Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Back to the Dentist

“Mummy, my tooth hurts,” Leo told me last night after brushing. “The same one that Doctor C filled.”

I looked in his mouth, saw nothing wrong, and said “Ok. Well let me know if it gets any worse and I will make an appointment for you with Doctor Lenia tomorrow.”

I half-expected him to wake me last night, but he didn’t, and except for saying that it still hurt a little this morning, complained no more. Nevertheless, as soon as the surgery opened this morning I was on the phone to Lenia’s receptionist. She gave Leo an appointment for 11.45 today, and I arranged with the school to pick him up early.

As soon as she touched the tooth, she tightened her lips and shook her head. “When I see cases like this, of a baby tooth with decay, I never fill,” she told me. “I tell the parents to make sure that the child brushes well, and we keep a very close eye on it. Drilling a tooth like this can push the decay deep inside. Then the filling caps it, the bacteria multiply, and you get an infection like this.

“You have two options,” she continued. “We can prescribe antibiotics and kill the infection, but that will probably be only a temporary measure. He does not shed this tooth for another four years, and you could be looking at successive infections. Or we can take it out.”

I could, she told me, avoid antibiotics altogether if I wanted to use Propolis, “But it will take longer.” Leo has never had antibiotics – strange for a Cypriot child, paediatricians hand them out left, right, and centre – but I reach for them when there is a need, so I asked her to fill one and she gave us Amoxycillin for the bacteria and Nurofen for the pain.

“Once the infection is gone, we can do the extraction,” she said. “I don’t like it, and I wish that it weren’t necessary, but I think that it’s the only way to go.”

We made an appointment for next Tuesday, and Leo skipped out of the office, running smack into Kay in the waiting room. She had come to have a filling and was not looking forward to it, so we kept her company until her name was called, then headed for the car.

“Will it hurt?” Leo asked on the way home, and I explained about injections “like the one Zenon had which made his mouth feel really strange,” and said that it would be a little uncomfortable later. “But I’ll be with you all the time, and we can get a treat afterward.”

He seemed satisfied with that.

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