Monday, 9 September 2013

My Big Brave Girl and the Tooth Extraction

Today I had to take my 6yr old to the dentist for a tooth extraction

A few months ago she complained of toothache and was really upset because it hurt a lot. Her usual dentist couldn't offer her an appointment for at least a week, but I remembered someone telling me about the local child health dentist at the local cottage hospital and how good they were so I decided to give them a ring. They were lovely on the phone and they saw her that very afternoon.

With a nervous girl, we went to the cottage hospital to see the dentist. They were fabulous with her, completely putting her at ease, chatting to her, making her laugh and most importantly explaining everything to her (and me). Sadly she had a hole in her tooth so they gave her a temporary filling and made an appointment to see her again a week later for permanent one. 

The following week we went back and because they had put her at ease and reassured her so much, she was happy to go and skipped from the carpark to the hospital. This time she had a permanent filling, but, as before, they explained everything to her and she was fine. The dentist kept an eye on her the whole time and when she saw that my daughter was starting to get distressed and that it was becoming painful, she stopped. She explained to me that the hole was bigger and deeper than they realised and it was down to the nerve. She told me that they hoped that the medication they'd put in the filling would kill the bacteria in the tooth, but the chances were she would need the tooth out eventually. However, because it was one of her back molars, and one she shouldn't lose until she was 12, they hoped that the filling would help prolong the life of the tooth. She was given a couple more appointments to check her tooth and I transferred the other 3 to the same dentist as I was so happy with her treatment and care.

A few weeks later they stopped the check-ups after explaining they were happy with the tooth but that I was to keep an eye on it and if she complained of toothache or I felt a bump in the gum above the tooth, I was to contact them immediately. 

Before the start of the holidays, she woke up crying that her tooth hurt and when I felt the gum above I could feel a lump. I phoned the dentist but they weren't at our local cottage hospital for a few days. They did tell me where they were that day and that if we could get there then they would see her. Luckily it was at a town that the train stopped at, so I agreed to take her that day and off we went. The dentist examined her and said that she had an infection in her tooth and she needed antibiotics and would need the tooth out once the infection cleared. The antibiotics helped and a date was given for another check-up where the tooth could be examined again and a decision made. 

At the final check-up we discussed what was the best way to deal with her tooth extraction. One option was to take her to the main hospital 60 miles away for her to be put to sleep, but as it was just one tooth and there are risks with general anaesthetic the dentist thought it was better to just take it out in clinic, to which I agreed. The first appointment was a few days after my induction date, so I asked for another date in case I wasn't home from hospital in time (which I wouldn't have been) and we were given today.

As the appointment date came closer, we chatted to my 6 yr old about the appointment to prepare her, and she seemed quite happy about the idea, asking if she had the dentist today every day. 

We arrived at the clinic this morning after dropping off my 10, 8 and 3 yr olds at school. The dentist was lovely and she asked me if I would consent to her being given gas and air. We hadn't spoken about this before but I said that as long as my daughter was ok with the idea and it didn't scare her (she didn't like the mask on her mouth when she was put to sleep to her her grommets in her ears and her adenoids out). To be honest I thought it was a good idea as I don't want to traumatise her about going to the dentist (I hate it and will put off going until I'm dying in agony with toothache as I have such a fear of the dentist) and I also like that it will muddle her memory a little and help her forget how painful and uncomfortable it was having a tooth out. They showed her the machine and asked her if she wanted some "happy gas" and explained that it would go on her nose and she would have to blow up the balloon with her nose. She found this funny and wanted to give it a go.

They were absolutely fantastic with her, putting her at ease and making sure she didn't feel any pain at all. After a little while on the gas and air, she put some magic gel on the gum and once that had had a little while to work, she started injecting the gum. My 6yr old got a little unhappy at the strange feeling as the numbness took effect, but kept giving us thumbs up to show she was ok, especially when we explained it was normal. Eventually the tooth was pulled and what a whopper it was!

I was shocked to see that it had roots. I thought that milk teeth didn't have roots because they never seem to have any when they fall out, but the dentist explained that the roots shrivel up as the tooth starts to die and the new tooth appears and that's how they fall out. The tooth she had had out was supposed to be one of the last teeth to fall out and not until she was about 12 and that's why it was so big with big roots.

They even gave her a little bag to put her tooth in ready for the tooth fairy tonight!

She has been happily showing everyone her really big tooth and everyone has been surprised at the size of it, especially from such a small girl as she's small for her age! I kept her off school for the rest of the day as she got a little upset as the numbness wore off and it started to hurt, but a birthday party after school helped take her mind off it! Plus I'm going to buy her a new Barbie DVD tomorrow as a treat for being such a big brave girl tomorrow!


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