Sunday, October 10, 2010

parenting fail: holey, holey teeth

I hate to be told I'm bad at something. I tell myself enough that I'm bad at all kinds of things, so when others jump on that wagon, I tend to get really (quietly) defensive.

For the last couple of weeks, Pic has been telling us that her back, bottom left tooth is hurting. We decided it was finally time to take her to the dentist. (I know, I know. However, Cardo's first visit to the dentist was incredibly late in his life and I have a lifelong history of scary, painful, entirely unpleasant dentist office experiences.)

So, last week was Pic's first dental visit. All went well except the four cavities in the four corners of her mouth, gaping like little Grand Canyons in miniature. The dental hygienist was awesome. She was so patient and cheery and really connected with Pic. I never had a visit like this when I was little. (There had to have been pediatric dentistry back then, no?) Then, the dentist came over. He was more businesslike, which I think is partly due to his job. He came, inspected Pic's mouth and spouted off a bunch of numbers and letters and ominous-sounding terms I don't even remember but which sounded like we'd need to get her a set of tiny dentures or something.

After Dr Dentum* performed his exam, he told informed us of the evils of snacking. Then he listed a huge amount of foods that lead to sugar build-up on teeth. Most of the foods -- Gatorade, soda, Cheetos, chips, ecc, ecc, ecc** -- Pic doesn't eat. He finally got around to candy, though. She does like herself some M&Ms. Also, she and I have majorly (holey) sweet teeth***. Dr Dentum admitted that telling his patients the evils of snacking doesn't cause them to stop snacking, rather he was informing us so we could choose to do something about it. We're choosing to brush our teeth many, many more times a day. He also suggested not bringing forbidden fruit into our home, which would work best for me personally...if I had any willpower whatsoever.

We go back in a couple of weeks for some pretty serious (and pretty friggin' expensive) dental work. I sincerely hope we've learned from this experience. I don't want to go back in six months or a year or two (or ever) and learn that we've failed in the dental hygiene area once more. I also don't want Pic to be in any more pain.


* Not his name.

** ecc is the Italian equivalent of etc. ecc = eccetera. I like to use it in my informal writing.

*** Can we pluralize "sweet tooth"? Hmm.