My Son Is Sedated Unless You Aren’t Reading This Monday Morning

I’m sitting in a waiting room. Or fighting with a dental hygienist.

My son is having dental surgery. Twice this month.

We went to the dentist because you are supposed to bring your kids to the dentist. I was just checking the we-are-doctors-who-follow-reasonable-recommendations box with my oldest.

Our dentist saw spots, took x-rays and found EIGHT CAVITIES.

They also handed me a scarlet letter.

Bad Parent
BP stands for bad parent. In case no one has ever given you a scarlet letter. Or you were about to blame me for an oil spill.

I swear he brushed his teeth. At least once a week. Probably twice. Look, I had my first cavity at THIRTY-TWO YEARS OLD, and I consider candy part of the food pyramid. Why would I think he’d have squishy teeth?

When we brought him to the pediatric dentist, we were told that my son could brush his teeth five times a day and this cavity fiasco would’ve happened anyway. And I’m pretty sure the guy wasn’t just saying that because my husband refers a lot of patients to him. E’s teeth are so close together that he looks like he already HAD braces.

My son only shows his teeth in 1 out of every 203 pictures. Also, Christmas morning did not cause him as much pain as this picture would lead you to believe.

And then the dentist drops the bomb. The only way to prevent more cavities is to FLOSS!

WHO THE HECK FLOSSES? And now even my twenty-month-old knows how.

Finally, we were told that they’d like to do one side at a time. With sedation. And they didn’t mean me.

I keep thinking of the horrible youtube video of the kid post-sedation that I can’t even watch all the way through because I’m embarrassed. I picture kids seizing. Not breathing. I think of my own difficulties with tolerance and medication and wonder if E inherited my body’s ability to absorb more drug than my weight should allow. Than a sumo wrestlers should allow.

I rue the day I went to medical school.

And then I consider my options:

  • Pull all the offending teeth and have eight giant gaps and a son who remains deathly afraid of pliers well into his forties.
  • Do nothing and let his teeth rot away.
  • Insist they do every tooth at once.
  • Trust them and breathe.

I am doing the latter. Mostly because my husband hid the pliers.

To be honest, I’m not sure if I’m more afraid of the procedure or of keeping my son from eating or drinking between midnight and 7:45 a.m.. Twice.

Maybe if E completely loses it in the waiting room and starts screaming, I’M STARVIN’ MARVIN, MAMA! I’M DRINKY! AHHHHHH!, they’ll do all eight to keep us from ever coming back.

One can always hope.

Alex Iwashyna

Alex Iwashyna went from a B.A. in philosophy to an M.D. to a SAHM, poet and writer by 30. She spends most of her writing time on, a humor blog (except when it's serious) about her husband fighting zombies, awkward attempts at friendship, and dancing like everyone is watching. She also has a soft spot for culture, politics, and rude Southern people who offend her Yankee sensibilities. She parents 2 elementary-aged children, 1 foster baby, 3 cats, and 1 puppy, who are all Southern but not rude. Yet.

28 thoughts to “My Son Is Sedated Unless You Aren’t Reading This Monday Morning”

  1. I’m an advice seeker Alex,though at this point I wish I had something to offer.But I have Zilch.When I was a kid and was taken for flu shots,I yelled so much which gave people the impression that my parents took me to some grotesque torture chamber half-yearly.

    Poor E.I feel for him :/

  2. This lets me remember taking the boys to the dentist. Together. B and T were about 8 and 5 or so (I’m using initials because B is 30 now and his lawyers are expensive). T went in first and had to get a tooth pulled. B was screaming in terror because the lady had to put cardboard in his mouth (xrays). When B finally got to the dentist chair, T walks in and proudly shows him his freshly pulled, bloody tooth. Cue the screaming.

    You’ll do fine. Stare at the pretty pictures and listen to the pretty music.

  3. E is four right? My big girl had a few cavities (damn brain) at that age. Yes, I still wear the BP sign too. But more for the little one’s toothy woes.
    Anyway, they had to do it in two sessions because she freaked out through the first, drinkable meds. Second time, it was a shot. Both times she felt woozy and was upset about the whole thing, but mostly needed a movie and love after. The hardest part was waiting until she could eat again. And not letting her eat a ton at once. That or my self-flagulation.
    Have soft foods for him for later. Ice cream. Pudding. Yum.

    You’ll get through it! Know you aren’t alone! And feel free to email if you have any questions.

  4. Oh Alex how horrible! I am so sorry! I will be hoping that E goes all crazy starving kid in the waiting room and the do all of the teeth at once.
    to you Moma unless you are feelin all un huggy and then shot you

  5. Been thru it…10 times with 3 kids. Flossing…bwaahaaa…those baby teeth are self flossing I always say…(mmm maybe that is why it is 10 times with 3 kids)…pinning all my hope on #4!

  6. To be honest, I think those pediatric dentists make up the cavities. I mean, how else do you explain it? They’re probably microscopic grooves in his teeth that they are interpreting as cavities. My girls are 3 and 4…they brush their teeth I took them to their dentist appointments like a good mama and they tell me they both have cavities? I don’t believe it for a second. I let them do their fillings, but I don’t believe they had cavities for one tiny little second.

  7. I have a few friends who have gone through this, some while their children were still nursing. So scary to think of your child under sedation!

    I hope all goes well.

  8. Ugh, my thoughts are with you. I can’t even imagine. If I see a droplet of Kid’s blood, even from a tiny scratch I get all dizzy and light headed. I can’t imagine how you must be feeling. Also, Kid and I both have dentist appointments today. I’m scared!

  9. Oh gosh. I HATE the dentist. More the things that take place than than the actual dentist himself. I try so hard not to pass that along to Riley. I will pray for you and little E with this. Not sure how you’d prepare a kid for this to make it seem less threatening. I do have a book of “first experiences” and one is about a trip to the dentist and the little boy has to get a cavity filled and they show how it’s done. You can borrow it if you’d like. I’m now hyperventilating so I must go.

  10. Just breathe, and don’t think . About a thing.

    We had this done this summer. 7 cavities at once for the 13 yr old.

    Deep breaths. Use the iPod.

    And think of nothing.

    And, yes, knowledge is a terrible thing…do rue the day you went to Medical School.

    Learn these coping skills now, b/c more surgeries may rear their ugly heads (coughtonsillectomycough) so get the coping skill down of the empty head.

    It kicks ass!

    Thinking of you and here’s to thinking of nothing till the Docs tell you to think of something.

  11. I hope at least they gave you those “fun” flossing instruments that resemble plastic shovels? My kids will use those with only mild protest.

    Funny, when you first mentioned cavities, the first thing I thought of was that You Tube video. That poor kid!

    I think mommy sedation is definitely in order.

  12. I, too, have spongy teeth. I always have. It’s the curse my mom passed onto me. Darned soft enamel. It doesn’t matter if I brush and floss a dozen times a day. Cavities are going to happen…oh and that means root canals too (although I haven’t had one yet, PTL!). I’ve just resolved myself to go to the dentist every 6 months and know I’ll have to go back a week later to have cavities filled. My brother has the same problem. My personal record of # of cavities in one visit was 9. His was 13. Ugh, he wins again!! This is a sick competition isn’t it?

    I hope E has better luck and it doesn’t follow him his whole life. Oh, and I’m hoping my son follows after my husband who had his first cavity at 25.


  13. Hope everything goes smoothly! The Boy had eye surgery last year at 13 months. I could not even take him into the room and sent Hubby to be with him while the gave him anesthesia. What kind of letter do I get for that?

    Also…how do you teach a 20 month old to floss? The Boy is now 22 almost 23 months and if I can prevent a few cavities..maybe I need to try. Because candy IS one of our basic food groups!

  14. I dread the day I have to start flossing Hayden’s teeth. Brushing them is bad enough. Why do they fight us on this so much? I keep threatening that he will “get bobos in his teeth” if we don’t brush. I think he is starting to not believe me. Ont hat note, we went to the ped dentist a couple of months ago. According to her, my son is “deficient” in his lower jaw, which is why he grinds his teeth so loudly at night that we can hear him in the next room. I see a lot of orthodontic work in out future.

  15. Good Luck!! Can’t wait for the follow up. I would be freaking out, so you aren’t the only one.. My son was told he needed that brace they put in the roof of your mouth and then the parent has to crank it ever day to make his mouth bigger – yeah, we passed. He may have some crooked teeth – it’s charachter….

  16. dude, my hubs has soft teeth. Before we were married and he had to pay for all his dental stuff? he had so many cavities that when he had two filings on his bday they gave him 2 for 1.

    My E hates having his teeth brushed (at 18 mo) and I am all afraid that he will have his dad’s teeth.

  17. Crap! We haven’t taken our 3.5 YO to the dentist yet (I know, I KNOW!) because our insurance wouldn’t cover her until she was 3, and then we were slackers and then November was a nightmare, and the December was, well, you know, December. So I told my DH on the 1st we HAD to get her insurance and get her to the dentist ASAP. He said we have to wait til next pay period. Ok, but this is the last delay!! So afraid this is going to be the result.

  18. Hi! Pulled up your blog while furiously searching the internet for info on kids with cavities in Richmond, and it made me feel soooo much better! My daughter, almost 4, has to have a crown and pulpotomy due to a deep cavity…and we brush religiously AND floss!!! Would you mind telling me who the pediatric dentist you went to was? We’ve been to see one, but I didn’t really get the warm fuzzies from him. Thanks so much!

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