You Can't Handle the Tooth

Sunday, July 11, 2010

There is just too much teething going on at the Pardy house. Ok, maybe not exclusively "teething" - but teeth-related-incidents nonetheless. Between Matilda's teeth charging through her little gums and my saga of dental perils that seemingly have no end, we are sorry bunch of smilers at our place these days.
I have never been a fan of the dentist. I don't have any hugely traumatic story to think back to, so I don't know why I have developed such a dentophobia, but there are many many horrible things I would rather do than go to the dentist (labor anyone? *cringe*)
My mother always took us to the dentist on a regular basis (thanks mom!) We would go see Dr. Hanson at his little office that (though legit on the inside) resembled a renovated-Mexican-restaurant-turned-dentist-lair. Maybe that sounds familiar to folks around here, but in Lyons, Kansas a Spanish-style-dwelling stood out among the lot. (Maybe that's why stucco can still make me wince?) Dr. Hanson was nice enough, though I still remember his "disappointment glance" as he would ask me about the frequency of my flossing. I hate flossing. I just hate it. I mean, if there's only a few things you know about me, you probably know I hate flossing...that's how much I hate it. I think it is because my teeth are so close together? Or maybe because I know the outcome will only lead to bleeding and having to slosh and gargle again and again until your spit turns from disdainful brown to clear again. Yuck. Dentists will tell you "bleeding is good when you floss - keep it up and soon you won't bleed"...ugh, what kind of terrible logic is that? I remember thinking as a kid that flossing must be a horrible conspiracy against children - right up there with eating spinach and going to bed early. But, unlike the latter responsibilities, I have not grown to love flossing as I've gotten older. I still hate flossing.
The last time I engaged in this necessary evil, it only led to worse and worse news. There I was, flossing with some new "glide floss" which promised to be less intrusive than the rope-like floss my husband prefers (How can he use that stuff? Is he tying boy scout knots in there? You could anchor a small ship with that stuff!) I get to in between my third and fourth teeth on my upper left side and nightmare of all nightmares - the floss is stuck. I take a deep breath. "Just pull gently. Ok, pull harder. Whew, okay, no worries, this stuff is meant for this - just yank the darn thing out!" One yank later and I'm holding a tiny chunk in my hand. EWW - what IS that? How long has that been stuck up there? Then I navigate my tongue to the newly found void in my upper deck...and's my TOOTH. I just flossed out a chunk of my own tooth! (Did I mention I hate flossing?)
Three trips to the dentist later, I have had three root canals in the last three weeks. I know, I know, you are so jealous. Turns out the chipped tooth was the easy one to fix - go figure. As with most trips to the dentist (or the mechanic, or the these guys all work together?) they discovered something worse in a different tooth that I didn't even know about, nor did I go in for. Yes, hidden in the Xray (by the way, don't you just love those bite-wing Xray things? Could they make those any less comfortable, really?) they discovered an infection in my last molar. They've now tried to root-canal-it twice, but it is too calcified to fix. They are going to attempt one more time (per my pleading) before they decide to extract the tooth altogether. (I am praying to save the tooth, because otherwise I basically have to just say au revoir to the sucker - to purchase an implant would cost around $4,000 even with insurance...and last time I checked, the tooth fairy was not handing out that kind of cash for infected molars.)
Meanwhile, while I'm trying to cope with my dentophobia by loading my iPod with the Beach Boys and tell myself to calmly envision a tranquil setting in my head to drown out the sound of the sweet baby girl is teething! Matilda already has two bottom teeth. They poked through a couple months ago and she only had a couple nights of discomfort before they were through and soon enough she was grinning with her new chompers. Now, I know her top teethies have got to be on their way - though they have yet to make an appearance. I know she is teething because she's got all the wonderful symptoms - ear tugging, bouts of fit-throwing and extra drooling and nibbling,'s lovely. Poor baby. I'm so glad we don't remember this time in our lives. I'm highly sympathetic for her, and I think it is no coincidence that God is having me experience my own dental angst at the same time. We are just a mess! (I'll admit that I've probably used her baby orajel more than she has - we should really have bought stock in that company! Ha!)
I never anticipated bonding with my daughter over teething. As my teeth are falling out, hers are just peeking their way through! In fact, my dental specialist told me that my teeth issues are most likely linked to my having had a baby. Evidently it is very common for women to suffer teeth decay during and after pregnancy, either because you aren't able to go to the dentist during pregnancy (they don't allow it) or because of some sort of body-chemistry/parasite-like/your-baby-sucked-all-necessary-nutrients-from-your-body kind of reason. Hmm, thanks Matilda. Nevertheless, as we snuggle on the couch and watch another Amy Adams movie together and I kiss her with my half-numbed lips and she looks up at me while she slurps on the end of a frozen wash cloth, I can't help but with my rotten-toothed-smile, indeed. Afterall, I love spending time with this little gal, and if I can relate to her on a closer level (even if it means a little pain) - then that is something I can truly sink my teeth into. ;)

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