Tag: teeth


Last night I pulled out the trundle bed. I have been sleeping in Small Z’s bed with Small D for a few months now, but over the last few nights I worried I was waking her up. I thought how delicious it would be for us to have our own space each.

Until I’d lain there on my own for a while, and missed my little warm softly breathing creature that usually lies right next to me. It was, of course, lovely to stretch, and turn, and not worry about waking her up. She woke up just fine on her own. At least ten times. Oh GOD. I got out of the trundle each time and on to the bed where she was and cursed the non-existence of a double bed that I could have just rolled over in.

It was an awful night. And this morning I couldn’t even bear to swim. Small Z woke with a cold and refused to go to kindergarten. And Small DB? Halfway through today I saw that she has another tooth down the bottom, next to the two that are through in the middle. It hasn’t broken the gum yet – but it explains why her patience is short…

Tonight while I was getting Small Z’s dinner together I had her on my back in the Ergo. She’d done a couple of yells to say she was getting pretty over it. I’d kept on chopping and cooking. So she bit me on the back. Three times. WTF?! This is where she diverges from Small Z – no WAY would she have ever bitten me to make a point. On the boob maybe, but the back?!

It’s the teeth. She seems to be having more angst with this one than the previous four combined. I gave her a cold carrot and she settled down, but…. geeez. So tonight, if the 90 minute wake ups kick in again in a few hours, she’s going to be trundling along with me. We’ll try separation some other time. Maybe also not during the famous nine-month sleep regression…*eyeroll*

Getting oneself in order.

Almost unconsciously I am getting myself in order. I have begun following up on referrals for scans given to me eight or nine months ago. Not scary scans – just scans for my lower back/leg thing and bone density in relation to longterm breast feeding (low calcium…) The things I have been waiting for my tax return to cover.

And teeth. I had not been to the dentist for five and a half years. Some people might gasp at that; others won’t think it’s weird at all. M told me that you could go the dentist down the street and just get your teeth cleaned…for a hundred dollars or so. Not inspected with a sharp implement – just cleaned.

So I did. My appointment was last Saturday morning. I filled out the information form in the waiting room confirming all my personal details. At the end of the form it said; “Are there any other issues you would like to make us aware of in relation to having dental treatment?”

I wrote, “I don’t like it 🙁 ”

When I got into the room and settled back on the chair, the hygienist and the dental nurse told me they loved my comment. They did their best to calm me. I like to think I am pretty good with pain – drugfree childbirth? Done it twice. But the feeling of someone poking about with a noisy instrument in my mouth, unpredictably contacting a sensitive area…does my head in.

I told them that I had never had my teeth cleaned without having anaesthetic injections. I could almost feel their internalised eyeballing. I tried to convince them of my terror and explained that not only had I endured braces for three years, but I had four teeth pulled out at the age of ten…four health teeth, in preparation for the braces.

“Trauma,” nodded the nurse, “a lot of people have difficulty…”

“Just remember to breathe and relax,” said the hygienist, snapping on her gloves with unnecessary vigour.

I lay like an iron rod with zero respiratory function.

“Wiggle your toes,” instructed the hygienist, “and breathe!”

Wiggling my toes was actually helpful. Did you know you’re supposed to wiggle your toes if you really need to urinate – the nerves are the same as those to the bladder, so the wee-urge gets distracted by toe-wiggle…or so a physiotherapist once told me.

“Raise your hand if you need a break,” she said, as I tried to resist another full body spasm. She wasn’t causing me extreme pain, but I was being poked in places that made me jump. She stopped.

“You’re doing really well. But – you’re going to have to try and stay still. This thing is sharp and I don’t want to go through your cheek…”

She started back up and I aimed for semi-comatose. My toes wiggling overtime. Trying to breathe slowly through my nose. Thinking that this really wasn’t much to endure in the scheme of things. Finally she stopped – it had been seventeen minutes and $120. I rinsed and spat, expecting blobs of blood…but the water was clear.

“I’ve done what I can today, but I’d like to finish the clean. Sometimes you can have holes in between your teeth that you can only see on x-rays. So…go to your doctor and ask for a prescription for some valium, and before you come back next time, take half a tablet – also, do you have an iPod?”

I nodded.

“Bring that and listen to something that you like while I do the rest of the clean. OK?”


I staggered out feeling orally violated. And mentally torn – did she really think I needed to go back, or was that just evil up-selling? I am as suspicious of dentists as I am of real estate agents – they have to all encourage you in order to reap more profit. Grrrr. And valium. Valium? That is just too weird…

My appointment is not until mid-March. I asked the ladies at my work yesterday about the valium (we work for a medical specialist). “Oh, don’t worry about getting a prescription said S, “I told X that I was nervous when I had to fly to Sydney last week and he said he’d give me something MUCH better than valium… I’ve got one left – you can have it.”

I am now the proud owner of one 2mg tablet of clonazepam – used for epilepsy and, apparently, anxiety. It is also known as Rivotril or Paxam. I often wonder about the freaky people whose job it is to name medications – there are very few poets among them.

The first tooth.

I had left the Smalls sitting in the bike-trailer pram outside a shop this afternoon. They were eating nectarines. When I got back Small Z was saying, “Take this nectarine away mama, I hurt my tooth on it, I hurt my tooth…” I was trying to fit yet more stuff into the trailer and had my head down, muttering “Just a minute, give me a minute, hold on a second…”

Finally, as she gave me the nectarine, and I passed it on to Small DB, I looked her in the face. Oh dear god – a GAP!! SHe had no idea she’d lost a tooth – it hadn’t been wobbly. I dug around on the floor of the bike trailer and FOUND THE TOOTH! Tiny little thing that it is…

Small Z was swinging in between tears and wonder. Bizarre. I told her the story of the way I lost my first tooth. I was still four, but had started school. We (the preps) were on the school oval playing ‘stacks on’ with the Grade Sixes – the oldest kids in the school that were supposed to keep an eye on us while we were still newbies.

I was in amongst it all and my chin came hard down on someone’s head. I felt a pebble in my mouth…and spat it out. It wasn’t until later that I realised I’d lost my tooth. I was pretty upset – I remember my dad picking me up from school that day. Together we went and searched the oval – he must have been humouring me because my tooth would have been just as tiny as Small Z’s. We didn’t find it. He took me to the All Soul’s Op Shop in Sandringham (still one of my favourites) and I was allowed to choose whatever I wanted. I was dazzled by such a prospect. I chose this little dish (I still don’t know why it appealed to the four-year-old-me so much…)

“So the Tooth Fairy didn’t come?” gasped Small Z, at the end of my story about the Olden Days.

“Well she couldn’t, could she? There was no tooth. It was lost on the oval.”


“Do you think that when we leave your tooth out for the Tooth Fairy we can leave a note to ask her to leave the money…and leave the tooth for your mama to keep?”

“Definitely not.”


“Nooooooooo – she might not leave me the gold coin!!”

M wrote out her note to the Tooth Fairy, and I soothed many worries about the Tooth Fairy arriving at the wrong time (“What if Daisy wakes up in the night and she comes? No one is supposed to see her!” and “What if I wake up and she’s here?”). Therefore it was decided to leave the tooth on the kitchen bench – none of that difficult under-the-pillow stuff – the logistics were clearly too difficult…

Letter to the Tooth Fairy
Letter to the Tooth Fairy

My mum is coming to mind the Smalls in the morning, and I anticipate her SHRIEKING when she notices… MIND THE GAP! And M and I couldn’t help ourselves…a glitter trail leading from the back door to a tiny screw-topped jar holding a $2 coin…

State of Decay. Mother of the Year.

Can you see the cameras flashing? The banner behind me that says ‘PARENT #FAIL OF THE YEAR’? It is I – destroyer of dentine and decayer of enamel. Welcome to my land of despair.

I took the Smalls to the dentist for a check-up. Basically Small Z went back in the seat, opened her mouth, a light was shone in and I shrieked,

“What the hell is THAT?!”

The polite and ever-smiling dentist informed me it was a tooth with quite a bit of decay – and could he x-ray her please, to check another suspect area?

I wrestled briefly with myself over radiation issues versus a child with a mouth full of blackened stumps, and acquiesced. Leaving Small Z trapped like a bug under a lead apron, we all stepped into the corridor for a moment. Zap. The other suspect area was NOT a hole (small mercies – I was looking for all kinds of small mercies) but, the first one was a PROBLEM. It was a baby tooth (YAY!) but it was one that doesn’t come out until around the age of ten or so…

Smiling Dentist broke it down for me. She could have the tooth filled and would probably require a crown – a stainless steel crown (WTF? Where did the precious metal thing go? What happened to gold? The stockmarket price on it is low, but obviously not low enough…)…OR…the tooth could be extracted, which would mean an appointment with an orthodontist after the fact as she might need a ‘spacer’ inserted to keep the gap open for the adult tooth. I blanched, as Small Z looked from me – the protector (and yet decayer) of her teeth – to Smiling Dentist, Tooth Hero and Owner of the Moving Chair and Big Light.

/…tangent: I have dentophobia. This dates to the age of ten, when it was decided that I needed braces. I had one of those fang upper incisors that had savaged its way through my gum – which looked awesome when I curled my lip like Billy Idol – who was just about to enter the charts. However, it was not considered a good look for the future. Thus, four teeth had to be pulled out to make room for fang-taming and brace application. They did it in two sittings. My memory is full of the dentist wrestling perfectly good teeth out of my mouth – and they didn’t want to leave. There were cracking noises, lots of jerking movements and at one point it seemed that he was almost kneeling on me to get maximum traction. Cue: blood, trauma and extensive cotton wadding. Even then I boggled at what had been done to me in the name of a straight smile. No kid of mine…etc. etc. /tangent

The Smiling Dentist began to look rather strained, because my eyes had rolled back in my head at the word ‘extracted’.

“Ahhh…which is the least traumatic option?”

“Well, she’ll be in the chair for much longer if we go for the filling and crown. The extraction [I steadied myself] would be pretty quick. I would say we should extract it.”

“Um.” I did actually shudder. “Can you look at Small DB while I just think about it a bit?”

I didn’t really get time to think about it, because they flipped Small DB back on the chair… No holes, but serious issues – the enamel on her back teeth is shot. Enamel hypoplasia.

“Enamel hypoplasia is typically caused by malnutrition, illness, infection or fever during tooth formation.”

Crap. Small Z also has some of this. The Smiling Dentist asked if they had had antibiotics a lot as babies. Neither of them has had antibiotics. I asked whether he had heard about the correlation between coeliac disease and problems with dental enamel. He hadn’t. We made an appointment for an extraction for next month, and left.

In previous reading I was sure I had seen links between coeliac disease and dental problems. I came home and found this. The other reason for my new title ‘Decayer of Children’? We have never used (grab on to your chair) we have never used toothpaste with fluoride in it. Why? Three reasons:
1) I didn’t want them swallowing fluoride toothpaste when they were tiny
2) There is a whole lot of gross stuff in normal toothpaste that I think everyone would be better avoiding – stuff like triclosan and SLS
3) I figured they would get a reasonable amount of fluoride from our drinking water

I don’t believe that the State of Decay was caused completely by the lack of fluoride toothpaste. In Small Z’s case I feel like I can definitely attribute some of the issue to coeliac disease. Small DB? I’m not sure – she hasn’t been tested for coeliac disease, but she did have a few instances where she had prolonged periods of fever when she was two or younger. Her teeth are on the edge of being a bit disastrous.

The Smalls are almost a junk-food free zone. They have a lollipop now and again. They have cake occasionally. They do eat quite a bit of fruit (yes, that is also sugar). But OMG, compared to many other kids I am acquainted with – they are DEPRIVED when it comes to sweets. I don’t allow juice (more sugar) – so they get milk, water or smoothies.

Nevertheless, I am now wishing that I had let them brush their teeth with chemical sodden, advertisement laden low-fluoride toothpaste – because if I had? Their teeth would either be better than they are, or not – but it wouldn’t be so directly my fault. 🙁

In the afternoon after the dentist appointment, Small Z complained that the tooth was hurting when she ate. There was no way she was going to last a month until the next appointment. I secured a cancellation at the same place, the following day. Smiling Dentist was not available, so she was to see someone else. I told M to turn up and say she had a toothache, and to get a second opinion. I handed the entire situation over to him, as I was a mess and incapable of rational thought.

THANK GOD!! While I sweated at work wondering what was being done to Small Z, M talked to the very savvy female dentist. He pinned her down and said,

“If this was your kid? What would YOU do?”

There was some prevaricating, but she eventually said that Small Z should have a filling and then the stainless steel crown. If it didn’t work, we’d be back where we started – then extraction might be an option. So that’s what they did. Savvy Dentist said that Small Z was the best kid patient she had ever had – very calm, and lots of questions. Small Z reported that the needle to numb her tooth hurt quite a lot, far worse than a blood test – but she had coped.

Little Metal Mouth is fine. I am recovering. We have low-fluoride toothpaste full of foaming agents, new toothbrushes, lashings of dental floss – we are brushing twice day (previously it was just at night) and I am trying to cover the coeliac angle by supplementing the Smalls with liquid Vitamin D – which in moderation can’t hurt, and will hopefully help. Coeliac disease stops you absorbing vitamins and minerals – which is why it leads to bone density issues – teeth are bones. And you can’t absorb calcium to make strong bones, UNLESS you have Vitamin D.

The End. I hope so.


And yes, I will post a picture of Metal Mouth when I can…

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