Sunday, January 30, 2011

My dental torture session

After taking Charlotte to the dentist last week, I was so exhausted by the trauma that I had to lie down after lunch. I felt like I had been through the wringer in the 1.5 hours spent in the torture chamber dentist's office, so I skipped my work out, instead opting for relaxing on the couch watching "Veronica Mars" on netflix. I'm sure you'll agree after reading this harrowing account that I had earned the rest.

After Char's cleaning, which was entirely uneventful, we were informed that she had some cavities that needed filling.

I was horrified. How could I let my child's teeth rot like that? How could I, her mother, let Charlotte down so woefully? I sat there and mentally cataloged every morsel of candy I let pass her lips, every time we forgot to brush.

I beat myself up over the cavities and worried and agonized while waiting for the dentist to get done with a root canal so she could take care of Charlotte.

During the interminable wait, I considered all the things that could go wrong. I was sure the kid would panic and flail as soon as she heard the drill. I worried that she would start crying but that it would be too late to stop, that we would have to hold her down while the dentist finished the torture drilling.

Tears filled my eyes as I considered how traumatic this was going to be for my sweet little girl. I even felt a bit nauseated and light headed especially when I saw the drill boring a hole in her tiny little teeth. I clung to her hands waiting for her to stiffen with fear and pain.

Anytime Charlotte shifted in her seat or moved her hands to her face, I just knew she must be experiencing intense agony, the likes of which would be sure to be the cause of a lifelong fear of dentists. She would turn into one of those lunatics who couldn't bear to visit the dentist.

You know those people who are totally phobic about going to the dentists, the ones who tense up the entire time someone is working in their mouth, even when the hygienist is just squirting flouride on their teeth. People who have so much anxiety their fingers can barely straighten out after having clung tightly to the arm rest during the whole procedure, even though it was just a cleaning. Those crazies who break out in a cold sweat at the mere mention of a root canal or the smell of a dental office (because really, we all know that ominous smell, don't we?). The ones whose bile rises in their throat when they hear a drill. The people who would rather endure labor pains than have a tooth drilled for a crown.

Yes, I obviously have some serious dental issues.

After the ordeal, Charlotte got to pick out a toy from the basket, after which I hobbled to the car. Charlotte chatted chirpily about something, but I couldn't focus on her words. I felt weak and dizzy and needed to concentrate on getting to the car.

Wiping the sweat from my brow, I buckled Charlotte into her booster seat and breathed my first deep breath in hours. Strangely, I discovered that all my muscles in my neck, shoulders, and hands were completely tight and knotted up.

Once on the road home, I decided to ask Charlotte some questions, to make sure she was OK. I wanted to reassure her, to let her know how sorry I was for the trauma I had subjected her to. I had to let her know that I would do everything in my power so that she would never have to live through another dental visit like that one.

So, I asked her, "Charlotte, how are you feeling, honey?"

"Fine, mom. Hey, did you see what I got from the toy basket?" she replied.

"Yes," I said, "It looks like a nice ball. Hey, when the dentist was working on you, did it hurt?"


"What did you think of the dental visit, sweetie?" I asked.

"It was fine. Hey, mom, did you see what the dentist gave me? I got a princess toothbrush!"

"Yeah, that's nice, Charlotte. From now on, we are going to have to be much more diligent about brushing in the morning, not just at night. And we'll have to cut down on the candy!"

"Why, mom?"

"Because you had some cavities and we don't want to have to come back to the dentist too soon, do we?"

"But, mommy, I LIKED the dentist! It was so much fun! When can we come back again?"

I'm thinking I should have grabbed that laughing gas mask and administered some to myself.

Is it horrible that I now wish my daughter could get my root canal done for me next week, since going to the dentist is like a play date with Barney for her, whereas for me it is tantamount to waterboarding?


Mom2Kaia said...

It's times like these that you've just got to wonder if they're *trying* to make you crazy on purpose ;-)

I totally feel for you on this one -- we go through so much to protect our kids from the dangers and pains in the world only to continue to find out that they indeed *are* resilient little buggers with their own personalities, likes and dislikes.

You're not crazy, but you are a mom. Sometimes you have to wonder how much of the two are exactly the same thing ;-)


Jaimee said...

Oh my word. I have to take my SPD kid for a cleaning tomorrow and I'm worried about this. We haven't had to do anything w/ our kids aside from cleanings and xrays, but the possibility is always hanging out there. I have no idea how my orally-hypersensitive child would react to needing extra work done.

Three cheers for Charlotte being a brave little trooper! I find it a tad hilarious that she actually ENJOYED it, because I'm like you and have lots of anxiety about my OWN trips to the dentist....but hey, it's really great that she did so well!

Jenni said...

I'm glad it went so well for her. Maybe next time it will be easier on you!

The Morgan's said...

Oh Patty, this is seriously hilarious! I'm glad it was a good experience for Charlotte, and am sorry it was so traumatic for you! But it made for great reading blog post, right?!!

Logical Libby said...

She is totally messing with you. No one likes the dentist. NO ONE!!!

Heather said...

The dentist vs. labor??? Honey, I'm choosing labor (without the good drugs) EVERY SINGLE TIME!!! Glad your daughter liked it though. Perhaps she'll grow to be one of those cooky adults who actually schedules a regular 6 month check-up AND keeps it!!!

Alysia said...

First of all - Veronica Mars is on Netflix? I have to check that out.

Three cheers for Charlotte for being so calm and brave, without even knowing how calm and brave she was. I often wonder how many times it's my anxiety driving the the tantrums. Clearly you did an awesome job hiding your fear, since she didn't even pick up on it. I'd say that's a win for you!

Spectrummy Mummy said...

I'm with you, complete torture. I think you were both very brave!

Diane said...

So sorry that was so hard on you, but very glad it wasn't bad for Charlotte. I personally hate the vulnerable feeling that goes along with dental and medical visits. I suppose kids are used to having to feel vulnerable. You did great just getting through it.:)

Shellie said...

Whew! What stress, but I'd rather have that stress than have to deal with a wigged out kid any day!

Timothy Burley said...

You will really get so surprised how kids today love to visit the dentist. Dentists now are very accommodating to children to prevent dental trauma as what usually happens in the past. Since, they are very inviting, kids love how they talk to them dearly and, also, they love how they can enjoy all the perks from the clinic. Young ones like us, should also have regular dental check ups, so we can monitor the growth and all the happenings inside their tiny mouth.

Lenita Shives said...

It was a relief on your part that your daughter liked the dentist; no need to worry at all. It really pays to find a child-friendly dentist. Knowing the condition of her teeth, you have to control how much sweets she eats, and develop a proper dental hygiene habit for her.

-Lenita Shives @ Dentist4Life