Monday, January 18, 2010

Tooth Fairy

My daughter is one courageous babe.

If you've been around a while, you know that we've struggled with the smile. There's no way to sugarcoat the situation (ha!)--her teeth are crapcake. I believe we're up to 13 cavities now, with two crowns and a root canal.

I have mentioned that the last dentist, a man with the temperament of that white, fuzzy, red-eyed character from the beloved Christmas special, had ordered up three more crowns at our last visit. And I was like:

Yeah, but...NO.

I also said no to the last two crowns, but there was a full-scale smackdown over it, with the good doctor and his minions hoisting me on the petard of child endangerment because apparently I wanted my child to die of infection and sepsis. Seemed to me there had to be a gray area between "fillings" and "slow, painful demise," but what do I know? I'm no dentist. In any case, I lost that one.

But at the prospect of more mouth-filling metal, I was ready to toss his clothes and stereo over the balcony for good. I found a new dentist. She's actually not new; she's the mom of one of Jarrah's school friends, and she's been waving to me in her little green scrubs for four years now. I had a good feeling about her; if only I'd acted on those feelings sooner.

Now I have, and like the famous poet said, that has made all the difference.

At our preliminary visit last week, she took a bunch of x-rays and the first glimmer of hope was where she said Jarrah doesn't need any more crowns.

And then today I brought her in for the first of two filling visits, and she was in the chair for 30 minutes, and here is a partial list of what she DIDN'T do.

1. Say "Owwwww!" Alot.
2. Scream and cry.
3. Try to escape.
4. Hit the hygienist.
5. Fidget.

Now, Jarrah has two speeds in life: full-on crazy, or asleep. So the fact that she lay there quietly for half an hour while two people used her mouth as a storage locker is nothing short of suspicious. But I swear, there were no drugs involved.

Without taking a breath, our new doc sustained a peculiarly high-pitched patter about sugar bugs and princesses that certainly had me in her spell, so Jarrah was clearly too mesmerized to do anything on my list.

Which meant that--unlike all our other dentist visits--I was off the hook for MY usual:

1. Sobbing.
2. Hyper-ventilating while clutching my throat.
3. Repeating "You are my brave girl!" and "Almost done, sweetheart!" in a choked, tremulous voice.
4. Wishing I had a Xanax for the panic attack which I could see coming 'round the mountain on six white horses.

Readers, what I'm trying to say is...oy, I can't say it. I'm too verklempt. But you get the picture.

Doc was even smart enough to give her a "cotton marshmallow" to chew on when it was over, so she didn't chomp through her lip like last time. Genius!

And she sees adults, too. So here's the big question, that possibly only I could think of: Do I join up and make it a family affair, or do I maintain detachment from my child's dentist so as to effectively navigate future (oh, and there will be future) visits without getting emotionally involved?

While I've told you a lot about Jarrah's behavior at the dentist, I've been deliberately evasive about my own. Because apparently there's only room for one courageous babe in this family.


The mad woman behind the blog said...

One question, does the new angel of dentistry travel?

I'm on the lily livered, yellow bellied side of brave, when it comes to the dentist chair.

Lucky find!

Myrnie said...

What a fabulous dentist! I'd switch :)

Mrs. Chapman's 2nd Grade Class said...

It's a no brainer....a "cotton marshmallow" alone is enough to make me switch. Switch already! :)

Jen said...

Yeah, switch! ;-)

I am SOOO happy to hear this wonderful story and so happy for and proud of you BOTH.