Early in 2012 Himself took Little Mr. to a routine visit to the dentist and came home after the check-up with the news that since this kid seems reluctant to part with any of his milk teeth, the dentist had made a full x-ray scan of his mouth that showed an entire set of upper and lower teeth hidden ready for the day when his milk teeth would do the decent thing and wobble themselves out of a job.
The dentist was delighted, telling us that all of these permanent teeth encased within the gums were in protective custody and safe from cavities as Little Mr. with the help of parents perfected his tooth brushing skills on teeth that would soon be departing.
The year passed, with nary a single wobbly tooth and no hint that any of them were even intending to get remotely loose and worse, by the beginning of December Little Mr’s bottom two permanent teeth got sick of waiting for their predecessors to depart and simply began pushing their way upwards directly behind the milk teeth that were still solidly in place.
Believe me: even stranger than the sight of an x-ray with four layers of teeth, is the sight of teeth two-deep visible in the mouth of your child, and since the kid was almost eight years old, this time the dentist was more dismayed than delighted that all of his milk teeth were refusing point blank to budge.
The stubborn bottom milk teeth attempting to keep the space which the permanent teeth were wanting to occupy would have to be forcibly removed.
We have a very strict dentist who’s mantra is that he has a long waiting list of patients who would be happy to take our place if we can not be bothered to take responsibility in following our dentists instructions and keeping our teeth in the best condition possible.
Himself, Little Mr. and Kiwi Daughter had a joint dentist appointment and Little Mr. was last in the chair, but since tooth brushing is strictly supervised in the Kiwidutch household it turned out that their teeth were in sparkling order and the dentist was ahead of schedule by the time Little Mr. was being attended to.
The Dentist left the room with Himself and they quickly discussed when these teeth could be removed. There was still time to do it during this appointment.
Since waiting would probably induce predicable anxiety on the part of Little Mr., the decision was taken to get the bad news over and done with immediately.
Little Mr. was less than impressed and wiggled less than cooperatively in the chair as the needles containing the anesthetic were inserted.
It’s hard to tell if he’s like me and has very sensitive gums and these needles really hurt, or if his wiggling just made unnecessary pain for himself, but either way he proceeded to use the full (not inconsiderable) capacity of his lungs to scream the place to bits, and Himself was forced to hold him steady in the chair so that he didn’t do physical damage to his own person or the dentist.
Kiwi Daughter said the noise was both impressively and embarrassingly loud and there was no covering the fact that it permeated every room of the practice so I ruefully expect that some nervous patients in the waiting room probably lot several kilo’s of sweat in the waiting room as they were forced to endure every decibel.
Amazingly, the recovery of Little Mr. as soon as the offending milk teeth were removed was nothing short of miraculous: he had no pain or discomfort and was actually desperate to go to school clutching his little trophy plastic container with bloodied teeth to show to the class, one of which sports a root longer than I thought physically possible to fit into this mouth.
The above photo was taken the day after the extractions, just two tiny indentations where the holes are is all that there is to show for all his trauma.
I photographed his trophies later and am still astounded at the length of the root. Little wonder that it wasn’t even remotely wobbling.
Kiwi Daughter has braces at the moment and had to have four milk teeth extracted to make space in her mouth, her extractions went without a single whimper and the promise that since it was not a pleasant experience that the ”Tooth Fairy” (She knows it’s us) pays Euro 10,- per tooth as a special compensation softened the blow.
Little Mr. was now Euro 20,- richer with the cash burning a hole in his pocket (well in Himself’s pocket) for the whole day before Himself was dragged to the nearest toy shop after school for an investment in Lego. Now on the last day of January 2013, there is still not a single wobbly tooth to be found. Little Mr. has celebrated his eighth birthday in recent months, so we now have the only eight year old I know who’s never ever had a wobbly tooth and appears to be heading for another round of extractions.
Forget general anesthetic, dentists here do all adult and child extractions with local anesthetic, it’s the Dutch way. If the problem is especially severe or medical complications are anticipated then extractions under a general would be done only exceptionally and in a hospital setting.
I’m not sure who’s looking forward to it least: the other patients who will unwillingly hear every detail of the procedure at full volume (at least they don’t know this yet), Little Mr. who probably will not be any calmer the second time around, or our bank balance because at 10 bucks per extracted tooth this could start getting rather expensive.
This is one occasion where I wish that Mother Nature would quite literally get a wriggle on and spit a few teeth out of the mouths of babes.