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Two teeth out

Wednesday 27th April

Our two eldest daughters, Annie and Lauren, couldn’t be more different. Lauren loves to hug, and has zero embarrassment about doing this in front of friends or when she comes out from school. Annie is very different, and is very self-conscious around her friends, and suffers from classic pre-teen embarrassment around parents! We take this is good humour, knowing that she expresses her feelings in different ways at the moment, and that such worries about social circles and parents are usually just a phase. Today was a good example of this.

Annie has been waiting for orthodontic treatment for about 18 months. She has a very small mouth – with not enough room for her teeth, one of her incisors is stuck in her gum and her bite doesn’t match. Our local dentist referred her to the Orthodontist, and we were relieved to find out her treatment would be covered by the NHS. She has been to have photographs, X-Rays and moulds made, and now finally the treatment is in sight. First though she has to have four teeth extracted. If it were me, I think I would want to be put under general anaesthetic and have them all out in one go. But the dentist has suggested she have two appointments – two teeth out each visit under local anaesthetic.

It’s not that Annie is a ‘drama queen’ (we tend not to use this phrase to the children – as it can be quite unhelpful) but usually she does not have a very high pain threshold! She’s only got to have a knot in her hair and it is the end of the world. Her appointment was straight after school. As Charlie is away during the week, I have all three children. I decide that all going to the dentist is probably not the best course of action, so I ask Charlie to come home. I persuade him to take Annie, while I collect Lauren and Alice from school. I figure Annie will be better with her Dad than me.

So Charlie took her and he said she was amazing. What was interesting was that, as soon as she sat in the dental chair and the nerves began, she instinctively reached out to hold Charlie’s hand. It was a small gesture, but one that reminded Charlie and myself that for all the teenager moods and trying to play it cool, when she needs us she feels she can reach out.

She sat bravely as the dentist gave her four local anaesthetic injections, and then again while he extracted the teeth. Twenty five minutes later she returned home, a bit sore and swollen. I am so proud of her – she did it!!! I think in the end, all the preparation and coaching we did with her paid off. But mainly, she stepped up and braved the pain so that she can get her braces next month! More importantly, we learned one of those valuable lessons – always be ready when your child reaches out – even when it seems to happen rarely!

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