It's happened again. My ability to structure a big picture routine and schedule, but getting bogged down in the details, has caught up to me in another way.
A few weeks ago Anna was eating popcorn and went to Jeremy with a complaint about something hurting on her gums. Jeremy didn't see anything where she said it hurt, but he noticed another tooth that did not look good. I made an appointment with our family dentist and at the appointment Anna curled up on my lap and cried. We had to force a look at the tooth and they saw enough to say it was a cavity and we needed to see a pediatric dentist.
Here's the thing--I've never had a cavity. If I had seen that tooth earlier, I don't know if I would have even recognized it as a cavity--maybe a stain or something. I started taking Aliza and Josiah to the dentist when they were 5 and they have never had any problems with tooth decay. My plan was to take Anna this fall when she turns 5. Cavities just weren't even on my radar! We let our kids brush their teeth independently when they could and wanted to. And we really didn't worry about it. In retrospect, we could have/should have been more thorough and consistent.
We have 3 pediatric dentist offices where we live. One wasn't accepting new patients, one said on their website that parents are not welcome in the treatment area so that left one to choose from. I made a morning appointment. The office was decorated for kids and Anna was cooperative. She sat on my lap on the chair and opened her mouth. The dentist was a gentleman closer to retirement age and he informed me that Anna has four cavities--one in each of her first molars. I would classify this dentist as "old school". He shook his head, said something to the effect of "it's unusual to see this much decay in someone so young", gave me a list of all the sugar to cut out of our diet along with a list of the 10 worst and best cereals, added a prescription strength fluoride toothpaste to our bill, and then told me that he had doubts about whether nitrous would be enough to relax Anna to do the work. And if nitrous didn't do it, he said, his only option was to refer us to a practice 2 hours away that does fillings under general anesthesia. He assured me there was no other practice on the shore that does this. This was all before I saw the bill for the consultation and the first two filling priced out.
I was crying before I left the office...trying not to let Anna see. Anna was just thrilled with the play ring, stickers and balloon she left the office with. She was ready to go back as soon as possible to get her "silver star" on her tooth.
I was still an utter mess by the next day. I started reading about what natural remedies there are for tooth decay and consulted with the person living the most natural lifestyle that I know. I read about fluoride. I talked to any friend I knew who had experience with their children and dental work. All of those Moms and children have survived! haha.
I was under a huge load of Mommy guilt and regret. I should have brushed her teeth. I should have made her brush her teeth twice a day since her first tooth. I should never have given her juice to drink. And now my mistakes are directly going to cause her pain and discomfort and maybe emotional injury too! On top of that I felt horrible guilt for the financial burden this was adding to Jeremy. I felt like I was suffocating and my anxiety level was very high.
In my head I told myself all the right things, but my body just didn't cooperate with my head! My constant prayer was, "God, you know me, you know Anna, you know what her teeth are, you know our finances and our commitment to living debt free, you know the timing so I give everything to you to sort out. Give us wisdom, discernment and direction." Every morning this song lived in my heart.
It didn't take me long to know for sure that I was not going to be changing our entire diet. We immediately revamped our brushing teeth routine for everyone. And we are using the fluoride toothpaste for Anna every other night.
I realize that this may all seem a bit dramatic for cavities. As a Mom I have not had to face any medical issues with my children and I'm a bit prone to anxiety over medical stuff for myself--and the four little people who carry part of my heart.
Before this post becomes unbearable I will end and bring you up to the present in another post!