This afternoon, while working in my home office, I heard a loud ‘thud’ upstairs followed by the unmistakable sound of my three-year-old son crying. He was definitely hurt, but the question was, how much? Kids get little bumps, scrapes, and bruises all the time, and since he’s been relatively injury-free thus far, I was briefly comforted by his track record and the fact that the crying seemed to stop relatively quickly.
Very shortly after, our nanny (yes, we now have part time child care help during the week while I work) called to me and asked that I come upstairs. If there was a transcript of my thoughts at that moment, it probably would have been something like “Whoa. This can’t be good. Nina normally handles everything.”
I knew it was going to be more than just a little bruise, so I prepared myself for the worst and went upstairs as calmly as I could. I admit that I was a bit shocked to see that a goodly portion of my baby’s front tooth was broken off. The minutes that followed were a little foggy as I mentally processed what had happened and what I was going to do about it. I learned that LB was playing in the dining room, and lost his footing on the one step leading to the living room. He fell onto his plastic dog guitar, face first, leaving a tooth-shaped dent in the hard plastic. Seriously, this thing is sturdy. Sturdier than, say, a child’s front tooth. Guitar – 1, LB’s Front Tooth – 0
I checked in with LB to make sure he was okay, and that Nina was able to find the broken tooth fragment (as to prevent child #2 from finding it on the floor). I then examined the tooth to see what looked like a reddish dot in the broken surface, and nervously called my dentist.
LB had been scheduled for his first dental visit a few weeks from now, and the receptionist noted as much when I called. I explained what happened and very calmly (contrary to how I was feeling inside) asked what I should do. She didn’t have an answer for me immediately, but said she would talk to the doctor and get back to me. I probably only waited for ten minutes for that return call, but it seemed a lot longer. The doctor’s advice was to call the Children’s Dental Center because they would have more experience in this case.
I called the number I was given and was glad they were able to fit LB in to their schedule. He was a little scared to go, and there were a few tears before we left the house, but with some comforting (and the realization he could take his bunny with him) he was on board.
Upon arrival, LB played in the kid-centric waiting area while I filled out the customary paperwork. Within minutes, we went back to get an x-ray and the doctor joined us. I wasn’t prepared for what came next.
The tooth couldn’t be saved without invasive measures.
Because the nerve was exposed in the baby tooth, our only options were to: A) do nothing and wait for an infection to set in, B) go to the hospital for a root canal in a futile effort to save the tooth for a little longer, or C) pull the tooth.
Let me tell you, I didn’t like any of those options. The doctor and I discussed whether we should pull the tooth today or wait two weeks and pull it then. I weighed the risk of infection by waiting to pull the tooth against the possible trauma of LB’s first dental visit if it was pulled right away. I called Jason, talked to my dentist, and did a web search to see if we could validate our decision. In the end, we all agreed it would be best to pull the tooth today. I just hoped LB would make it through without too much fear or pain.
The staff at the Children’s Dental Center were WONDERFUL! They assured me that front tooth injuries like this are very common, and with their help (and laughing gas), LB made it through the entire procedure without a whimper. He was such a trooper. We will definitely be taking our kids there for dental visits. It really couldn’t have gone any better, and LB still has the most adorable smile.