MontCo Mommy: Getting to the 'Root' of the Problem

First 'the chin incident' now this Montco Mommy is dealing with an emergency trip to the oral surgeon.

Motherhood is unpredictable. That is a vast understatement, but the best way I can put it. It is just a rollercoaster of ups and downs. This past Friday was a big “down,” but in an odd way a little “up,” too.

It started off oh so simply. My daughter had been complaining all day Wednesday about her tooth hurting. She insisted that she couldn’t eat dinner because it hurt. Before you cast me off as a terrible mother, I’ve heard approximately 2,000 reasons my daughter cannot eat her dinner. So, when I didn’t take it too seriously, please forgive me. The girl insists she is never tired nor hungry.

As the pain continued and kept her up that night, I knew I had to at least look into the problem. I called our family dentist, and the soonest he could see her was Friday at 9 a.m. We got through Thursday without much complaint. She went to preschool, ate fairly “normally” (a loose term for a 3-year-old) and carried on about our business.

So by Friday morning, I figured we were in for a cleaning and check-up without much problem. After a cleaning, the dentist insisted she see a pediatric dentist, who specialized in children’s teeth. He thought that the back, bottom, right tooth was fractured, and could likely be repaired.

Thankfully, our dentist recommended us to a nearby specialist who happened to be able to take us right away. We drove from Norristown to King of Prussia and popped right into the pediatric specialist.

After an awe-inspiring waiting room visit (wow this place had it all, a touch-screen game system, a PS3, books, board games), we were escorted right in to see the dentist. After a quick look, the dentist turned to ask me if my daughter had had anything to eat yet that day.

It was an alarming question, but as usual, the answer was no, not yet. She said that was good, she’d try to get her into surgery right away.

You can imagine my shock. I thought she was there to cap it, or fix it, but she said that once a child’s tooth (that later would come out to make room for adult teeth) is fractured and infected, it was not worth saving. She wanted to have it removed.

Again in a chance of, what I guess you’d call “luck,” we were able to get right into an oral surgeon, also in King of Prussia. A short drive around the block and we were sitting in the waiting room of our third dentist of the day.

They took a look and agreed, this infected fractured tooth had to go. In the second time in one year of this girl’s three short years of life, I found myself having to restrain her in a doctor’s office.

After , you may well remember I didn’t fair so well, passing out as I had to sit with my daughter for six small stitches. This time, thankfully, there were no needles.

I must say, however, that having to hold the tiny body of your daughter while the oral surgeon forces a gas mask over her face, restraining her until she “fell asleep” quietly crying even then … it is not a pretty sight. If I never have to do that to one of my children ever again, I’d be happy.

I was shooed out to yet another waiting room, in tears, to wait for her to be done. A seemingly endless 20 minutes later, I was allowed back in to hold her while she woke up. Thank god, my sister came to help. With her dad at work, I’m not sure I could have done it all alone. Sometimes mommies need a helping hand, too.

A and toy from Walmart later, she was on the mend. She recovered far more quickly than I’d have imagined, eating soft foods the very next day. By Sunday, she was her old self.

Instead of a rear, right, bottom tooth, she has a gaping hole, but other than that, she’s just fine. We’ll have a follow-up on Friday to be sure it is healing properly, but after that, it’s history.

At end of the day, I think I’ve found myself taking time to appreciate the little things. While I know she wasn’t in too much harm (though I fretted the entire 20 minutes that she’d somehow not take well to being put under) overall, it was enough harm to remind me to appreciate the little things. Like, how my daughter refuses to eat…

Arnold J Malerman, DDS November 11, 2011 at 01:01 PM
I'm delighted that your daughter received competent care from the Pediatric Dentist and the Oral Surgeon. Unfortunately the situation is not "history." Please make sure she returns to the Pediatric Dentist as soon as possible for fabrication of a Space Maintainer to replace the missing baby tooth. A Space Maintainer will assure that the premature loss of the baby tooth does not result in the other teeth tipping and drifting into the extraction site, creating a malocclusion.
Melissa Treacy (Editor) November 12, 2011 at 12:48 AM
Thank you, Dr. Malerman. She did have a follow up today, but they did not mention this. It is her back-most bottom. Would it still need a spacer if it is the furthest molar in the rear? I'd love to hear your opinion, as the pediatric dentist did not bring that up at all.
Arnold J Malerman, DDS November 12, 2011 at 01:09 PM
The space maintainer used when the last baby molar is lost is called a Distal Shoe. Google "Distal Shoe" for more information. The purpose of the appliance is to prevent the permanent 6 year molar from erupting too far forward, impacting the lower second premolar. Your very well trained Pediatric Dentist may simply feel it is too early to place a space maintainer, and may have planned to broach the subject with you in the future. Don't make a special trip, but discuss this with the Pediatric Dentist at your daughter's next regular visit.


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