Yikes. I’ve been absent from this blog for a while, but for good reason. We’ve been celebrating some milestones in our house, especially Miss Lauren, who turned five this spring.
I didn’t realize that children could lose teeth at this age, until I noticed that one of Lauren’s classmates had developed a gap-toothed grin. How could this happen? Weren’t they mere babes?
A few days later at the dentist’s office, the hygienist noticed Lauren’s two front teeth were loose and an adult tooth was growing behind them. I wondered aloud how I couldn’t have noticed this development, since I help brush her teeth almost every night. Lauren’s baby teeth were rooted so deeply, they would not come out on their own. Instead she would need to have the teeth extracted.
With this news, my dentist-phobic husband went a little crazy. Did I ask how the dentist would go about extracting Lauren’s teeth? Would she need Novocain? Would she be in pain? I hadn’t asked, which may seem odd, but Lauren’s dentist is so perky and jovial, she managed to erase any concerns.
Unlike her parents, our daughter manages medical situations with aplomb. Lauren was looking forward to the dentist visit and when we arrived, she skipped down the hallway. I could feel myself getting anxious. I should have listened to Ted. Maybe I should have asked more questions.
Lauren’s dentist knows how to manage the Pre-K set. When she applied the topical solution, she said, “This is a little paintbrush we’re going to use on your teeth. A dentist is kind of like an artist, don’t you think?” Lauren nodded. “I’ll let you hold this tiny sand timer. You tell me when the sand has reached the other side.” I was so glad I hadn’t let her watch the Wizard of Oz since the Wicked Witch threatens Dorothy’s life with an hourglass.
When it came time for the Novocain, the dentist continued, “Now I’m going to spray some water in your mouth.” I saw the giant needle, but Lauren didn’t thanks to the ladybug sunglasses the dentist had put on her earlier. The woman thinks of everything.
There is no delicate way to explain the extraction tool. The dentist simply said, “Okay, Lauren, we’re going to use this tool to twist and then pull.” Ugh. The first attempt didn’t go well. The metal tool slipped on the tooth and made an awful noise. Lauren squirmed in her seat. “What was that?” she wondered.
After the slip up, Lauren looked worried, but by then the teeth were gone. The dentist sent us home with a tiny treasure box with two baby teeth, some instructions and a lot of gauze. Poor Lauren was shaken. Even though the bleeding stopped, she refused to take the gauze out of her mouth until we reached Whole Foods (where I treated her to ice cream for bravery).
That evening, there was much to do about the placement of the teeth, so that Tina the Tooth Fairy would be able to find them. I told Lauren to place them in the special pillow her grandmother gave her, but she worried Tina might not find them there. Instead, she opted to keep her teeth inside the plastic treasure test the dentist provided, but with the lid open. “Tina’s really small, Mom,” she told me. “It might be too hard for her to open the box and fly at the same time.”
When she was safely asleep, my husband arrived in our room with the treasure box. I emptied its contents into my hand. Lauren’s baby teeth were beautiful; small and delicate like two perfect pearls.