (by a grown up) daily. He is happy and willing to do this if it will help his teeth! He even likes dentists, probably because they have helped his mouth feel better when he was in chronic pain.

So yesterday when we went in for the final filling on one of the just-erupted molars, it happened. He had asked at the previous filling if Novocain was really necessary because he doesn’t like to feel numb afterwards. The dentist assured him that it was necessary. So he had the shot. But this time the dentist took a look and said, it’s small (it’s small! It’s a miracle!), let’s try it without Novocain. So she did AND IT WAS FINE! Unbelievable! And what a way to end a huge series of dental visits, starting from the day of his fifth birthday when his jaw swelled up with a huge, painful tooth abscess, and hopefully ending now two and half years later. Fingers crossed.

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