The Extraction

A couple of days ago, I wrote this, asking for advice for DD1 who had an appointment to have a couple of teeth extracted yesterday.

Thank you to everyone who replied, I got some really good advice but Why Did No One Tell Me How Traumatic It Was Going To Be?

Again, if you have a tooth or dentist phobia read no further, there are a couple of graphic photos here!

extracted teeth

DD1 is 11 and can be a little prone to the more dramatic side of things. She is also not a great fan of medical procedures, blood, pain or injections. Not many people are, but some are more tolerant than others-DD falls more in to the ‘not stoic’ category. She had been periodically refusing to even consider having her teeth extracted  before we had a firm appointment. Now that fact is established, you’ll understand why I told the dental surgery a number of times, that my daughter was very nervous about the whole procedure. There was no response to this, which surprised me a little. I kind of expected someone to at least make reassuring noises at me down the phone; privately I wondered if I should ask about sedation but figured they’d offer if it was necessary.

I picked up DD from school at 1:30 for her 2pm appointment so we could pop into the supermarket and get some ‘nice soft food’ for her afterwards. Before we got out of the car she started saying she was going to refuse to have it done, she didn’t want to lose her teeth, she was scared it would hurt etc etc. I jollied her out of the car by saying I needed to go to Tescos anyhow, and in store we ran into a mum of one of her swimming friends, whose older daughter had had a similar procedure a couple of years ago. This mum was very helpful in reassuring DD and we started to discuss what she could eat after the extractions.

After popping the groceries back in the car, she refused again, but I pointed out we’d have to change the appointment at least, and managed to get her across the road. I thought she might bolt when we discovered the surgery’s door was locked but luckily one of the receptionists came up behind us and unlocked it. I managed to herd DD up the stairs behind the receptionist and into the waiting room.

Here she started verbally refusing again, and becoming quite rude. The receptionist raised her eyebrows but said nothing. Then the dental assistant appeared, called DD’s name and my poor child burst into tears.

I hustled her down the hall into the room but by the time she got there she was practically hysterical. The dentist took one look at her and suggested she get referred for sedation. DD started crying even harder, she didn’t want that either but I felt cross that no one had even mentioned this was a possibility before now. I’m sure I could have talked her around to the idea, and I’m certain it would have been a better idea than doing it without.

The dentist was a lovely lady, with 4 children of her own so between us we managed to persuade DD to get into the chair,  where the dentist examined her teeth and explained that she needed to have her premolars out as there was no space for her canines to come down. She then asked if DD would like an explanation of the procedure. DD agreed to the guided tour and was quite ahxious about the length of the needles, but allowed the dentist to place the local anaesthetic around her premolars. She didn’t like the feeling of the bleb under the gum on the cheek side of her teeth and thought it made her face all swollen. She had to be given a mirror to prove she looked quite normal!

The local on the tongue side of her teeth did hurt, and we had more tears. She didn’t like the numb feeling either and got quite upset when she spat out the mouth rinse all over herself rather than into the sink. The dentist had a prod around with a sharp tool just to make sure everything was numb, but DD insisted she could feel pain on her right side, so she got even more anaesthetic in that side.

At this point DD wanted to see the tool used for the extractions. This was not a good idea. Basically they are a modified chisel ( dental elevator) and a pair of pliers and they look pretty scary. DD was now a very reluctant patient.

In an ideal world, an uncomplicated premolar extraction is  a quick and easy procedure. Once the area is numb, the elevator is pushed down between the tooth and gum to break the ligament, and then the tooth is grasped and wobbled free. It’s over in less than a minute.

Yesterday, things were a bit fraught. DD was okay with the dental elevator  being used, even with her eyes open- I was trying to get her to close them, always my modus operandi! But when the extraction began she started screaming and crying, saying she could feel it. I don’t think she was in pain but she didn’t like the tugging sensation. The first tooth came out fine, but she was hysterical and it took us 20 minutes to calm her down enough to even attempt the second one. Thank goodness she only need two extracted. I don’t think we could have persuaded to sit there for a third or fourth!

I know it was horrible for her but I found it quite traumatic too. That whole situation when your child is in pain, or having to go through an unpleasant experience ( or both) is really difficult. I think yesterday was one of my worst parenting experiences so far. I’d rather give birth than go through that again! If anyone else needs teeth out, it’ll be sedation all the way.

Once it was all over she got very upset about not being to feel everything again, and the blood that was coming from her mouth. I cleaned her up and we got her out of the chair but by this time both of us were shaking a bit. We thanked the dentist, confirmed her appointment for her brace being fitted and scuttled down the stairs.

A few hours later and she was feeling much better. She even managed a grimace for a post extraction picture.

post pre molar extraction

The local had worn off, she had something to eat and drink and DH got home with a present for her for being so brave. An iPod nano! I know it’s a bit of a biggie since she’s just had her birthday and Christmas but she had done really well.

She was suitably chuffed with it and enjoyed sharing a headphone with her siblings. I think the look on hers face says it all.

two girls Sharing an iPod Nano

Although, to be honest, I think I deserved something for my bravery as well!

2 comments on “The Extraction

  1. I think it’s harsh without sedation. I had my gum cut as I had a big gap between my front 2 teeth, with a bit of gum/skin coming down stopping them closing, plus 2 (I think!) teeth out under general anasthetic 30 years ago. I was in hospital 2 nights for that!! S is already freaking out about vaccinations in secondary school as she is really needle phobic. I really hope she doesnt’ have to have teeth out but she will def need some form of brace as has been mooted by dentist already (she has 4 more baby teeth to come out first).

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