**When we last saw our heroine, she was at the dentist's office, cowering on the floor, surrounded by a team of judgemental hygienists. She had let this happen. She had ruined her daughter's perfect mouth. Sobbing and hanging her head, she accepted the blame that she knew to be hers. **
Okay. No. It wasn't like that. The hygienist, very politely, pointed out the cavity, and on the way out we made an appointment to bring her back and have it filled.
"They'll be putting her out with gas for the filling," the receptionist said cheerfully, as she handed me the appointment card. "Oh. Okay," I mumbled absently, as I stuffed the card in my purse and hustled the kids out the door.
How could this have happened? We don't let the kids have candy, except for special occasions, and even then, nothing gummy that might get stuck between tiny teeth. A cavity? They don't drink pop. APPLE JUICE. Okay, Kee isn't allowed to have apple juice anymore. That's the likely culprit. How could I have not noticed? But we water it down! And she only has it once or twice a day. Oh my god, the guilt. We brush her teeth every day... wait a second. Not we.
I swung around and pointed an accusing finger at my husband. "YOU!"
I fumed all the way home. I'm not saying that I was being entirely reasonable, but my husband is responsible for three things in our house*: taking out the garbage, doing bath time and brushing teeth.
I couldn't help thinking that maybe he hadn't concentrated properly while brushing her teeth. Maybe he just wasn't being thorough. Had he even been brushing those back molars?
A couple of hours later, I was still brooding over it. They were going to have to drill into my baby's tooth. They were going to pry her tiny jaw open and stick a needle in her face. They were going to gas her. Great. A brand new thing to be worried about.
I managed to put it out of my mind for most of the next month. Except of course, when I was brushing her teeth and that tiny black spot taunted me with my sub par parenting.
Leading up to her appointment, we talked with her about what was going to happen. So, she was not worried. I of course, was. Remember how I get swimmy when the needles come out? I kind of thought I might barf when I saw the gas mask. And they might have to give her a needle anyway. So I might barf and then pass out and fall in it.
On dentist day, Kee was pretty excited about going and getting her "cabbity" fixed. Husband took the day off to drive us down there so we wouldn't have to go on the subway (you know, just in case someone threw up or something).
When we got there, the first thing we saw when we walked into the office was the tiny mask. Much less menacing than those needles. I swear to god, they were as big as my head.
They set her up in the chair, watching Sesame Street, with her blanket in her hand. They covered her little face with the mask. They said it was a pretty small cavity, so they wouldn't need to give her a needle -- sorry, "sleepy juice"**-- and they got to work.
They don't use giant metal clamps to keep your mouth open anymore; they have soft rubber wedge thingies that they slide in between your jaws. They also don't use ugly dirt coloured metal to fill the cavity anymore; they use lovely tooth coloured stuff, so you don't look like you've got stuff stuck in your teeth for the rest of your life. Even the drill is quieter. They had vanilla flavoured gas for frack's sake! That's practically aromatherapy.
She was done in five minutes.
I worried on and off, about various random horrible things, for a month and it was over in five minutes. Which was a relief... but you know... all that worrying...
I listened as the dentist explained that the cavity had been caused by a malformation of enamel on the biting surface. So, not inadequate brushing? Nope. Genetic.
They also praised me for bringing her in. Apparently a lot of people don't listen to the dentist about things like filling baby teeth, because they figure they're just going to fall out.***
So. Not only can I still blame the cavity on my husband (he's got terrible teeth, it's totally on him), and not blame myself for not seeing it earlier, but I am also super smart and responsible.
In short; I am the best mother ever.
*You know, other than working at some "job" place somewhere to earn money and support us all; but technically, that's not "in our house." (Thank you, Husband!)
**The term the dentist used. Apparently, this is what they say instead of "big honking needle full of novocaine" now. Pretty sure this is not a real medical term.
***Leaving it to grow can lead to things like abscesses, spacing issues and having to pull whole teeth out at a later date. Which can be really painful, gross and/or expensive. So don't do that.