Tooth and Nail

Yes, last week I used the word “asshats”.
One of my goals for this year is to try to swear less. It’s not going so well. And at the moment I tweeted this, I was very stressed out.

You see, my son has a gorgeous, wide smile. And I would like to keep it that way.

Boo had been suffering from a bad toothache the past 3 days – so bad that it had been keeping him up at night. When I asked him where it hurt, he pointed to the new “baby” molar that is coming in. Since he’s always had a difficult time with molars, we wrote it off to those tough gums he had. For any dental complaints like this, it’s a good idea to get the opinion of a professional, so certainly bring them up next time you visit your dentist.

Until Thursday, when he came home from school with one puffy cheek. He looked like a chipmunk with one cheek stuffed full of acorns; the inside of his cheek was swollen as well – but when we looked at his gums, we couldn’t see anything amiss. I worried that he had developed an abscess in the new tooth.

Apparently, I was wrong in that – as the dentist told me derisively. He does have an abscess, but in another molar – one they (coincidentally) put a filling into three months ago.

In the course of the 5-minute examination the dentist did, the words “it looks like it might be this tooth” and “we’ll try draining it here and see how it does”. (Instills a lot of confidence, doesn’t it.) He vaguely mentioned that it would take two appointments, but if the steps taking in the first appointment “didn’t work”, they’d have to pull the tooth. My jaw unwittingly dropped (despite the fact that I already knew this was a possibility), and he snorted and said: “well, it could be worse, it could go into his eye or his brain”. When I later asked about administering Novocaine (after he commented that “The tooth is probably dead so he likely won’t feel anything, anyway”) he sarcastically remarked “Oh, no, we won’t give him any, we’ll just go on and he can suffer or whatever. Yeah, we’ll give it to him” blah blah blah.

Thanks for telling me that in front of my kid. Sarcasm is wasted on the young. They just don’t get it. Thankfully, Boo wasn’t paying much attention to the asshat dentist, either. Or so I thought.

Oh, and all of this guesswork was done without the benefit of an x-ray, which would have identified the actual location of the abscess. And any other problems.

LET ME BE CLEAR: I’m not criticizing the practice. Most of the people I’ve dealt with there have been lovely. But there is no excuse for being patronizing and speaking to me as if I’m an idiot just for asking questions about my child’s intended treatment, especially when words like “think”, “guess” and “try” are bandied about.

It’s my JOB to ask the right questions. To fight, tooth and nail, to keep my child safe, and look out for their best interests.

Yes, I’m beating myself up because I didn’t DEMAND an x-ray prior to Boo’s last filling. I feel like I didn’t do enough to protect him, and this time Momma Bear is not backing off. Yes, I’m angry because I didn’t take him in right away, but who would have guessed? I don’t like that I did cry when talking about it on the phone to my husband (once Boo was back at school). Or that it took me an hour’s walk through the fields, a 20 minute jump on the trampoline, half-yelling “I hate the dentist” and “I will not lose my temper” until I released some stress (sorry, lovely neighbors), two sprays of Rescue Remedy, and a cup of tea before my blood pressure dropped back to normal.

(I highly recommend a hearty bounce on the trampoline to release stress. Seriously. Yelling optional.)

It’s taken no less than 10 edits to keep this post from being a full-blown maniacal rant. I put on my happy face (along with a couple more hits of Rescue Remedy) on Monday so that Boo didn’t pick up on my anxiety.

I will do everything I can to keep this smile as lovely as it is now.

It is a lovely one, isn’t it?

*This post would fit in with last week’s “Project We” theme “Smile”, except that the Hubs asked me to delay the post until Boo’s first treatment was done. And except I don’t want to set a bad example for the blossoming young bloggers participating. And yes, while there is a lesson to be learned: good dental hygiene is important, swearing is bad. So I’ll link up with a happier post.*

To be continued…..


  1. Rescue Remedy, it always worked with dogs afraid of thunder. What has happened about his next dental appointment??

  2. I did not resolve to not swear. So, I will help you out on this one.

    That dentist is an asshole. You need to switch dentist’s offices.

    His smile is precious. You are doing a good job momma bear!

    • Love ya, girlfriend. Trying to find a new dentist….but its gonna be hard, as the new one they sent us to is just as “out there”.

  3. What kind of qualifications do they have for dental school?????

    • I don’t think it is as much to do with qualifications as it is with NHS rules and regs – and general attitude. They can’t administer nitrous oxide without an anesthesiologist on staff, and as they told me here, its too expensive to have one, so they simply don’t offer nitrous. Kids dental coverage is “free’, but I don’t know why some places don’t do xrays.
      Then again, there is no fluoride in the water because there was too much public sentiment against it. I simply didn’t do my homework on this one.

  4. You just made a resolution not to swear as much in front of your kids…cuss all you want on your blog. They can keep their health care system over there. And I prefer flouride in my water…that explains why no one smiles over there because they’re embarrassed by their teeth.

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