*note to the dentally squeamish, there's picture you might want to avoid down the page.
On Tuesday morning as I was having a cup of tea with a friend, I heard these big hurty wails from outside. Looked out the window and saw Grace was being comforted by her dad, all seemed under control, so I went back to my tea and chat. But the wails kept going. Usually it's big cry, followed by a quiet cuddle and then back to zooming around. Not today. It turned out that Grace and Gerard had been riding the scooter around the concrete paths and come a cropper. There was blood coming from her mouth. I took over cuddle duty and we got blanket and something to wipe up the blood. The front tooth looked damaged but it was hard to tell. Later Grace went frighteningly pale and listless and I ended up phoning nurse on call. We ruled out concussion but the nurse recommended getting her checked out by a dentist. I rang the community dental service but the best they could do was a week away, so I rang the dentist I go to and they said we could go up straight away. Grace started crying the minute we got there and wouldn't let the dentist examine her, even sitting in my lap. He suggested we take her to the doctor for a sedative and then come back on Thursday. Grace perked up after lunch (soft food on her back teeth), and insisted she was well enough to go to playgroup where she told Mary I falled off my stooter.
Anyway on Wednesday, the doctor wouldn't prescibe anything stronger than painstop because as he explained to Gerard, he didn't know whether the dentist was going to use an anaesthetic. So Thursday at the dentist wasn't any better. Grace and I had talked about going and practised showing the dentist our teeth, but when it came to the crunch, I lay in the chair holding her arms and legs with mine as she screamed in terror. He still couldn't get a good enough look to suggest anything other than coming back if the tooth got infected or broke leaving a jagged edge. I went away feeling not only did we not have a plan, but that we didn't even have enough information to justify a wait and see attitude. He didn't charge us for either visit, but from what I'd seen, it was too bad to leave.
So after lunch, while Grace was napping, I rang the Children's Hospital and asked if they had a dental service we could access. I was put straight through and after talking to the nurse for a few minutes she said, I'll find a dentist for you to talk to. About five minutes later I was talking wth the lovely Amy and we went through everything and she said that she'd like us to bring Grace in for an assesment that afternoon and that if we got there before 4.30pm we wouldn't have to go through emergency. I can't tell you enough how different the approach was or just how impressed I've been with the Children's Hospital over the last two days. To examine Grace's teeth, they had her sit straddling my lap, facing me and then lean back onto the dentist's lap holding my hands. When she screamed, as they said she would, they got a really good look and it was all over very quickly. I was impressed with how they worked with the child's behaviour, there was struggle and it was still terrifying, but much less so than the regular dentist's approach.
Amy said that the tooth needed to be removed under general anaesthetic as the nerve was exposed; causing pain, bleeding into the tooth and leaving the area open to infection. Then there was a bit of waiting around with Grace alternating between saying she just wanted to go home, running up the corridors and playing happily with the books and toys. So surgery was booked for today. I didn't sleep well last night, I tried to be calm with it but all I could think of were the risks, the what if's and worry about my baby. And the dreams, I had all sorts of weird dreams in which some woman chastised me for how I bought up Grace, from what she wore, to what she ate, what she got away with and how we acted as role models. In the dream she told me you should be ashamed of yourself. Hideous. I was pretty glad to wake up.
Once the day got going, it had it's own momentum, even if a bit fraught in places. The wait was fairly long as we were last on the list. Grace didn't want to be weighed or have the hospital bracelet put on, she spat out all her pre-op panadol. And she was tired and hungry from fasting and missing her nap. But finally our turn came, the doctors were firm and friendly like before and I held her hand as she went under. Gosh it's quick. And we were there when she woke up. It's heart wrenching seeing your baby out of it on a hospital trolley with a mask on her little face, but she woke up quite quickly and after a big cuddle was walking around, choosing food from the fridge within half an hour. We were all pretty pleased to get home.
I have the tooth in a jar and Grace has been fascinated by it, but she didn't want it left by her bed for the tooth fairy. Insisting that it went back in mummy's room. I pretty sure the tooth fairy can cope with that. And I'm thinking that a gold coin might be the go for a tooth removed this way. Not that I know the going rate, this tooth fairy bizzo has come a bit early here at chez scruffnut.