Tessa is going to lose her front top tooth. Her permanent front top tooth.
It’s a 3-chapter short story. (The photo shows Tessa’s smile before The Troubles.)
Chapter 1: The Break
Three months ago, we (meaning my sister, my parents and I, and NOT my Democrat husband) took Tessa and Reed to a Ron Paul rally. As an aside, he was an amazing speaker and the jam-packed room was even more squished than a Japanese train at rush hour.
After the event, we adults were chatting as the room emptied. Tessa, Reed and their cousin Dominic busied themselves by running around a bank of chairs. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw Tessa fall. In slow motion, I saw a speck of white and a gush of red as she crumpled to the ground. There was an interminable hang time before I heard her wail.
“Please let it be a baby tooth, please let it be a baby tooth,” I chanted as we rushed to her.
The bottom half of her front, top, permanent tooth was no longer there. I found it on the floor nearby.
My mom scooped up Tessa as I got out my phone, not yet knowing who I would call on a Friday night. In a cluster we began walking out of the convention center (mom climbed several sets of stairs while carrying 45 extra pounds — yay, mom), in search of a Starbucks. Not for a coffee, but for a cup of milk. To put the tooth chip in.
I got our family dentist on the phone. He said (proverbially) to give her Tyl.enol and call in the morning.
Tessa had been so freaked out just the week before at her teeth cleaning that the family dentist recommended she have her cavities filled by a pediatric dentist. So the next morning, I called the peds dentist and was invited to come in immediately.
Dr Jill got an assistant to come in on a Saturday morning to help her glue Tessa’s chip back on, performing a pulpotomy (nerve treatment) along the way.
But, she said, the x-ray looked good, and with luck and care for the tooth, the rooted stub should last a long time, even if the glued-on chip doesn’t. Tessa spent the next several weeks swishing with an antibiotic rinse to help heal the gum trauma.
Chapter 2: Say Ahhhhhh
Tessa had extensive dental surgery in March. Most of it wasn’t related to the trauma. But all of it was related to the depletion of her college fund, as we are uninsured, dentally.
Recently, the stub began looking grayish to me, so just two weeks ago, we took her to an endodontist, at Dr Jill’s urging. Again, Tessa required a lot of cajoling just to let the poor guy even take a look. He ended up saying things seem fine, and to come back in 6 months.
I thought we were in good shape.
Chapter 3: “Owwwwww”
During my trip last week, Roger told me over the phone that Tessa’s tooth was hurting. We figured it was the adjacent tooth, which had been loose.
After I got home, her complaints intensified. We tried to pinpoint: was the pain in the tooth or in the gum? Was it a sharp pain or a dull ache? She was not able to be any more precise than to say simply, “it HURTS, Mama.” Last night it looked like a canker sore. Good, I thought. A temporary condition.
Today she’s doped up on both Tyl.enol and Mo.trin, and is unable to eat for the pain. Even fruit-yogurt shakes have no appeal. And Dr Jill can’t see her until tomorrow afternoon.
Looking for more immediate relief, I called the endodontist we just visited. What I thought was a canker sore is probably an infection coming from the tooth through the gum.
She will likely lose the tooth. How could such a minor event have such huge repercussions?
I feel terrible.
(But I’m not blaming Ron Paul.)