For as long as I have known him, Matt has hated going to the dentist. In fact for years after we were married I would go to the dentist every six months without fail, and he wouldn’t. (when you are as prone to cavities and other dental work as I am you have no choice but to go every six months or end up with a much more expensive dental bill) Finally, around the time we started having kids, I talked him into going to the dentist. I was hoping that would set a good example for our kids.
Matt’s dislike of the dentist stems back to when he was young. As a child he needed to have 8 baby teeth and 4 adult teeth pulled over time. To him it felt as if every time he went to the dentist they recommended that more and more teeth come out. Going through a situation like that makes it pretty understandable where his discomfort comes from.
I’ve never really understood why Matt had so many teeth pulled. From Matt’s jaded point of view it’s because the dentist was a sadistic human being who enjoyed torturing Matt. While I’m pretty sure that isn’t really the case, I may be one step closer to understanding why those teeth had to come out. And one step closer to creating a fear of the dentist for the next generation.
Brendan had his first appointment with the orthodontist last week. Matt and I were both mentally prepared to hear that Brendan would need braces. I had braces two different times as a kid and though Matt didn’t I’m guessing all those teeth pullings helped prevent the need. What I wasn’t expecting to hear was that Brendan needed to have a baby tooth pulled.
Basically the orthodontist explained to me that Brendan’s baby teeth aren’t falling out as easily as they should be. This has caused a bit of a traffic jam in the bottom of his mouth. He’s basically got 4 teeth vying for the same spot and nothing is able to grow in correctly. The orthodontist recommended that we pull one of the teeth causing the problem and see what that does to help. He was straight forward and said this may not be the only tooth that needs to come out with assistance, but at least for now it’s the only one he’s recommending we pull.
Brendan was, understandably, nervous about hearing that he had to have a tooth pulled. The orthodontic technician and I both tried to reassure him that it wasn’t as bad as he thought it would be. My initial thought was to wait a few weeks to get the procedure done so that Brendan would be on summer vacation and have as long as he needed to “recover” from the experience.
But as he heard me explaining this to Matt on the phone, Brendan spoke up and asked if we had to wait. I told him no we didn’t and he said he would rather just get it over with than think about it for the next few weeks. I was so proud of my little boy. Even being completely frightened by an unknown experience he would rather face it than worry about it.
I can’t say the same for my husband. If anything he’s more bothered by this than Brendan is. For him this is like living through the worst experiences from his childhood all over again. He wants to do everything he can to make this as painless an experience as possible for Brendan. My job is to keep Matt from going completely overboard in this pursuit.
We did promise Brendan that the Tooth Fairy pays extra when teeth are pulled instead of lost naturally. That perked his spirits up a bit. Money wasn’t really the angle he was going for however. He asked if we thought the Tooth Fairy would bring him a new Skylander for his tooth. I told him he was confusing the Tooth Fairy with the Easter Bunny and that the Tooth Fairy only brought money, not toys.
Despite that proclamation, it is our intention to reward him with a Skylander. What can I say? We’re both really big softies. Matt wanted to give him much much more than this, but I convinced him that a toy, ice cream, dinner of Brendan’s choice, and extra money from the Tooth Fairy was plenty to help him get over this. With the way we’re over selling this tooth we had better hope he never needs to have more than one tooth pulled. There’s no way I could afford what it’d cost me in rewards.
I’m not saying this will be easy for Brendan, but he’s a really resilient kid and I’m confident that he’ll come through this without too much trouble.