I often complain about my lack of distinct memories from my childhood. I remember certain things that stand out, but my general memories aren’t that strong. I guess that’s why I don’t remember much about the day I hit my two front teeth – other than the seconds just before it happened.
I don’t remember how old I was, only that I know I was in elementary school and that I had not lost my baby teeth yet so I place it somewhere during kindergarten or first grade. It was recess time and instead of spending my thirty minutes of freedom on the swings as I normally did, I was playing tag or some similar game on the big play structure made of wooden logs. I can only imagine I was trying to escape the inevitable “tag” of my friend when I decided it would be a good idea to slide through the gap between the log steps and jump to the ground.
Apparently I misjudged the size of the gap because the next thing I knew I was lying on the ground with a bloody mouth and pain like I had never imagined. I don’t remember whether I got up and walked to the teacher or whether she came to me. I don’t remember much of what happened after that actually, except for the fact that my two front teeth turned a dark shade of gray.
I remember being so embarrassed of my teeth. From that point on I tried my hardest not to smile. I didn’t want anyone to see my dark, ugly teeth and think I had some terrible kind of tooth decay or something. I will say one thing though. I think I was the happiest kid on the planet when I finally lost those two front teeth and my permanent adult teeth came in.
Now, fast forward about 25 years or so. Here I am with my own child, a rambunctious little boy who loves to jump and climb and wrestle around whenever the opportunity presents itself. About a week or so ago he was snuggling in my lap and I was thinking to myself how lucky he is to have such nice straight teeth. I had a major overbite problem when I was a child so I’m really glad he didn’t inherit that from me. His teeth are – so far at least – nice and straight and almost perfectly aligned. He’s a lucky kid.
A couple days later I was helping him brush his teeth when I noticed something that didn’t look right. One of his front teeth looked a little dark. That sent all kinds of panicky feelings through me, but I told myself to chill out and check it again in a day or two. Two days later it was still dark, maybe even a little darker. Upon further investigation I discovered that his gums above the tooth were also a bit red and swollen. I can only imagine that he must have run into something (or someone) while playing. He’s not the type of kid who cries or fusses when he gets hurt unless he’s really trying to get some attention so no one even knew. Crap. Time for a visit to the dentist.
A very goofy grin, but I was trying really hard to get a shot of his tooth.
Zach’s pediatrician had recommended at his 2 year check-up that I schedule a dentist visit for him just for a general check up. Of course I had put it off as I am prone to do with things like that. Friday morning I went on a search for a dentist that was covered under Hubby’s dental policy. I quickly found one only a couple of blocks away from Zach’s day care and made an appointment for Monday (the earliest they could get him in).
The dentist visit went very well. Zach got a little nervous, but overall did really well in the big dentist’s chair. They x-rayed the tooth, which looked perfectly fine, looked around in his mouth for a minute, gave him a little toy and a prescription for an antibiotic and sent us on our way.
The dentist said that everything was intact, that this happens all the time, and that the tooth would most likely stay discolored until he loses it in a few years. He told me what to watch for and gave him the antibiotic just in case there was any infection.
While it will probably never even phase him, all I can think about is how embarrassed I was about my gray teeth when I was younger. I didn’t have to live with it nearly as long as he will. He’s only two and will most likely not loose that tooth until he is 5 or 6. In the grand scheme of things it is a minor annoyance, but I can’t help but feel sad for him. He has such a great smile. I don’t want him to ever feel self-conscious about it.
One good thing has come about from this experience though. I finally scheduled myself a long overdue dental appointment while I had Zach there.