Tales from Lake Toothbegone

May 7, 2008

in Tessa

I am heartsick. I literally feel sick in my heart, punched in the gut.

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.)

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{ 42 comments… read them below or add one }

The Casual Perfectionist April 7, 2010 at 12:04 am

Oh no!! I’m so sorry this is happening. :( If it’s any consolation (which it’s not, I’m sure), they can do seemingly miraculous things with teeth (real and prosthetic) these days. Odds are, when this is all said and done, you won’t even be able to tell this happened to her.Good luck!!

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Denise April 7, 2010 at 12:04 am

Ouch. I’m so sorry. I hope by some miracle they will be able to save the tooth.

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The Casual Perfectionist April 7, 2010 at 12:04 am

Oh no!! I’m so sorry this is happening. :( If it’s any consolation (which it’s not, I’m sure), they can do seemingly miraculous things with teeth (real and prosthetic) these days. Odds are, when this is all said and done, you won’t even be able to tell this happened to her.Good luck!!

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Denise April 7, 2010 at 12:04 am

Ouch. I’m so sorry. I hope by some miracle they will be able to save the tooth.

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IdleMindOfBeth April 7, 2010 at 12:04 am

Oh, poor Tessa! And her poor Mommy! Cyber hugs for you both, and a prayer that all goes as smoothly as you can hope for.

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Waiting Amy April 7, 2010 at 12:04 am

Oh that is awful! Those trauma things can be such a pain (literally, figuratively, financially!)!She is a toughie and will get through this, and as the others said, they can really do amazing things today. But I totally get how it would make you sick!

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IdleMindOfBeth April 7, 2010 at 12:04 am

Oh, poor Tessa! And her poor Mommy! Cyber hugs for you both, and a prayer that all goes as smoothly as you can hope for.

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Waiting Amy April 7, 2010 at 12:04 am

Oh that is awful! Those trauma things can be such a pain (literally, figuratively, financially!)!She is a toughie and will get through this, and as the others said, they can really do amazing things today. But I totally get how it would make you sick!

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excavator April 7, 2010 at 12:04 am

I’m keeping all fingers crossed that it’s not as bad as it looks right now, and that resolving it goes as easily as possible for you & Rob, Tessa, and her college fund.Sympathetic clucking, too, on the attempts to pinpoint a malady by narrowing down symptoms in a 7 year old…shaking my head in despair. They just don’t get differential diagnosis.I’m sorry, Lori, that you have to be faced with this when you should still be glowing from your time away.I know I don’t have to ask, but I hope you’ll let us know as soon as possible.

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Lavender Luz April 7, 2010 at 12:04 am

Thanks, ladies. Your support helped me through a particularly bad hour.But now, our best friend is codeine. We may sleep through the night!

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beagle April 7, 2010 at 12:04 am

(I’ll send your good karma back . . . your need is more immediate!)

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beagle April 7, 2010 at 12:04 am

Ditto Beth. Poor Tessa, Poor Mom!

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excavator April 7, 2010 at 12:04 am

I’m keeping all fingers crossed that it’s not as bad as it looks right now, and that resolving it goes as easily as possible for you & Rob, Tessa, and her college fund.Sympathetic clucking, too, on the attempts to pinpoint a malady by narrowing down symptoms in a 7 year old…shaking my head in despair. They just don’t get differential diagnosis.I’m sorry, Lori, that you have to be faced with this when you should still be glowing from your time away.I know I don’t have to ask, but I hope you’ll let us know as soon as possible.

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Lavender Luz April 7, 2010 at 12:04 am

Thanks, ladies. Your support helped me through a particularly bad hour.But now, our best friend is codeine. We may sleep through the night!

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beagle April 7, 2010 at 12:04 am

(I’ll send your good karma back . . . your need is more immediate!)

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beagle April 7, 2010 at 12:04 am

Ditto Beth. Poor Tessa, Poor Mom!

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JJ April 7, 2010 at 12:04 am

Oh no–poor thing! Hoping they can make it as painless as possible-and maybe save the tooth in the process!And PS-happy blogoversary on Sunday!

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My name is Andy. April 7, 2010 at 12:04 am

Oh!! poor thing. I hope that the pain is gone and that the Drs. can work some magic for you!

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mary elizabeth April 7, 2010 at 12:04 am

oooowwwch! poor tessa and poor you. (well written btw). let me know if you need to reschedule next thursday.give t a hug for me.mb

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Pamela April 7, 2010 at 12:04 am

Ugh and double ugh! Can we start a Tessa tooth fund?

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JJ April 7, 2010 at 12:04 am

Oh no–poor thing! Hoping they can make it as painless as possible-and maybe save the tooth in the process!And PS-happy blogoversary on Sunday!

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My name is Andy. April 7, 2010 at 12:04 am

Oh!! poor thing. I hope that the pain is gone and that the Drs. can work some magic for you!

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mary elizabeth April 7, 2010 at 12:04 am

oooowwwch! poor tessa and poor you. (well written btw). let me know if you need to reschedule next thursday.give t a hug for me.mb

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Pamela April 7, 2010 at 12:04 am

Ugh and double ugh! Can we start a Tessa tooth fund?

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Furrow April 7, 2010 at 12:04 am

Oh, poor Tessa! Poor you! Dear, oh dear. Big hugs. I can’t help thinking how badass a gold cap would be on a 7-year-old, but this is so not funny, is it?

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Kami April 7, 2010 at 12:04 am

Poor Tessa. There is something about teeth for me. It is a recurring nightmare that I lose my teeth.I hope Tessa bounces back quicker than her mom will.

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deanna April 7, 2010 at 12:04 am

Oh, sweetie, sending hugs & hugs!!!I really hope there’s some way to save it! My poor Jake had a similar childhood incident, except it involved his face hitting the pavement when one of his “bike tricks” went awry. Thankfully, things dentally-speaking are a lot more sophisticated now than they were in the early 80s, so I’m sure the dentist will take good care of your girl, no matter how it pans out. Wishing lots of luck!

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Sheri April 7, 2010 at 12:04 am

Gawd, that’s kinda crazy shit. How do you explain that to her and try to make her feel better when you yourself feel so awful. Ugh.

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Furrow April 7, 2010 at 12:04 am

Oh, poor Tessa! Poor you! Dear, oh dear. Big hugs. I can’t help thinking how badass a gold cap would be on a 7-year-old, but this is so not funny, is it?

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Kami April 7, 2010 at 12:04 am

Poor Tessa. There is something about teeth for me. It is a recurring nightmare that I lose my teeth.I hope Tessa bounces back quicker than her mom will.

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deanna April 7, 2010 at 12:04 am

Oh, sweetie, sending hugs & hugs!!!I really hope there’s some way to save it! My poor Jake had a similar childhood incident, except it involved his face hitting the pavement when one of his “bike tricks” went awry. Thankfully, things dentally-speaking are a lot more sophisticated now than they were in the early 80s, so I’m sure the dentist will take good care of your girl, no matter how it pans out. Wishing lots of luck!

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Sheri April 7, 2010 at 12:04 am

Gawd, that’s kinda crazy shit. How do you explain that to her and try to make her feel better when you yourself feel so awful. Ugh.

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niobe April 7, 2010 at 12:04 am

I’m very relieved to see your update.

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Lavender Luz April 7, 2010 at 12:04 am

I’m sure all your good wishes have had something to do with the fact that things are now improving. I am hopeful that she won’t lose the tooth. We have a root canal scheduled for late next week. I’ll update as things develop.Many of you were right: Tessa is very resilient, and she is handling her physical pain better than I am handling the stress (and hourly extra doses of her willfulness).Breathe.

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Antigone April 7, 2010 at 12:04 am

I want an update. Was it infected? Has it abated? What’s going on???

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Geohde April 7, 2010 at 12:04 am

Oh, I’m so sorry- that must really hurt. Both of you.J

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Ms. Planner April 7, 2010 at 12:04 am

GREAT title. Poor little Tessa. That must hurt so much. Oh, the baby lamb! While I like Furrow’s idea of a gold tooth, am not sure how that would go down in Colorado.And ouch to the bank account as well. I’d rather have a nice smile than a college fund. But that’s how I roll.

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niobe April 7, 2010 at 12:04 am

I’m very relieved to see your update.

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Lavender Luz April 7, 2010 at 12:04 am

I’m sure all your good wishes have had something to do with the fact that things are now improving. I am hopeful that she won’t lose the tooth. We have a root canal scheduled for late next week. I’ll update as things develop.Many of you were right: Tessa is very resilient, and she is handling her physical pain better than I am handling the stress (and hourly extra doses of her willfulness).Breathe.

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Antigone April 7, 2010 at 12:04 am

I want an update. Was it infected? Has it abated? What’s going on???

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Geohde April 7, 2010 at 12:04 am

Oh, I’m so sorry- that must really hurt. Both of you.J

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Ms. Planner April 7, 2010 at 12:04 am

GREAT title. Poor little Tessa. That must hurt so much. Oh, the baby lamb! While I like Furrow’s idea of a gold tooth, am not sure how that would go down in Colorado.And ouch to the bank account as well. I’d rather have a nice smile than a college fund. But that’s how I roll.

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