Wednesday, June 21, 2006


The one with the dentist

I don’t know what makes me feel worse: that Tristan has had two appointments with the dentist recently; that one of them required a filling (with a second to follow in two weeks); or, that I completely forgot about one of the appointments and didn’t remember it until Beloved called me at work to tell me it had gone well.

I’ve slid from micromanaging the parenting of my children to being an absentee mom. Oh, the guilt.

Poor Tristan; I just don’t know what to do about his teeth. He had a couple of fillings last year, which I attributed to neglectful brushing on our part. After that appointment, I vowed to be more diligent, and we were. Except here we are, a year later, with two more fillings. The dentist assured Beloved that he simply has deep grooves in his teeth, and that’s where the cavities are hiding, but I still feel awful.

When he went for his first fillings last year, he went to a paediatric dentist who used gas to relax him before doing the work, but since he was fine during the exam appointment a few weeks ago, yesterday they just did the fillings in my family dentist’s office.

Beloved said he was a trooper, never squirmed or complained and did exactly what was asked of him. Maybe a fear of dentists is a nurture thing instead of a nature thing after all! (Sorry, Twinmomplusone – nothing personal, but I have a deep and abiding fear of dental procedures.) Beloved was highly impressed with the dentist herself, a new partner of my usual dentist. She told Tristan that she was putting the tooth to 'sleep', and that the cotton balls were pillows for the tooth to snooze on, and that she was cleaning out the 'sugar bugs'. (That last one would have freaked me out, but it seemed to work for Tristan.)

Toothbrushing is an ongoing source of drama at our house, at least with the preschoolers. They both start out willingly enough, but I can’t get either of them to keep their mouths open long enough, or really give their teeth the scrubbing they need. There is much flailing and wriggling, a few threats, a lot of pouting, and some tears – every. single. time. we brush their teeth.

We’ve tried creative solutions, like telling the story of Tommy the Toothbrush and his visit to molar land. We’ve tried pinning them to the floor and just forcing them into submission. And we’ve tried most points on the spectrum in between. They always resist, they always complain, and it’s always annoying. We've just bought Tristan a new Spiderman electric toothbrush, and I'll probably pick one up for Simon, too. Despite all that, though, toothbrushing is a battle of wills and tempers every single time.

If y'all are having the same struggles, I won't feel so bad. (Hey look, misery does love company!) Any thoughts on how to make this a little easier?