Friday, October 02, 2015

lu’s gum bump

In June, a bump appeared on Lu’s upper right gum. It was about the size of a pea and it was ripe with pus. She complained it hurt. We tried to fix it.

What we didn’t expect was that Lu, my brave little dental warrior, had developed dentist paranoia in the four years since we brought her (Our fault. We didn’t follow up with regular visits).

DENTIST 1: A dashing Australian who works opposite our place, I brought Lu there in June just before our trip to Melbourne.

To my horror, her hands became cold and clammy in the reception area. She was scared. In the clinic, she refused to sit in the chair, refused to wear the sunglasses, kept popping up to try and sit up, finally made me carry her in the chair, kept gagging whenever the dentist put his hand or an instrument in her mouth, cried copiously.

The dentist, a real gentleman who is himself the father of a young child, was all sweetness. He coaxed, he cajoled, he consulted Lu. Nothing worked.

But he pronounced that she had an abscess because of deep rot in a tooth. Infection had set in and the pus-filled bump was the result. He couldn’t fix it because of her paranoia. He prescribed antibiotics as a short-term fix. I didn’t give it to Lu. She remained fine throughout Melbourne.

DENTIST 2: Post-trip, I brought her to KK’s dentist-golfer friend, see if he can fix it.

He, like Dentist 1, was suave and dripping honey. He coo-ed to Lu: "It’s OK, Luanne, want to come see uncle’s instruments? See the chair can go up and down!" We spent ages in there, to no avail, even though back home, we had tried playing dentist and putting all sorts of things in her mouth with no problem.

Lu was exactly the same, if not worse, despite a cheery nurse who tirelessly tried to warm her up with an origami session before she went in to see the dentist.

Doctor pronounced: You must resolve this. She needs a root canal. I can’t extract it because we need the milk tooth to be a “placeholder” for the permanent tooth. And you need to fix it because otherwise the permanent tooth underneath will be damaged. I can quite easily do the root canal here, it’ll cost a few hundred and take maybe an hour. But if she’s so afraid of the dentist, and has such a strong gag reflex, she’ll have to be put under general anaesthesia. I’m afraid that will cost a few thousand, because I have to do it at a hospital where the anaesthetist is.

Lu said: “I hate the dentist. Anyway my tooth isn’t hurting.” I procrastinated.

DENTIST 3: Two weeks ago, Lu came back from school. She said: Mama I saw the school dentist today! She filled the hole!

Say what?

So apparently Lu had been summoned to see the school dental nurse, a no-nonsense auntie who we sometimes see eating around the hawker centre. Lu apparently obediently opened her mouth wide for the auntie who nonchalantly cleaned out the tooth and pus and plugged the hole after telling her – Your tooth is dead - and did some cleaning up, no fuss no muss. I don't even know if what she did was a root canal or some other procedure. The bill: Free.

I asked Lu: How did you feel? What did you do when the nurse put her instruments in your mouth? Could you lie down? To all (to my frustration!) she said "Nothing, OK lor, no problem. I like the nurse better than Papa's friend. I hate Papa's friend." (WHAT?!)


  • School dental nurses may come free but that doesn’t mean they’re not good. They see a heck of a lot of dirty kiddy mouths all day which they have to fix quick. It’s like the trenches of child dental warfare.
  • When I’m not around, the kids are a lot more resilient and independent (no crutch).
  • Sometimes being nice to kids and listening to what they have to say is a big waste of time.


Karmeleon said...

My then 4yo did have his extracted under GA after having it fixed - looked fixed but bc uncooperative - it probably continued rotting over another few months before it gave him pain again and there was an abcess appearing. A BIG abcess. A spacer was put in to hold the place for the future permanent tooth. Anyway, during the GA, 6 other cavities were fixed. out of 4 kids, dunno why this one got crumbling teeth.

But after that one surgery, no more thankfully, to-date! Job was done well ! He's 7now and has several permanant teeth - except none of the teeth with fillings have dropped yet. :p

Sher said...

i dunno if what this dental nurse did will last... u never know. i hope the dead tooth drops, and the permanent tooth comes out soon.

Karmeleon said...

and hope no problems with the permanent teeth! *cross fingers*