Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Thinking Outside the Box

I got the call on Thursday that I had been dreading for almost a year: the pediatric dentist saying that the kids were due for their 9 month check and cleaning. I had to move them to a specialist dentist after Ava had 2 cavities filled at our family dentist, and she developed a vivid fear by the third appointment that had her shaking and crying when they called her name in the waiting room. It's horrible to see your child so terrified, and know that you are the one to push them to get the necessary work done. She had cavities that needed to be filled, and an overwhelming anxiety that made her cling to me and sob. There was no way she could get the work done at our dentist, so we were referred to the pediatric clinic. My no-nonsense personality wasn't thrilled with this hiccup and I tried telling Ava that in life you have to buckle down, face your fear, and just get the job done, but I've come to slowly realize that with fears that type of advice isn't very effective. You do have to push through at some point, but Ava's experience with the pediatric dentist has taught me that if you think outside the box, you get better results.

Dr. Cam, our kind and fun new dentist for the kids, got Ava to relax by her third appointment with him. He recommended using nitrous oxide (laughing gas) before freezing, and that made all of the difference for her anxiety level. Plus the office is fun and kid friendly. On the negative side, it costs a mortgage payment to get in the door, and I still dread taking them because of what they will tell me as there is always another issue with my offspring's teeth. Yesterday was no exception. The great news is that they were both cavity free (hooray, children's floss since all of Ava's cavities before were between her teeth), but the bad news is that William's broken front teeth from a fall 2 years ago are getting worse in the back, meaning repairs before the root is exposed, and Ava's back molar is growing in at a wonky angle, necessitating a pull of one of her baby teeth and a spacer put in to make room for the adult tooth.

Expensive and inconvenient. Plus I have to jolly my kids along into thinking it's fun to go see Dr. Cam, sit in the chair, open their mouths and have work done to their teeth. Ava is more easily convinced now, but William is a whole other story. Yesterday he was shaking and afraid in the chair when he didn't like the taste of the "toothpaste" or the "teeth vitamins" fluoride. I shamelessly bribed him with a toy if he didn't cry, and he struggled to be brave, but in the end he broke down crying as I knew he would when I saw the firm set of his mouth, and then it required endless encouragement from Mom so the dental assistant could finish the damn cleaning. It's hard emotional work. One day in this lifetime I want to be unable to take them to the dentist and have Jason do it.

It's not an easy thing to convince kids to do something they don't want to do, but they must do. It's the same for all of us. As adults, we just have more experience pushing ourselves to do the dreaded task, confrontation or appointment, but we learned that skill somewhere. I like to think that my kids learn it a little more with every visit to the dentist. Or at least that's what I'll tell myself so I can psych up for their March appointments. Think of what they are learning...good skills for later...oh, screw it, I'll plan to be sick or fall down the stairs or something and make Jason take them in March.

The first Creative Writing course finished last night. I felt really sad to say goodbye to such a great group of writers. My goal was to inspire them all to get writing on a regular basis, and I think that happened. We're trying to spin some writer's groups out of the class as a way to keep the momentum going. I love that feeling of cameraderie that develops in a group to turn strangers into people who enjoy each other's company. Hearing everyone read a bit of what they want to write was so inspiring as every person has a unique voice, and something to say which will enrich the world in a new way. The next class starts March 1st, and is full with a waiting list. Who knew there were so many writers out there? It's like a secret club and now we can all identify each other and relate well to one another. I'm hoping to add more people to this club, see it grow and discover where it will take all of us.


  1. A neighbour lady used to always tell my mom that she was so lucky my brothers and I had straight teeth and would never need braces. Then the dentist said we all had an overbite and needed braces... sometimes wonder what people did before dentists, but I guess they're a good thing.

  2. I alternate between thinking it's all a crock and a money grab, and realizing that we do need help looking after our teeth. It just seems so insanely expensive for the work you are getting. I needed braces too, mainly for the gap between my 2 front teeth. I guess we are both in the braces club - lucky us!

  3. I am so not looking forward to this. Caleb HATES having his teeth brushed. Every morning and every night it is a fight and ends with me holding him down and him screaming. So I can only imagine the dentist!