When my daughter told me a couple of weeks ago she had a big tooth growing over a baby tooth, I kind of didn’t believe her. I know these things happen, but none of my kids have ever had it before. Also, although my daughter has had some very genuine things wrong with her over the past year or so, including a cold foot she couldn’t walk on and a broken finger, she does also have a large number of unexplained headaches, tummy aches and dizzy spells, which we tend to take with a pinch of salt.
But there it was. There was no doubt about it. There was a big tooth growing over a baby tooth. It wasn’t even a baby tooth that was due to come out soon, it was a long way back in her mouth.
And it hurt.
Again, I took this with a bit of a pinch of salt as it always seemed to conveniently hurt at night when she was struggling (again!) to get to sleep. It was never an issue in the daytime when she was busy and happy.
But, when it carried on hurting, it looked to me like the baby tooth was going to have to come out.
One day she came out of school and BEGGED to go to the dentist immediately. Immediately I couldn’t do, but I got her an appointment for the next day.
The thing is, even though the tooth was hurting and even though she knew it had to come out, she really didn’t want it taken out.
She’d freaked out at her last check-up at the dentist and I can’t quite remember why. I think it was only a scale and polish, but it did mean she had several instruments in her mouth at once. She burst into tears as soon as it was over.
I didn’t think the dentist would take it out immediately. In my day (the 80s), extractions required an extra-long appointment.
If she had to have it out, my daughter wanted to be sedated, like I was when I had my wisdom teeth out. I didn’t like to break it to her that the dentist was unlikely to sedate a 9 year old girl to take a baby tooth out.
We told the dentist the problem, he took one look at it and said: ‘I’ll take it out’.
‘It will only take five minutes.’
‘No, no!’ my daughter started to panic and attempt to climb down from the chair. She didn’t want it out!
He put some cream on her gum to start to numb, but it tasted horrible. She panicked and begged for water and tried to get off the chair again. There were tears and dribble and a lot of incoherent ranting.
I talked calmly to her, the dentist talked calmly to her. Eventually she was persuaded to lie back down.
Then a piece of gauze was put in her mouth.
She panicked and started to hyperventilate. She started to climb off the chair again, still ranting incoherently.
She needed to drink more water.
She lay back down again, the gauze was put back in her mouth.
Then the injection. It was very long and slow. The needle was remarkably big. She didn’t feel it, but she could taste it. She felt the second injection. And the taste was getting worse and worse. She panicked and ranted a bit more.
It took two cups of water, half drunk, half swished round her mouth and spat out again, before she felt able to lie down again.
The dentist took the pliers and it was literally a second until the tooth was out. All the fuss and panic and it took just a second!
The tooth next to it was wobbly too. He advised removing that one. Another second, and that was a goner too. It was going to be costly for the tooth fairy!
With the teeth gone and the mouth rinsed again, my daughter veered between elation (that she’d actually done it) and despair (that her mouth was numb and she was hungry and she didn’t know what to eat). Although strangely, the dentist was definitely her favourite dentist now (we seem to have a different one every time we go).
There is a big gap in her mouth, but hopefully the tooth will be able to grow properly now. The pain lingered for a day or two, but the memory of it will linger for a lot longer.
Here’s hoping she doesn’t need any fillings or any more extractions for a long time.