Parenting Crisis on the Horizon

Teeth
Every so often, I have this dream.

I’ll be in the middle of a conversation when I notice there’s something in my mouth.

I feel around gently with my tongue, and find something loose in my mouth – I spit it out into my hand, and notice it’s one of my teeth.

Oh God.

I don’t deal well with teeth.

Still. I tell myself there’s no need to panic. Breathe.

If I keep the tooth, the dentist can maybe implant it. Or I can get a crown or something. It’ll be okay.

I continue my conversation, but as I talk, one by one my teeth start to come loose. Sometimes, they start to crumble like chalk. Every time I tell myself I can live without three teeth, or four, or five – another few fall out.

Within a few minutes, I’m looking at the broken up remains of my teeth, in my hands. In the dream, I am pretty freaked out. But the person I’m with always tells me to stop over-reacting and being so dramatic.

“Don’t be ludicrous,” are the words my dream mother tends to use when I tell her I have to leave our lunch, to get to the dentist.

Obviously, I’ve read enough books about dreams to know that this is supposed to represent a fear of loss of control. It’s a fair analysis – anyone who has seen my alphabetised spice rack knows that I have a teeny, tiny tendency towards control freakery.

But I also am genuinely, completely freaked out by teeth. And this is a problem when you’re hanging around children.

I once worked for a woman who had a 5-year-old daughter with a missing front tooth. I had to make a point of looking elsewhere whenever the kid was in the room, or I’d feel nauseous. I haven’t actually made eye contact with my niece for about two years now. We watched an episode of the Simpsons the other night where Bart (a cartoon character) has a wobbly tooth. I had to change channels. It's pathetic, I know.

But Flea is five and a half. Most of her friends now have charming gaps in their mouths that mean I have to conduct conversations with them while looking into a space six inches above their heads. I can just tell she's next. I'm trying to delay the inevitable – I make her floss twice a day and use mouthwash and her teeth ARE in tip-top condition.

This morning, Flea got up and told me her teeth were feeling a bit sore.

“Don’t be ludicrous,” I said, chucking a sachet of Calpol in her direction.

Literally, I have no idea how I am going to cope for the next – what – two years?? I think if I’m required to touch a tooth, or (I genuinely find this hard to type) look at a wobbly tooth – ugh. It doesn’t bear thinking about. Kids like wobbling their teeth, I seem to remember. Wobbly teeth, with bits of tendon and blood and stuff. It turns my stomach, it really does.

Help me readers. Help Flea.

Because short of putting my child into foster care until she has a full set of adult teeth, I am somehow going to have to find a way to deal with this.

Any tips?

About 

Sally is a full-time blogger and founder of the Tots100, Trips100, Foodies100 and HIBS100 communities, along with the MAD Blog Awards. She spends a bit too much time on the Internet. She’s also a very happy Mum to Flea, the world’s coolest ten year old.

26 Comments

  1. 1st February 2011 / 11:27 pm

    When they’re loose, ignore them till they fall out naturally, and while it’s happening got to a costume shop and get Flea a set of comic teeth to cover the gaps!
    You could theme them . . . big square ones for Easter, pointy ones for Halloween etc. Flea will love it!
    Oh, and good luck!

  2. S.
    2nd February 2011 / 12:33 am

    Loads of Una’s friends run up to wiggle their teeth at me because they know it makes me squeal. I’m not a fan of wiggly teeth. Even tho I remember loving wiggling teeth myself as a kid
    But I’m not that fussed about teeth in general and I’ve really enjoyed doing the tooth fairy thing actually. She gets so excited, it’s lovely!
    On the other hand I’ve had to get used to having a gappy daughter for the past three years since she knocked one out.
    So, er, no tips really. Perhaps if she puts the tooth under her pillow you can fetch it out with a tissue? To avoid touching it. But I think you probably will have to look at her gap. Can’t you learn to embrace the gross?!
    Now, if it were anything to do with eyes… *shudder*

  3. Vic
    2nd February 2011 / 9:43 am

    Hypnotherapy?
    TB’s stopped letting me even look at his wobbly teeth since I threatened to pull one out with a pair of pliers if he didn’t stop showing me how much it wiggled. I’m sure I can come up with ten more ways of pulling teeth out that you can scare Flea with.

  4. 2nd February 2011 / 9:57 am

    I get that dream too. It’s just a horrible feeling. I can feel them crumbling in my mouth. Yuck. My grandmother used to say that whenever she had that dream, somebody she knew (either well or not so well) died. Don’t know how true that is but all I know is that it is just a horrible, horrible dream to have.
    As for the wobbly teeth, not a big fan either. My daughter never realized she had her first wobbly tooth until she took it out of her mouth one dinner time, yuck yuck yuck. It’s different when it’s your own though. It’s actually quite funny to see them with a tooth missing and how proud they are of it. Just try and remind yourself that they are going to grow back!

  5. 2nd February 2011 / 10:00 am

    I hate the losing teeth dream I get it a lot. As for your interesting problem I think the only way is to go for broke and innundate (sp?) yourself with teeth in the hope that by overlaoding you will become desensitised…crossing fingers for you and Flea!!!

  6. 2nd February 2011 / 1:01 pm

    My 5 yo is just started the same “my teeth hurt” line too.My oldest is 9 this year and has only had a few come out and that was horrible so you have every sympathy.Think I might be handle it once 2 yo goes through it.I wonder what you call someone who has the fear of missing teeth?

  7. 2nd February 2011 / 1:24 pm

    Just keep feeding her semi-hard things like carrot sticks once they start to wobble and then they might just pop out swiftly when she bites down. I’m with Vic about using teeth pulling stories as a deterrent to tooth wiggling in your face. That is if you can stomach them!

  8. 2nd February 2011 / 2:54 pm

    Last night I dreamt I lost one of my teeth! Grace has got 4 wobbly teeth all at once but luckily she doesn’t keep showing me. I cried the other night, not because I hate wobbly teeth, but because I don’t want my little girl to grow up! I have a thing about eyes – I dread one of mine getting something in their eyes when I’m on my own with them. The thought makes me feel weak!
    Good luck with the teeth 🙂

  9. Nikki
    2nd February 2011 / 4:24 pm

    Oh Sally bless you, another funny post!
    Jenni’s 5 and a half and she’s already lost 4 teeth (she got teeth at 6 weeks and two teeth every month thereafter) and its really not that bad at all. At this age it’s not how much they look after their teeth that keeps them in, its how fast the ones underneath are coming through. Jenni got her bottom two adult teeth immediately after she lost the baby ones and they’re up and level already. Her latest two top teeth are already descending (two weeks after losing them) so you may not have to avoid looking at her for too long PMSL.
    Yes, my stomach heaved when it happened but mostly they’ve fallen out whilst she’s eating so I’ve only had to “assist” with pulling one out – when she was in pain as it was hanging by a thread and had twisted.
    It’s just one more chore for us Mums to suck up and get on with. Not a lot of choice means you have to. Sorry hun.

  10. Nikkii
    2nd February 2011 / 6:45 pm

    It absolutely turns mine too – my toes are curling right now thinking about it. I have successfully got through two of my children losing and growing various teeth (btw 2 years? haha Andrew JUST lost his last baby tooth at FOURTEEN). Mine were (mostly) pretty good about it, they knew wobbly teeth just freaked me the fuck out so they (mostly) didn’t wobble them at me on purpose (mostly). To be honest I guess it’s a bit like changing nappies, nobody likes the smell of shit but when you gotta do it you gotta do it and it’s infinitely easier to deal with shit, snot and teeth expelled from your own offspring than the general munchkin population. Honest. You’ll be fine.

  11. 2nd February 2011 / 8:14 pm

    Yeah I was going to say as well – just two years??? Maybe it will be good for you. It will be like desensitisation therapy.

  12. 2nd February 2011 / 8:50 pm

    Really? You promise? In, like, how long?

  13. 2nd February 2011 / 8:51 pm

    I don’t know – there must be a name for it. Cos it can’t be just me. Can it?

  14. 2nd February 2011 / 8:51 pm

    Okay, that made me feel a bit sick, but it makes sense.

  15. 2nd February 2011 / 8:52 pm

    I have been dreading this for about three years. And yes, on eyes, I’m in complete agreement.

  16. 2nd February 2011 / 8:53 pm

    Why would you leave me a comment like that? There I was, reading along, when suddenly you present me with THAT mental picture. Oh God, I’m traumatised now.

  17. 2nd February 2011 / 8:53 pm

    Any that aren’t gone within 2 years are being removed surgically.

  18. 2nd February 2011 / 8:58 pm

    Apparently teeth falling out dreams have a very specific meaning attached to them; worrying about how people see you or what they think of you, I think.
    Anyway, I promise you, you will be so all over wobbly teeth – you will 🙂

  19. Nikki
    3rd February 2011 / 10:09 am

    PMSL, didn’t mean to traumatise you!!! You’ll be fine – as a single parent you’re already a supermum, just think of it as another little hurdle!!

  20. 3rd February 2011 / 12:01 pm

    Don’t bank on them all being gone within 2 years – I still have one now and I am 30 *ahem* something!

  21. 3rd February 2011 / 3:24 pm

    Only recently, my 7 y/o’s wobbling teeth have made my stomach turn. I used to be made of stronger stuff.
    I suggest either having the dentist pull all the teeth now and fit her with falsies until the adult ones come in (underneath the fals ones of course) or…hypnotherapy. You might be able to get a referral from your doc and it would probably ttake one session.
    Good job you’re not living in this house. Little Guy has the biggest gap where the big front tooth should be. It’s taking ages to grow in and the one next to it is like a bloody tombstone. Huge!

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