Tag Archives: teeth

Emailing The Tooth Fairy

11 May

I am participating in the 2012 Wordcount Blogathon, which means one post every day for the month of May.

I will never forget the day my firstborn son cut his first tooth. I had been expecting it for so long that I had almost given up waiting. I mean, the kid was eleven months old and we were starting to think he’d be some kind of toothless wonder.

On the day in question, we were at a music industry trade show with my husband. He was in the main exhibition area, doing whatever schmoozing he needed to do with potential clients and suppliers. I was in the large lobby area with George, listening to a music troupe play a set of traditional African music. People were milling around the crowd, handing out free African drums to the kids. The babies, like George, got African rattles: miniature drums on sticks that have beads attached to them by a piece of string.

George was initially non-responsive to this idea, so I accepted the rattle on his behalf. As soon as he saw how it worked, though, he made a grab for it, and as he opened his mouth in delight, there it was. A tiny little pearly white blip peeking through his gum.

He may have been late getting his first tooth, but he certainly made up for lost time. The poor kid averaged one tooth every three days or so, which was not fun for anyone in the family.

A couple of years later, I got to do it all again, this time with my younger son James. I feel oddly guilty that I don’t remember the appearance of his first tooth (masters of guilt, we moms – we outdo even the Catholics in the guilt department). I do remember that James teethed earlier than George had, at about seven months, and his second and subsequent teeth took a lot longer to show up. There was one time, when James had four or five teeth, when nothing happened for about two months, and I was thinking, “Come on, already!”

Eventually my kids each had a full complement of teeth. Now the next inevitable wait began: when would George start to lose his teeth?

His first loose tooth wobbled around precariously for weeks. We were waiting and waiting for this thing to just give it up and fall out, but it hung on stubbornly, seemingly by no more than a thread. Eventually he lost it, the day before he turned seven. He was biting into his sandwich at the centre where he was receiving IBI  therapy, and the tooth just popped out and landed on the table in front of him.

He lost his teeth in much same way he had gained them. Teeth were falling out left, right and centre, and after about a month George looked like a fourteenth-century sailor with scurvy. But with time, the new teeth grew in to replace the old.

At almost nine, he just has a couple more teeth to go. It was initially hard for this sensory-sensitive autistic child to be losing his teeth, but by now he is so used to it that he barely notices it.

When he lost the most recent tooth, there was trouble – not from him, but from his little brother, who is now six. As George wandered around the house looking all gappy-mouthed, I found James weeping quietly in his room.

“What’s the matter?” I asked him.

“George’s tooth fell out and mine didn’t,” he sobbed, as if someone had just stabbed his favourite teddy bear.

“Don’t worry,” I soothed. “Your teeth will start falling out any day now.”

“But I want to have a gap like my brother!”

Try as I might, I couldn’t comfort this kid. I had to let him cry it out. I mean, what was I going to do, yank out one of his teeth?

Three days later, James got his first loose tooth. It hung on for weeks, much like George’s first loose tooth had. For the whole time, James was planning what he was going to do with the money the tooth fairy left for him. To hear the kid talk, you would have thought he was going to get a thousand dollars. I know inflation has hit the tooth fairy since my childhood days, but not quite to that extent.

Finally – finally – the tooth fell out two days ago. It was a near-disaster, though, because James accidentally swallowed it and therefore did not have it to leave for the tooth fairy. Thanks to modern technology, I was able to come up with a mitigation plan: I took a picture of the gap and saved it to my computer. I attached it to a blank email form and told James that if I emailed the picture to the tooth fairy, he would surely get his reward. I even made up an email address. gappysmile@toothfairy.com.

The following morning, James woke up and stumbled sleepily to me while I was getting ready for work, the way he always does. He sat on my lap, and I enjoyed the feeling of him snuggling up to me with his head on my shoulder. All of a sudden, he sat up straight, his little body quivering with alertness. He gasped as if he had forgotten something, and then he slithered off my lap and ran to his room. His eyes were bright with excitement as he ran back to me, holding up the shiny two-dollar coin that the tooth fairy had left under his pillow.

He clambered back onto my lap, and although George’s gaps have long since filled in, James said contentedly, “Now I have a gap. I’m just like my big brother.”

And still clutching his two-dollar coin, he went back to sleep, with dreams of his brother dancing through his head.

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Teeth Behaving Badly

31 Jul

As I sit here early on a Sunday morning, my jaw is hurting, I have just taken more pain medication, and I feel as as I am getting a cold.

That’s probably no big surprise. My immune system has taken quite a hit over the last couple of days. Extra vitamins, Vitamin C, echinacea, and plenty of fluids and rest should do the trick.

Rest? Ha! Like that’ll happen!

The culprit of all of this grief is the dental surgery I had on Friday. It had been a long time coming. Due to my absolute phobia of dentists, plus the fact that the last dentist I went to made a complete botch-job in my mouth, I had put off seeing a dentist for almost seven years. When my husband finally dragged me in kicking and screaming 18 months ago, they did all kinds of X-rays and examinations, and then produced a list of the dental work that I needed.

The list went on for two pages.

Don’t worry, they said. We’ll sedate you and you won’t remember a thing.

The idea of being given lots of drugs to knock me into sweet oblivion was very appealing, but still. I got the heebie-jeebies every time I thought of spending an entire day at the mercy of a man who had chosen a career of digging in other peoples’ mouths.

So once again, I played the waiting game.

About two months ago, I got a nasty throat infection that put me out of action for a week. It was accompanied by a fever of over 102 degrees, and it made my entire body hurt. When I went to see the doctor, I was told that this infection more than likely originated from an infection in my gums.

And that was it. The game was up. I had no choice but to go to the dreaded dentist. Except when I went back this time, new problems had arisen. The two-page list was now two and a half pages.

An appointment was made to get the work done. I picked up pre-meds a few days ahead of time, and then waited in dreaded anticipation. On Thursday night, I took three heavy-duty sleeping pills as instructed. They knocked me out, and until four in the morning, I slept not like a baby, but like a person who doesn’t have a baby. At that point, I had to wake up to have coffee and toast, and then I went to sleep again for a couple of hours.

An hour before the appointment, I took another pill, and by the time I showed up there I was well and truly zonked out. I was actually seeing double.

I lay down in the dentist’s chair. A blood pressure cuff was placed around my arm. A heart rate monitor was attached to my finger, and an oxygen mask was put over my face. I was given more drugs to take, and then I was covered with a glorious soft blue blanket.

That’s the last thing I remember with any clarity. Technically, I was conscious throughout the day. I had to be, so I could obey instructions like “open wide” and “bite down”. But I was definitely somewhere off in La La Land.

After six hours or so, I was allowed to leave. I have a vague recollection of my husband being brought into the room to receive instructions, and then I taken out to the car. Apparently a wheelchair was involved. When I arrived home, my husband gently guided me to the couch in the living room, where I lay down and pretty much crashed. I was roused now and then to eat soup or drink Gatorade.

We will not discuss the dribbling that happened as I drank.

Now, it is two days post-dentist, and I’m doing kind of OK. The effects of the sedation took until sometime yesterday afternoon to wear off, but I still have some pain, particularly at the spot where they had to extract a tooth. Quite apart from the pain, I find it very disconcerting to have a gap where the tooth used to be, and I am really looking forward to being fitted with my temporary flipper. My teeth feel very weird from all the cleaning and scaling and whatever else they did.

And just think… a month from now I get to do it all again.

Oh, boy.

(Photo credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/rightee/215391576/)