Today we had the emergency consult with the oral surgeon for my daughter. In my last post I detailed that her canine teeth are coming in where her permanent front teeth are, putting those teeth at risk. The DR reiterated what I had expected the procedure would be (I googled the issue last night and felt better after reading what the recommended path would be to correct…it matched what everyone had told me thus far.) He did recommend taking out two baby teeth, however, in order to start the path for making space. We discussed it, and my daughter decided she didn’t want to wait and wanted to have the extractions done today.
I was floored.
“You want the dr to remove the teeth today?” I asked, just to confirm. “Yes, let’s get it done today.” she responded. I asked again, and got the same response. “Mama, will you still with me though? and hold my hand?”. “Of course” I responded. “I wouldn’t have it any other way”.
That, y’all, was a teensy white lie. Of COURSE I wanted to comfort her, be there, and hold her hand. That’s what mamas do. What I didn’t want to do, however, was see the procedure of pulling out teeth. First, it makes me queasy, and secondly, I remembered all too well having to have the same procedure done as a child.
It wasn’t until I stood there, holding and stroking her hand, softly talking to her, and quickly glancing at what the did, that I realized how badly I was traumatized by the same procedure as a kid. I had 12 teeth pulled in total, a combination of baby, permanent and wisdom teeth, done over several appointments over many years. My mouth, while loud and opinionated, is physically very small, and it caused a great amount of crowding as my teeth grew in. I had gapped, buck teeth as my front teeth came in, and the rest just crowded in. I had teeth pulled, a headgear to space them out and move them, and then braces. The headgear made me look like an utter dork, and I hated it with the power of a million suns. The braces were a pain, and I slacked on wearing my retainer. The result? Years of orthodontics to end up with a snaggle tooth and still a few crowded teeth. The teeth pulling though…that was the worst.
Our dentist was Dr White. He was ok, I suppose. A good dentist, but not a children’s dentist per say. He was a family dentist, but not a dentist geared especially for children like my kids go to. I remember the gas, and not much liking the feeling. At first I was happy and giggly, but I keenly remember being afraid. I think I bit him out of fear, and he yelled. I remember the teeth hurting. Today, I felt a feeling of the same fear wash over me, even though it wasn’t me having the teeth pulled. I realized the whole teeth pulling trauma had been more of a trauma for me as a child than I had remembered. I turned my head, still talking softly to my daughter and comforting her. One of the teeth broke when the dr went to remove it, so he had to try going in and digging out the fragments. The other tooth had a HUGE root on it, far bigger than I had seen on any baby tooth. I had to look away during the fragment scavenger hunt, because I started to get really queasy. Oh, the things we do for our kids.
On the way home, I sat in the back seat with her. She had what looked like little gauze teeth sticking out, but they got bloody fast, so I had to change them. She looked a bit worse for wear, but soon picked up as the laughing gas left her system. By the time we got home, she looked herself and asked for a snack. The numbness bothered her the most.
So now we go down the rabbit hole of getting her teeth fixed so that we can save her front teeth and get her canines in the right spots. It’ll be a process, and I foresee some of it (the gum surgery) being unpleasant. I’m stressed on a mom level. Nobody wants to see their child hurting. That being said, she is strong, brave, and I think she’ll take it all in stride. I may be a bit more fragile in the process than she is. I held strong today for her. That being said, I felt terribly sorry for the little girl who was so frightened and traumatized all those years ago. I had no idea how much it impacted me until I was in the moment today and it all flooded back.