Teeth Thing

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I think my Motherbear persistence is finally steering us toward some results for Elijah’s teeth. As I’ve said before, his bottom two front “teeth” have been a mystery. He lost them in the NICU, but there has been something protruding from his gums. When his first top tooth was coming in, it looked damaged from the start. We saw the dentist, but were informed that we had to wait until the tooth had fully come in to fix it.

We waited and saw three teeth come in, each less damaged than the one before. When I first scheduled his next visit, I asked if it could be fixed right away, but they said they would have to see it first, then schedule the repair for later that week. That brings us to a week ago Tuesday. Xrays showed that the leftover roots from his first teeth were protruding from his gums and would need to be extracted. The top teeth could probably get crowns. When the bottom side teeth grow in enough, they said, they could affix some sort of appliance to them to fill in the space for the front teeth. All we needed to do now, they said, was to get a form faxed from his Oncologist to give permission for sedation, and they would get us in the same week or next.

It took two confirmed faxes, 4 business days and several calls from yours truly for the dentist office to locate the returned paperwork. Then it came out that they had no openings until late April. I called multiple more times, asserting my conviction that it wasn’t right to make him wait another month to get his poor damaged teeth fixed. It is affecting his sleep and his eating. Up to this point, I loved them lots. But when my experience began to leave the impression that brushing and flossing my kid’s teeth is worthy of lecture, but repairing dangling roots can wait a month, my trust was seriously shaken. No, I wouldn’t call it an emergency, but I would deem it urgent. Dental health is directly tied to wellness, and with his history, I don’t want to leave any doors unnecessarily open. And, shucks, if he’d known what it was like to have proper teeth, he’d probably know that he should be screaming and wailing in misery so he can get his proper attention. But he’s a tuffy, and tuffies can wait. They said they’d look for cancellations, but I decided I’d keep looking.

I contacted the children’s hospital and they set me up with their dentist for 7 a.m. tomorrow morning. Granted, it’s a consult, but they are a mouse-click away from his medical history, and when they set up the sedation, it will be at the children’s hospital.  As fate would have it, the local dentist called me back and miraculously had an opening for 8 a.m. tomorrow. It was hard to pass up an opportunity to have his teeth fixed tomorrow, after making such a stink about waiting, but our guts tell us he’s in better hands uptown. They’ve proven themselves, as a system, to behave like they have Elijah’s best interest in mind, and I feel they are more adequately equipped to take his history into consideration and to deal with any anomalies. It may be early to mid-April before they are actually fixed, but it’s a better choice.

The Oncologist is certain the damage is due to his first teeth forming during the active phase of his disease. Fortunately, it looks like the rest of the teeth are erupting in better condition. I have high hopes that having his teeth fixed will make him a better sleeper and will broaden his eating horizons. As of now, he’ll shake his head at most food after the first bite, if not before. But, the boy will put away some chicken!

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