Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Case's First Dentist Appointment and The Disappearing Paci

I was reading a local magazine a few weeks ago and it was talking about pediatric dental health.  Apparently dental visits are supposed to start at age 1.  I was a little late getting that message so I started the dentist hunt.  I wouldn't dare take him to my regular dentist as I'm pretty sure they would lose all of their clientle in between the screams that I was pretty confident would be coming from my sons gifted lungs.

I found a great recommendation close by but the soonest that doctor could see him was March 18th.  I'm not sure if you remember but Case's little brother is due to be cut out of me on March 17th.  I just wasn't sure the hospital would release me so I could run Case to his dental appointment the day after such surgery so I had to go with the other doctor in the office, who saw Case on 3/7/11.

The appointment started off great in the basketball waiting room.  Even after having been at story time already that morning and being 1.5 hours late for his morning nap he still found extreme pleasure listening to his feet march on that hardwood floor.  He loved that little room and the sound of the echo he could make.  I was still pretty sure the remainder of this visit wasn't going to be nearly as entertaining for him.

The hygienist called him back about 2 seconds after he decided to poop so after one whiff of him she agreed to wait for a diaper change.  Once we got to the room, which I was pleased to see had a closed door, we put Case on a "toddler table" which consisted of my legs and the hygienist's legs.  Pretty high tech.

He was all smiles until he had to lay down.  Let the screaming begin!  She asked some questions and  used a tooth brush to put the flouride on his teeth and that was the end of her part.  He pretty much screamed through most of the brushing but was fine before and after it.
Grandma... do you see what they are doing to me?!?!
Yes, it looks as though I'm consoling him
after a terrible injury... I take this mom
thing pretty serious!
Meeting the doctor
Case:  Are you serious Mom????
And we're fine again!
So the doctor complemented Case on being such a laid back kid.  He said he would consider this appointment a success because Case recovered so quickly from the exam and was immediately happy again. I think he might be off his rocker, no I KNOW he is off his rocker after what he told me next.  He had concerns about how Case's front teeth are shaped already due to pacifier use.  Now let me clarify pacifier use for Case.  He has one that hangs above his carseat, which he will use when he is in the car and he has 7 of them in the bed (might be overkill but he can always find one and loves playing with them).  Other than that he rarely uses a paci.  The next thing he told me (while knowing that I was 10 days away from having another baby) is that I could start that day and take it away.  "He's a laid back kid... he'll adjust quickly" he says.  He told me that if we stopped using it now his teeth would correct themselves.  Somewhere in there the comment was made "if he stops using it now then his teeth will go back but if we wait until he is 4 or 5 to take it away they won't."  I sort of feel like there is a BIG gap between 1 and 4 or 5.  He unloaded a lot of psycho babble about how Case would adjust quickly and how when the new baby comes and has the paci that he wants we would just need to explain to him that he's too big for a paci now... I'm thinking this is grounds for hating little brother right off the bat.  Not to mention our pediatrician assured us that the paci is fine as long as he doesn't have it all day.  Case's pediatrician and his pediatric dentist... NIGHT AND DAY!  

More on the paci later...

The dentist was also concerned that Case might be missing two bottom teeth.  This doesn't come as a big surprise... my grandmother didn't have ANY adult teeth.  She had dentures at 16.  My brother and cousins have all had missing teeth.  It's hereditary.  He said they might just come in late but it's something we'll have to watch.  He also explained that Case is below the average for the number of teeth he has.  He said it wasn't abnormal just below average.  Also no shock... all of the baby jam kiddos have way more teeth than Case.  Other than that he said Case's teeth looked great.  

So let me get this straight... you let them dig around in my
mouth for 20 minutes and all I get is this stupid tiger ball?  
More about the paci...
I decided if it was that important I needed to take the pacifier away immediately just like the doctor recommended.  I'm very much a rule follower... that might have played a role in my decision... like the doctor was going to call and check to see if I had followed through or something.  I yanked it out of the van before he got in.  I took them all out of his crib when we got home at nap time.  He looked for the paci on both occasions but never threw a fit.  I thought maybe this was going to be a simple process... I was WRONG!  Monday night Wayne had class at church so I was on my own at bedtime.  We went through our whole bedtime routine and I put him in his crib and then he had a TOTAL meltdown.  I was going to stay strong and let him cry it out.  The crying went on for 30 minutes.  Case doesn't cry like that.  I picked him up and rocked him for a bit then tried again... and again... by this time both of us were sobbing.  I started to hate that dentist!  I finally got him to fall asleep on me until Wayne got home.  He was able to move him from me to the crib.  He slept all night.  

The next day naptime came and it was the same deal... disaster.  I was tough though.  I didn't give in and he eventually fell asleep, however he didn't sleep as long as he usually does.  Last night Wayne put him to bed and you would have thought the kid never needed a paci to begin with... I might have been a little bitter that it was so easy for him.  He again slept through the night.  Naptime this morning went off without a hitch and I started to get a little prideful of our excellent parenting.  God quickly humbled me when it was time for Case's afternoon nap.  I tried EVERYTHING.  I couldn't take it anymore I decided that dentist was crazy and I became an epic failure.  I gave him the paci.  I just kept thinking I was nuts for attempting this right now.  I can't be rocking two babies to sleep at every nap and I'm pretty sure Case will come hate his little brother at first sight if Ty can have a paci but Case can't.  How the heck do you explain that to a 16 month old?  A little sidenote... Case also woke up with a pretty good cold this morning so all of this has gone on with him not feeling good... that has to be a sign of bad timing right?

So Case got his paci back at about 4:30 this afternoon.  It was sort of comical to watch him on the video monitor with it.  He had no intention of falling right to sleep... instead he was just taking "drags" from his paci.  He REALLY needed a hit!  I decided Daddy could try again at bedtime and see how it went.  Maybe he would only need the paci at naptimes or something.  

Well that brings us to tonight and right now my little man is surrounded by all 7 of his pacis in his crib.  He's probably destined for braces, which I'm pretty sure he is anyways, and I'm a failure but right now he is in bed and he is happy.  I love that little boy and it broke my heart to see him so upset and hating the place that he was so comfortable just days before.  I will take the paci away before his 2nd birthday (I hope) but I really don't think 38 weeks pregnant is the best time for either one of us to make such a drastic change.  I HONESTLY don't think he is ready for the paci to be gone yet.  Yes, I know this is probably what crazy moms everywhere say but I'm ok with that.  Thanks to many supportive friends and a very understanding husband for taking my side on this issue and agreeing that his dentist is probably destined for the nuthouse.  
My happy guy after his first dental visit


Karen D. said...

I agree... the dentist is nuts! My oldest never took a paci, but the younger two both had them until they were two. Like Case, at some point it was car and bed only. Want to know the funny thing... they're the two with good teeth! My oldest has too many teeth in her small mouth and is definitely going to need braces. (Oh, and my pediatrician said as long as they're not having problems, you can wait until they're 3 or 4 to take them to a dentist... so we did!)

We'll definitely be thinking about you in the coming days... let us know if you have a specific prayer request!


Stephanie said...

Wow! What a story! I wouldn't worry about taking it away! My little brother had his until he was about 4 and doesn't need braces or even a retainer! He's got really nice teeth! I honestly think that night time and car rides aren't enough to cause any concern!

What dentist did you end up going to?