A trip to the dentist

Posted by Stacy Chandler on February 21, 2013 

I love going into Nora's room when she wakes up in the morning or after a nap. No matter how grumpy she was when I put her down to sleep, she always wakes up happy, breaking into a big toothy grin as soon as I walk in the door.

But one day last week, something I saw in that grin when I went to rescue her from a nap made the matching grin on my face fly away.

One of her front teeth was distinctly darker than the other, and distinctly darker than it had been when I'd left the room a couple hours earlier. And also: teeth aren't supposed to be dark at all.

What? The? Heck?

After a few seconds of silent panic ("silent" because if I've learned anything from almost three years of parenting so far, it's never let 'em see you sweat), I pulled myself together and fired up the Google app on my phone. It turns out that a tooth can turn dark after an injury to it, but it usually takes about two weeks for the darkness to show up.

I was blank for a moment, and then I remembered: Happy Nora, trotting through the local library with a puzzle in her hands, suddenly tripping over her own feet and face-planting on the carpeted (but still hard) floor. When was that? Yep. Almost exactly two weeks go. She cried at the time, but calmed down pretty quickly, and while I do remember seeing blood in her mouth, it was only a tiny bit. So I hadn't suspected her tooth had taken the brunt of the fall.

I called a pediatric dentist that my grown-up dentist had recommended, and we set up an appointment for Tuesday.

I wasn't sure how her first-ever dentist visit would go. She's supposed to be still for a measurable amount of time? And let strangers poke around in her mouth? I wasn't terribly optimistic, but again, never let 'em see you sweat.

But kiddo rocked the dentist. It helped that the office was incredibly kid-friendly -- cheerful decor, puzzles and kid-sized furniture in the waiting room, even TV screens in the ceilings (as well as on the walls) showing movies. The staff was great with her. They told her what to expect, they made everything fun, and they kept mama in the loop so I felt relaxed, too. Nora was calm the whole time, and the cleaning (since we were there anyway) and exam went amazingly smoothly. Phew.

The news on the dark tooth, however, wasn't so great. It's OK, but it got knocked loose. And a loose, injured tooth has a decent chance of developing an abscess, in which case it would have to come out.

What? The? Heck?

I know it's just a baby tooth, and there's nothing all that unusual about a little kid missing a front tooth. But of course I'm upset and worried about it.

I'm trying to keep in mind my "never let 'em see you sweat" mantra through all this, but it's tough. I'm sweating, big time. But maybe a cheery movie playing on a screen in the ceiling would calm me down ...

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