Monday, March 22, 2010

I feel like a terrible mother

Lamb 1 had to get 4 caps on his teeth and 2 silver crowns when he was 3 years old. This was done at a surgery center and he was put under to do this dental work. We had helped him brush his teeth, but I had no idea that you were supposed to take your children to the dentist before they were 3 years old. We were sent home after his surgery with areas of his mouth to brush extra careful. He did well at all his checkups since then.
Lamb 1 and 2 had several appointments scheduled at the dentist in January, February, and March. We kept having to change the appointments because Ram had a funeral at church, then we had a miscarriage, then he went to his grandfather's funeral, etc. We finally had an appointment today.
The pediatric dentist we see is 3 hours away so it is an all day deal including shopping. Lamb 1 threw up twice on Saturday night and Lamb 2 threw up once Sunday morning. I didn't know if they could handle an all day trip nor if they would be healthy enough. We decided to load the car and the boys and start and if someone felt sick on the way there it would be our clue to come home and call the dentist and reschedule. We really didn't want to reschedule because of all the times we had rescheduled before.
We made it and although Lamb 1 was tired and didn't want to get out of bed, once we got going everyone was fine and healthy all day long. Lamb 1 was a little more grouchy and impatient than normal, but it was a long day and he had just had the flu.
Lamb 2 did great at the dentist. He has tons of room between his teeth and at this point it is very unlikely that he'll get a cavity because he has so much room there that it is more difficult for food to get stuck there.
Lamb 1 also did great at the dentist...until last thing at the appointment the dentist looked at his x-rays taken today. He saw 2 almost cavities that we can watch diligently and 2 cavities that need to be taken care of now. I just wanted to cry because we do brush his teeth well and I thought that after his first dental work we had this problem solved. Lamb 1 almost always chooses water to drink at meals and other times too. The other Lambs almost always choose milk or juice. None of the Lambs ever have sticky foods because Lamb 1 has caps on his teeth. It just doesn't seem fair that a child that brushes well, almost always drinks water, and never has a lollipop (well, he had a couple of lollipops when he was 2 years old) has to have more dental work.
The good news was that Lamb 1 cooperates with the dentist and follows directions so this dental work can be done in the office, we won't have to go back to the surgery center. I was horrified at the thought that some children would have to go to the surgery center for this kind of dental work. The other good news is we still have money in our health care account from the church to pay for what the dental insurance will not pay for. The other good news is this is on his baby teeth so hopefully we can brush and floss better and take care of this before his adult teeth.
I was in shock at the office to receive the news that out of Lamb 1's 20 teeth-4 have caps, 2 have crowns, 2 need crowns, and 2 almost need crowns-so that equals half of his teeth. When I questioned what we could do better, they answered brush better and floss better. I can't see us doing any better on the brushing than we are doing, so that leaves trying to floss better. I was in too much shock to think to ask the dentist what we should tell Lamb 1 about this-how much do we tell him to prepare him for going back to the dentist for dental work in a few weeks? I'll have to call the office and ask that question. I don't know why he needs all this dental work myself and I know that question is coming from Lamb 1!
I remember when I was pregnant with Lamb 1 and I was at the dentist in the waiting room, there was a mother waiting while her two children had their dental cleanings. Her two girls were just a little older than Lamb 1 is now. The hygienist came out and gave the mom the news that both girls had cavities that needed to be taken care of. I was shocked to hear her laugh about it and respond to the hygienist that she thought they should eat a little less candy. I thought it was terrible that children the age of her girls would need any cavities filled. Ram has never had a cavity and I only had 2 right when my adult teeth came in. Now 6 years later, my oldest son has even worse teeth than those girls!
We scheduled an appointment in a few weeks for him. I did not do well the first time he had dental work, but it was more serious at the surgery center. I'm hoping that I do better this second time in the office. I also hope that he really does cooperate with the dentist and we can get this taken care of in the office and not have to make this a bigger deal.
We also scheduled Lamb 3 to have his first dental checkup in 6 months. I really hope that he follows Lamb 2 instead of Lamb 1 with his teeth!


Gina said...

My very first thought is please give yourself a break, you are not a terrible mother, if you need proof of it look at your beautiful children and for goodness sakes go read some of your school reports - you're amazing!

Secondly, I know if you are reading the Winston Price stuff the health of teeth comes across as it's all in your hands and it's all to do with nutrition etc. Don't get me wrong I think a lot of the ideas in that realm are good, but this one is hooey at least in part. My sister and I grew up in the same house, eating the same nutritional fluff, drinking the same stuff, caring for our teeth in the same manner. I never even saw a dentist until I was in my 20's and didn't have a cavity until in my late 30's. My sister went to the dentist, had cavities, braces, etc, etc, ad nauseum her whole childhood. She is four years younger than I am and finally had all her teeth pulled because she was in pain and tired of putting up with 'fixing' them. John has arguably the worst nutritional history of any kid on this planet and we've not taken him to see the dentist since he was 3, he has little teeth that aren't gorgeous but they are perfectly healthy, enough so that the dentist was even shocked. We've not taken him back because I'm operating on a 'if it's not broke I'm not fixing it' mentality.

In the end I think that like many things this side of heaven each of us display in our bodies some or a lot of the broken nature of this world. Poor little Lamb 1 has bad teeth at this stage in life, it doesn't necessarily mean his permanent teeth will be bad or that they will be good, it just means that right now these are. I am shocked at the amount of dental work that is said to be necessary on baby teeth and sometimes wonder if this has more to do with car payments and house payments that the dentist has than the actual interest of the child, but that's my personal bias. Really, honestly it's no different than the kid needing glasses, a hearing aid or a cast on a broken limb, sounds to me like time for a 'poor kid I'm sorry you have to go through this' special treat of some kind, sounds like mommy could use one too!

Dakotapam said...

Some kids have yucky teeth. Andrew had five cavities and had all kinds of crowns by age five. William had a tiny cavity at almost 11, Owen needed a crown at age 8 (but mostly because I saw the cavity, but avoided the dentist because I was so sick and pregnant), and Ethan is almost 6 with no cavities. Andrew has been cavity free since the early cavities, mostly because his molars have sealants.

Some kids get ear infections, some get cavities.

Be gentle on yourself!

Ethan, Zach, and Emma's Mom said...

I'm with Pam, some kids just don't have great teeth. I was one of them--I think every one of my molars has fillings in them. Don't be too hard on yourself--you're doing the best that you can.

This too shall pass!