Tuesday, February 19, 2008

My Shark

Yesterday, we visited a local aquarium and stood in awe of the sharks zooming overhead in the underwater viewing tunnels. Today, I learned that my daughter has something in common with those sharks.

She's overly toothy.

As I supervised tooth-brushing Friday night, I saw something odd in Ainsley's mouth. It turned out to be her first permanent tooth, which is trying to make room in her mouth before its baby-tooth partner has given up the ghost. The baby tooth is barely loose, and this new adult chomper is far enough behind the baby to make me worry about proper alignment and the need for future orthodontics. Plus, there's something very alarming about having a 5-year-old with an extra tooth growing in an odd place. Her grin is a little too close to that of a 007 movie villain. So I scheduled an appointment with the pediatric dentist to have everything investigated.

I learned that it's not unusual for a kid's lower front permanent teeth to sprout before the baby teeth have been shed. Dentists themselves, who have technical terms for everything, call this "shark teeth." But looking at Ainsley's dental x-rays today, the dentist saw that many of her big-girl teeth are getting ready to cut through the gums, and only the one baby tooth is remotely loose. We have one week to try to wait it out, and if the one loose tooth doesn't come out by then and open up some space in her little mouth...we are looking at some "extractions." Don't you just love dental euphemisms? "Extraction" sounds so much less scary than "taking a pair of sanitized pliers and yanking a piece of bone with roots from the lower jaw."

I don't know the details yet on how they are going to extract. One of my co-workers said they put her son completely under to do the pulling, and another said she herself was just numbed when she had to have a tardy baby tooth removed. I do know that we have been instructed to "help nature along" with Ains by performing a 5-minute-long tooth-wiggling ritual every night this week. I can't wait. In terms of "I'm causing my child pain" stress, this is right up there with the time I thought I was going to have to give her an enema.

But seeing as how I am not ready for the thought of having her go through an "extraction", I will wiggle away. And hope that, for once, she doesn't heed my constant reprimands to get her hands out of her mouth.

Because rows and rows of sharp white teeth are fascinating on aquarium sharks, but not nearly so endearing on your kid.

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