After taking Charlotte to the dentist last week, I was so exhausted by the trauma that I had to lie down after lunch. I felt like I had been through the wringer in the 1.5 hours spent in the
torture chamber dentist's office, so I skipped my work out, instead opting for relaxing on the couch watching "Veronica Mars" on netflix. I'm sure you'll agree after reading this harrowing account that I had earned the rest.
After Char's cleaning, which was entirely uneventful, we were informed that she had some cavities that needed filling.
I was horrified. How could I let my child's teeth rot like that? How could I, her mother, let Charlotte down so woefully? I sat there and mentally cataloged every morsel of candy I let pass her lips, every time we forgot to brush.
I beat myself up over the cavities and worried and agonized while waiting for the dentist to get done with a root canal so she could take care of Charlotte.
During the interminable wait, I considered all the things that could go wrong. I was sure the kid would panic and flail as soon as she heard the drill. I worried that she would start crying but that it would be too late to stop, that we would have to hold her down while the dentist finished the
Tears filled my eyes as I considered how traumatic this was going to be for my sweet little girl. I even felt a bit nauseated and light headed especially when I saw the drill boring a hole in her tiny little teeth. I clung to her hands waiting for her to stiffen with fear and pain.
Anytime Charlotte shifted in her seat or moved her hands to her face, I just knew she must be experiencing intense agony, the likes of which would be sure to be the cause of a lifelong fear of dentists. She would turn into one of those lunatics who couldn't bear to visit the dentist.
You know those people who are totally phobic about going to the dentists, the ones who tense up the entire time someone is working in their mouth, even when the hygienist is just squirting flouride on their teeth. People who have so much anxiety their fingers can barely straighten out after having clung tightly to the arm rest during the whole procedure, even though it was just a cleaning. Those crazies who break out in a cold sweat at the mere mention of a root canal or the smell of a dental office (because really, we all know that ominous smell, don't we?). The ones whose bile rises in their throat when they hear a drill. The people who would rather endure labor pains than have a tooth drilled for a crown.
Yes, I obviously have some serious dental issues.
After the ordeal, Charlotte got to pick out a toy from the basket, after which I hobbled to the car. Charlotte chatted chirpily about something, but I couldn't focus on her words. I felt weak and dizzy and needed to concentrate on getting to the car.
Wiping the sweat from my brow, I buckled Charlotte into her booster seat and breathed my first deep breath in hours. Strangely, I discovered that all my muscles in my neck, shoulders, and hands were completely tight and knotted up.
Once on the road home, I decided to ask Charlotte some questions, to make sure she was OK. I wanted to reassure her, to let her know how sorry I was for the trauma I had subjected her to. I had to let her know that I would do everything in my power so that she would never have to live through another dental visit like that one.
So, I asked her, "Charlotte, how are you feeling, honey?"
"Fine, mom. Hey, did you see what I got from the toy basket?" she replied.
"Yes," I said, "It looks like a nice ball. Hey, when the dentist was working on you, did it hurt?"
"What did you think of the dental visit, sweetie?" I asked.
"It was fine. Hey, mom, did you see what the dentist gave me? I got a princess toothbrush!"
"Yeah, that's nice, Charlotte. From now on, we are going to have to be much more diligent about brushing in the morning, not just at night. And we'll have to cut down on the candy!"
"Because you had some cavities and we don't want to have to come back to the dentist too soon, do we?"
"But, mommy, I LIKED the dentist! It was so much fun! When can we come back again?"
I'm thinking I should have grabbed that laughing gas mask and administered some to myself.
Is it horrible that I now wish my daughter could get my root canal done for me next week, since going to the dentist is like a play date with Barney for her, whereas for me it is tantamount to waterboarding?