Two Good Things

In Which We Go to the Dentist, and Kira Does Not Overreact

I took the boys to the dentist today. It was Raphael’s first dentist visit, and we were all very excited. We love the dentist! We ate our breakfast and brushed our teeth with special care and marched ourselves out the door. Ok, I was a little grumpy, but it was before 10, which is not my best hour. But in there, under the morning residue of despair, was joy at going to the dentist.
Max was the first one in the cool chair that goes up. He opened his mouth and spit when told to and in general was unusually agreeable. When he was done, the hygienist brought him back to me in the waiting room. She was nearly swooning at how adorable and sweet he was. “His teeth look perfect. No cavities!”
“Yay!” we said! We were not surprised, but HAPPY!
Next went Tre. I was walking past the exam room, taking Raphael to the bathroom, when the dentist happened to be looking at Tre’s X-rays. Her brow was furrowed. Stop it, with the brow, I thought.
“Is there a problem?” I asked.
“He has a cavity – well - two cavities. See?” she pointed at an indistinct form on the X-ray. I nodded as though it meant something to me. “Right there. It looks like he got a chip in one tooth, and since his teeth are so close together, it formed a pocket that just collected food. He has a little decay right there where the two teeth meet. It’s small, but they will need to be filled.”
“Oh…ok,” I replied, sobered. I patted Tre’s shoulder and explained that he wouldn’t be having the fillings done today, and went on my way to take Raphael to the bathroom. Ok, I told myself, this is not a big deal. It’s a chip and a pocket and it could have happened to anyone. We’ll just take care of it.
Next came Raphael’s turn! Tre and Max and I gathered around to watch Raphael play dental patient. Because you know that’s all it is for a three year old! Dental play! Oooh, look at the instruments! Now the dentist is going to tickle your teeth! Can you spit? Oh, good! It’s fun! It’s safe!
So why was the dentist making that scowly face? Stop it, scowly dentist face! Be happy with us!
“He has…some cavities,” she said.
“I…he…what?” I replied intelligently.
“He has one here,” she stuck her evil little pointy thing in one molar, “and one here…and here…and here. In all four back molars. And in the back between his two front teeth. Oh, and you’re a horrible mother.”
“Well, Raphael seems to have pretty soft teeth, and they’re very close together, which can make it hard to get them clean. Not that you’d know, you slatternly loser, you. Have you even HEARD of a toothbrush?”
“I…brush his teeth…everyday. I do.”
”Oh sure. I know, and that’s great. But you might want to start flossing his teeth too, and I’ll give you some fluoride rinse he can use and maybe feed him a vegetable once in a while, you joke of a parental unit.”
“Ok. I can do that.” I muttered from where I was cowering under a chair.
Alright, maybe that wasn’t EXACTLY what she said. It was something like that. Suffice to say we’re going back to the dentist next week, which should give me ample time to figure out how I can explain to her that it’s actually all someone else’s fault entirely. I’m sure I can figure out some way to spin this so I’m not the worst mother in the whole world ever no backsies so there.
Since we got home I’ve brushed all three boys’ teeth seventeen times, and for dinner they had sugarless gum and fluoridated water. I’m feeling better now. Excuse me, I have to wake them up for their hourly flossing. Good night.



"Under the morning residue of despair."

Great title or part of a novel's first line.

PS I always brush extremely thoroughly before going to the dentist too.


Oh dear. And as you've already informed me I was part of your dental angst, I feel partially responsible. Tell ya what--blame it on me, when you go back next week. Thanks to my ex I'm already quite accustomed to taking blame for things that aren't really my fault. I don't mind. Hope that helps. ;)

Linda D.

I've felt that way too, except it was the dentist talking about my teeth. My girls go next week, wish me luck!

Linda Sherwood

I can assure you that you aren't the worst mother ever because of dental neglect. That would be me. We spent all last summer in the dentist office and then the orthodontist office.

Oh, and I'd skip the sugarless gum. My daughter's orthodontist seems to think gum makers are just pushers for his services. TMJ and all that. My kids are no longer allowed to have gum. My Maxine delights in telling me whenever she manages to get someone to give her some. Like the candy tossed at the parade.

In fact, my dental insurance denied the second cleaning last year for my oldest daughter because she'd exceeded her annual allotment of dental bills. Seriously.

So I take your title of world's worst mother. No backsies.


I went yesterday and got spanked for not flossing enough. I am obviously a complete failure as a human being as well as a worthless, crapulant mother --- as Sam had FOUR cavities last year.


Why do we moms take the guilt for everything? (Rhetorical.)

I'm sorry, but your recount of the supposed conversation with the dentist was too funny! Now get to that hourly flossing, yeah right.


Let me just say that all 4 of my children have their teeth meticulously brushed 3 times per day and sometimes more if they eat taffy or something that needs to be brushed off and Georgie had the same thing. She had 6 cavities at her 2nd dentist visit (only 6 months after her 1st one). Some kids just have bad teeth from genetics so don't beat yourself up. HUGS


Teeth are overrated anyway. Turns out my son has a wonderful genetic defect in the enamel of his teeth. No matter what kind of money I have to spend now filling the cavaties I will get to spend so much more when they become permanent teeth and we get to crown them. The few good ones in the front? Crooked beyond all belief. I think he's going to get a choice, college or a beautiful smile. Hopefully he picks college.

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