The Tooth, the Whole Tooth, and Nothing But the Tooth

Well, it’s finally done. Big Sis’ tooth is out.

This is one of the ones that was discovered to have a cavity the first week of June. We came back a couple of days later and had it filled.

A week and a half later, it was still bothering her. They took x-rays again, and discovered that they hadn’t drilled deep enough. She was sent home with an antibiotic and instructions to wiggle it (though they’d told me that this tooth doesn’t usually fall out until she’s 12).

Over the next couple of weeks, a large bump appeared on the side of her tooth. I took her back in to have it looked at. Sure enough, it was infected. The dentist told me it’s gotta come out…now. So they gave her a shot to numb the area and tried to extract it.

No go. She got nervous and jumpy. They called me back to try to soothe her. The dentist (and Big Sis) tried again, valiantly, but it wasn’t working. The tooth still hurt Big Sis, despite the painkiller; the dentist explained that it could be due to the infected tissue interfering with the medication. Again, another antibiotic and instructions to wiggle it.

We scheduled another appointment, apparently to try again. In the meantime, I asked the office for a referral to a pediatric dentist. After playing phone tag for a bit, I managed to get Big Sis an appointment on Tuesday.

He did an initial exam, and I filled him in on the ordeal. He agreed that it needed to come out, and that antibiotics were just a stopgap measure until the tooth, the source of the infection, could be removed. He squeezed un in for an appointment today.

We showed up at the office this morning, and a nurse took her back to give her an oral medication to help her relax. Then back to the waiting room for an hour to let the medication take effect. I thought it might make her sleepy or nauseous (like two other kids in the office that morning), but it only seemed to make her…relax. She was amenable to climbing up into my lap to hear me read Harry Potter, and I noticed she did become more chatty than usual.

Then we were called back. The hygenist (nurse?) put what she called an “airplane mask” on Big Sis to hook her up to “the dream machine” (nitrous oxide). She let that work for a while. She asked if Big Sis felt tingly or like she was floating (both signs that the nitrous oxide was working), and she answered no. It worried me a bit, but I hoped that eveyone knew what they were doing.

The dentist came in, and injected her gum to make the tooth “go to sleep.” He left while that medication started to work. Moments later, he returned and before Big Sis and I knew it, the tooth was out!

He finished up, clearing away infected tissue, and gave us discharge instructions: start with clear liquids, only soft foods today, no playing outside, resting only.

Big Sis plans to write a letter to the Tooth Fairy, asking her to let Big Sis keep the tooth as a souvenir.

I think she deserves it!


About Kathleen

Kathleen Heuer is a serial arts advocate and volunteer. She is the mom of two beautiful girls, wife to a brilliant nuclear engineer, and referee between her golden retriever and her hissy 18-year-old cat. For more, go to
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