My little guy’s teething. I have so much sympathy for the poor little sausage, but I’m also more than a little freaked out.
You see, when I was eleven I had to have braces. I was very excited about this fact as not only did I think they were cool but it meant I’d get lots of attention, and I can’t pretend I haven’t got the attention-whore gene. I was also the first in my class to get them so later I got to be the “expert” (my friend’s words, not mine!) and answer questions about cleaning the plate. Oh yeah, life was good.
Only… my dentist was an absolute B-word. I had three braces over a couple of years and it turned out that none of them had fit me properly. I was left with a whole ridge of skin behind my top teeth, and when that eventually receded we discovered that the backs of my front teeth had almost disappeared. Around the time we were starting to notice that something wasn’t right he told me I needed some teeth taking out to allow for my teeth to move a little more. He did this under local anaesthetic, which was the first time I’d had them removed that way, and he didn’t wait long enough for it to work. When I screamed he shouted at me to shut up.
I was pretty scarred by this and, needless to say, I avoided the dentist wherever possible for a great many years. (It might be worth mentioning that the dentist in question was thrown out of that practice and had to set up on his own in a private practice.)
When I did eventually go back it was because I had a wisdom tooth coming through and it was agony. I also needed a rotten tooth (another memento of my braces) removing. My mother-in-law told me about a phobia-friendly dentist near where she lived, so I went to stay with her and she drove me there. The dentist was, in fact, lovely. She put me at my ease, she let me have gas and air when I freaked out, and she arranged for me to have my rotten tooth removed when I was under general having my jaw chiseled to remove the wisdom tooth. All good.
The pain of the wisdom tooth removal was immense and it took over a week for it to stop bothering me, but I was so proud of myself. I’d done it! I actually felt like I could go back to the dentist if I needed to. I was calm. It wasn’t nice but it was okay. Even when the hole got infected and I had to go to a less-than-friendly emergency doctor in a town miles away from home I managed to stay relaxed-ish.
But, of course, it can’t be that simple. A couple of years later I managed to break a tooth on a Hula Hoop. I was nervous of going to the dentist again by now as it had been quite a while, but I knew it had to be done. I went back to the old practice where my phobia had begun and, wouldn’t you know it, I was taken into the very same room. With my pulse racing I tried to explain to the dentist that I was a very nervous patient but his English was broken and his temper was frayed. He didn’t have time for niceties.
He decided to take the tooth out there and then. It was another local anaesthetic experience I would live to regret. He did leave the anaesthetic long enough and he did give me more when I needed it, but the tooth shattered and the whole process involved him tugging little pieces of tooth out of my bloody mouth. I was picking bits out of my hair and off my clothes as I left.
I haven’t been near a dentist since.
When I was pregnant I told BabyDaddy that he’d have to be the one to do the dentist trips with Ted so that he wouldn’t inherit my fear. We’d find a way to make it seem natural and I’d be positive about it so long as I didn’t have to go. But I didn’t think about the fact that he would have teeth. Actual teeth. Teeth that dentists look at and pull out and put braces on.
Now that he’s teething I’m concentrating on making him more comfortable and cuddling him when he’s upset, but I know that pretty soon there will be teeth! When my niece recently showed me her wobbly tooth I felt so panicked I thought I might throw up on her.
I’m hoping for some sort of miracle whereby as each of Ted’s teeth come through I feel a bit less scared because they’re Ted’s and Ted means the world to me. I’m hoping that making Ted happy will be a stronger instinct than this fear. I’m also hoping that he never ever ever wants me to pull out a wobbly tooth because I think I might pass out. Or die.
See, I don’t think this tooth thing’s going to go away by itself. Which is a bit unfortunate because I don’t think his teeth are going to go away either.