Monday, March 30, 2009
Don't wiggle baby teeth. They have really long roots. Really long.
Dentist Office: Mrs. W?
Dentist Office: We just got Victoria's panoramic x-ray back and it looks like we need to get her in to "wiggle" two baby teeth out. They are getting in the way of the permanent teeth on either side of them and could potentially damage the roots.
Me: Woah! Well, sure. I don't want any trouble down the line. How soon do we need to do this? Is this like, an emergency "wiggle"?
DO: Well, the sooner the better. It should be a fairly easy procedure.
Now, when someone calls you from the Pediatrician or from the Pediatric Dentist and tells you that your child needs to get something removed that IS NOT A BIG DEAL, or mention the word WIGGLE, what would you think? I would think some aggressive wiggling would be going on. Also, in my 11 years of baby teeth experience, when a child loses a tooth, it looks like this:
No big deal. No roots to yank out. Okay. She'll be just fine.
Me: (continuing the call). What do I tell her? Do I just say that they need to pull two baby teeth out?
DO: OH NO! We NEVER tell them we are pulling their teeth out. That just adds too much anxiety. Just let her know that Dr. B (name changed to protect the quasi-innocent), will give her some little "happy gel" and then wiggle her teeth out. It will be an easy procedure.
Me: Okay. See you tomorrow after school!
I tell Victoria when she comes home. Using the exact language I was instructed to use to tell her what was going to happen. She looked very suspiciously at me. Gave me the total fish-eye. She wasn't buying this whole "tooth wiggling" business.
Next Day. At the Dentist Office.
They escort us back to the examination room and Dr. B comes in and shows us the panoramic x-ray and the offending baby teeth. I can see where they are growing into the roots of the others, I am starting to feel better about this. I ask what those long things are that are attached to the baby teeth, and they tell me that they are the roots. Now, how come baby teeth roots look like that? I thought they just came out with no roots. Just like little raggedy-type things at the top. I have never seen, nor delivered anything to the Tooth Fairy that had roots. I am getting just a little sweaty and nervous at this point. Victoria? She was already nervous and was shaking on the exam (electric) chair. I assured her all was fine. Grant did too. Yes, he was there with me. I needed all the moral support I could get.
The Dental assistant, was wonderful. She asked Victoria what her favorite colors were. Told her that they were going to put some "happy gel" on the gums so that the wiggling would not hurt her. She was game for that. Then, Dr. B. tells her that he is going to do some "mosquito bite juice" in her gums and that it would not hurt. It would feel just like a mosquito bite. Only, now I see that they are giving her shots in the mouth. Something that was not explained to me, since "wiggling" baby teeth with no roots, should not require shots. Right? Obviously, I am not going to pursue my career in Dental Health at this point. Enter the needle and Victoria screams. Not just says "ouch!", but screams. Her ass off. Our exam room? Directly behind the welcome desk. That door slammed shut in about a nano second. The Dr. then turns around to Victoria and says, "You need to keep it down, Victoria. You don't get to yell like that. Calm down!". Grant and I look at each other, but are trying to give him the benefit of the doubt.
This Dentist lives in our neighborhood. His kids go to the same school as mine. The majority of my friends go to him, and up until now, I always liked him. We really don't want to cause problems, so we just attribute it to the possibility that maybe her scream rattled him. We are all human, right?
Dr. B continues giving her mosquito bites. She keeps crying and saying that it hurts and she is trembling like crazy. I feel so sorry for her, but I figure that eventually, her mouth will not feel any pain, due to the shots. Let's just get through this bad part and then it will all be smooth sailing. Dr. B. finally finishes with his "mosquito bite (my ass) juice" and tells Victoria that he will be back in a few minutes to give it a chance to work and then he will be ready to wiggle the teeth out. I keep looking at the teeth on the x-rays and thinking that maybe this is not going to be as easy as it seems. Nothing ever is with Victoria. I think she has extra nerves in her body. Like double what normal people have. She's a fragile flower, this one.
As we sit and wait, we tell Victoria that all will be fine. That she won't feel any pain, just pulling. To relax. We tell funny jokes and generally try to keep her calm.
Enter Dr. B. Who then tells Victoria that he is going to test the teeth to make sure that she can't feel anything. He takes some sharp-ish instrument and taps around and she confirms that she does not feel any pain when he does it. He tells her that if she needs to say something, that she is supposed to raise her hand. She agrees. In theory, of course.
Next thing I see, he is picking up a huge pair of pliers. Victoria sees them too, and starts to cry. The lovely Dental Assistant tells her that its okay and that they are just using these to make the wiggling easier. I hold her hand and stroke her leg, and the assistant says lots of soothing things to her, getting her to relax. He starts to "wiggle" and Victoria screams again and starts yelling that it hurts. The Dentist gets furious with her and tells her that she "does not get to yell at him like that" and that he had told her that if she had to say something, she is supposed to raise her hand. I tell her that she needs to relax. That this is not supposed to hurt. She insists that it does and starts wanting to get out of the chair. We explain that she has to stay put.
After a lot of discussion, we decide that we should give her some laughing gas. They explain that it will cost an additional $60.00 out of pocket. I don't care what it costs. If it is going to make this more bearable, I would have done it. As she is getting the gas mask on, she asks me if this is going to hurt, to which I tell her that no, you just breathe it in and it will make you more relaxed. Dr. B then looks at me and says, "I think it's best that I do all the talking. Not you.". I look over at Grant, and he can't even look at me. I silently tell him (the Doctor, not Grant) to Fuck Off, but again, say nothing, like the total asshole that I am becoming at this point.
He leaves us with the laughing gas to go attend to his other patients, returning 20 minutes later (which as I come to find out, is about 10 minutes too long for Victoria). He puts more "mosquito bite juice" into her mouth, as she silently sobs and tells us that she is feeling weird now. Her legs and arms are tingly and she wants to sit up. NOW! I hold her down, he plies the teeth out while she is asking (sob-crying) if he is done and that asshole won't answer her. The whole time he is pulling out these teeth and she is crying, he is telling her to be quiet. "Stop yelling! Don't talk to me like that!" WTF? She is 9, you jerk!
Finally, he is finished. I hold her and she is sobbing and I am telling her that it is alright and that it's over. I fought saying anything to him in front of her, because I did not want to further mar her experience at the Dentist with a verbal spanking on my part. We should have stopped it. I should have said that we were leaving, but we had gone so far with all the shots, that I just wanted to get it over with, rather than trying again some other time.
What kind of a doctor, who makes his living treating children, acts like that? She was obviously scared. It hurt and he did not give her enough anesthesia to block her pain. He yelled at her and I will NEVER go back to him again. Both Grant and I were so upset when we left the office, not to mention Victoria. We were mostly mad at ourselves for not having said anything to him and for not taking her out the minute he yelled at her the first time. We both talked to her about how we will never let that happen again and that no doctor will get to talk to her like that again. That none of this was her fault. That we will walk out of any place, should this ever happen again. I have never felt like such a spineless ass as I did that day. I still feel the shame stinging me to the core.
So here is a picture of the "wiggled baby (my ass) teeth". I can't believe how long the roots are! No wonder it hurt.
Next time we have any tooth pulling I have two words. Oral Surgeon.