Big man turned 5 years in March. Thankfully his life, minus the first two weeks, hasn't consisted of any major medical procedures. He's had the typical croup, gastroenteritis, and bloody noses that kids can get, but nothing requiring anesthesia. Until today. Today was big man's first dental procedure other than check ups.
Last night I let him stay up until 9:30pm because he wouldn't be allowed to eat or drink anything when he woke up in the morning. He is usually in bed by 7pm. Dental appointment was scheduled for 8:30am and he had to be free of food and drink for at least 8 hours. Before he went to bed, we reminded him what was going to happen at the dentist in the morning.
When we woke up this morning I reminded him again, he couldn't eat or drink anything. Surprisingly he was ok with that and said, "because I'm going to the dentist." It was weird not being able to brush his teeth or wash his face either. I dressed him in loose clothing like they asked and prepared to get going. Little man was going to be staying home with daddy so it was just big man and I.
As we drove to the dentist office he happily sang along to Imagination Movers. He enjoyed being able to pick the music and not have to fight with his little brother. When we arrived we sat down in the cool waiting room. They have toys and video games set up for kids of all ages. Big man chose to play the Buzz Lightyear video game. After about 20 minutes, we were called back to one of the procedure rooms where I was briefed on what they'd be taking care of today. He will need a second appointment in a few weeks.
The assistant was very nice to big man and gave him a cup filled with what was just a few sips of clear liquid. He swallowed it all in one gulp like he was supposed to and then we were sent back into the waiting room. I tried to get him to sit down and watch a movie, but he was interesting in playing the Buzz Lightyear game. Once 20 minutes had passed and he wasn't getting sleepy, I made him stop playing. One reason being, I don't like him playing video games longer than that, but also was worried he wasn't going to get groggy enough.
At the hour mark, they called us back into the procedure room and had big man lie down in the chair. The assistant told him she was going to put this mask on his face and wanted him to tell her what flavor it smelled like. He never did answer her, but was a trooper and breathed through his nose like he was asked. I expected him to go to sleep right away, but boy did he fight to stay awake!!! They had tvs mounted on their ceilings and it was playing "How To Train Your Dragon" which is one of his favorite movies. So, his eyes would get really big, then blink blink blink and repeat. The assistant and I had to keep from laughing. She even stroked his forehead and said, "if you're sleepy you can close your eyes". He replied, "I want to watch the movie." Eventually he began saying, "Mommy I love you" over and over. I whispered back, "I love you too" a few times. When the dentist came in, I slipped away behind him so big man didn't see me leave.
Instantly I'll admit, I went to the bathroom because I wasn't sure if I was going to cry or not. Leaving my child in a room while on nitrous oxide was just about one of the hardest things I've had to do since his birth. After I composed myself I went back into the lobby. A sweet couple walked in with their little daughter and began talking to me. I was so thankful for their company and that I had my iPhone on me to distract me. The first 30 minutes were the longest. Thankfully the office has an open door policy, so I went back to take a look at that point. He was out and they were working great on his teeth.
No longer than 20 minutes later, they called me back because they were done and he was waking up. I walked in and instantly began praising him for being such a big boy and doing a great job. I'm not sure if he didn't know I wasn't in the room, and I'm ok with that. It took about 10 minutes between needing to bite down on the gauze and letting the laughing gas wear off before we could go back into the waiting room. It was in there that I got the full glimpse of what had been done in his precious little mouth. As I pulled the gauze out two little bottom teeth were missing and two molars (one on each side of his bottom teeth) were capped in a silver crown. The sight of this for some reason had be holding back tears again.
I know kids go through dental procedures like these on a daily basis, but it knocked me down. I felt like I was failure for some reason. The thought that my child had to have silver crowns, crooked teeth extracted and fillings for cavities hurt my mommy heart. Made me feel like I didn't protect him enough, even though I know I haven't been feeding him rocks and pure sugar. I brush and floss his teeth daily, water down his drinks, and feed him nutritious food. It's funny how as a mother, in the grand scheme of things, something like silver crowns and tooth extractions can bring forth such an emotional response. We base our self worth as mothers on how our kids do, or what happens to them.
Now that I've had most of the day to think about this, I know I haven't scarred him for life, or failed him in any way - but rather he maybe one day he'll thank me for getting this dental work. Hopefully he will have his adorable smile for many years to come. He has done well since coming home and even managed to eat dinner. Now my adorable 5 year old is falling asleep excited to see what the tooth fairy will bring! :)