Last night Max complained to the point of tears that he had a sore tooth.
To his credit the emergency dentist said she was surprised he hadn’t come in sooner.
The inflamed and tender corn sized bulge on his upper gum finally got the better of him. We had no idea apart from a minor uttering of “my tooth hurts” a few days before. This was, with my usual temerity, dismissed and ignored. I don’t tend to show much compassion to the small injuries or minor complaints these days as there are so many, so when it gets to the ‘close to tears’ stage I know there is a problem.
It turns out that he had a hole in his baby tooth that had been growing for well over a year. Why it hadn’t been spotted by our dentist previously is beyond me.
Max, who is nearly 9, returned pain free from his evening appointment. His mouth was stuffed full of swabs and he had the look of a stroke victim. His half smile, half laugh delighting us all as we poked and prodded his numb cheek.
Zak offering to punch Max in the face to see if he “felt anything” was enough for us to stop. Instead Max, sounding like a mix of Elephant Man and Rambo, talked us through his dental ordeal. He told us of the injections and the tooth extraction. I felt increasingly guilty.
Is it my fault he had a hole in his tooth? Should I have been monitoring his teeth cleaning routine more closely? I think so.
But, as only a parent can, I still made sure he knew that this was his fault for not brushing his teeth.
According to the dentist children need to be supervised until the age of 10 to make sure they brush correctly.
Really? That is well over 6000 individual brushing sessions I would have had to monitor. After a few years you lose the will. Trusting them to actually brush properly and not do the toothpaste-on- tongue-for-mint-effect was obviously wrong.
We talk through the seriousness of looking after your teeth. He seems to have learned his lesson and promises to brush regularly and properly. So I ask….
“You know how you told me you don’t believe in the tooth fairy”
“Well if you don’t believe in the tooth fairy. How do you expect her to come tonight for your tooth?”
“Mmmm ……ok well I kind of do.”
“(pause)…..well unfortunately she doesn’t collect rotten teeth.
“aaaawwwww Da-ad your so mean…..”