About a year ago, at her normal check-up, the dentist told my daughter that her teeth were starting to get slightly loose, and that she would probably have lost one or two by her birthday. This was the most exciting news possible to a five-year-old, and she spent countless hours attempting to wiggle her, as far as I could tell, completely immobile tooth. Her sixth birthday came and went with no loose or lost teeth, and a few weeks ago we had another check-up, where we were told that those same front bottom teeth were slightly loose, and would certainly begin to fall out sometime soon. Ha.
Ruby has checked every day to see if her teeth are loose, for she desperately wants to be visited by the tooth fairy, and the other day she asked me to take a turn checking her tooth. I checked it, and it was not very loose, but during this casual exam I happened to notice something odd. It appeared that her adult tooth had started growing in, behind the row of baby teeth. That didn’t seem right to me at all.
I quickly did an internet search, which, as you may know, will instantly fill your browser with the worst case scenarios for any minor problem that you may be concerned about. Notice a bit of paint peeling in your bathroom? Google it and I’m sure you will find some sort of horror story that started with peeling paint and ended up with the deaths of everyone involved. But I was able to discover that this second row of teeth, these shark teeth, were not that uncommon, and I learned a bit about the science of natural teeth replacement.
When your adult teeth start coming in, they do some gross thing or other (possible secrete something) that dissolves the root of the baby tooth, causing it to become loose. Eventually enough of the root is dissolved so that you can pull the thing right out, allowing the new one to take its rightful place in the pantheon of teeth. But sometimes, for whatever reason, the new tooth grows in behind the old one, thus not dissolving the root, making that baby tooth just as easy to pull out as, say, any of your other teeth, and then settling down behind your baby teeth, causing, probably, the deaths of everyone involved.
No, actually, the worst case scenario is braces I think, but wanting to avoid that we called the dentist right away. You see, we also read that the earlier you get that baby tooth out of there, the better chance the new one has of finding its way home to the front of your mouth. If you wait until the adult tooth has pretty much set up shop and unpacked in its new home, there could be problems. The solution? Have the baby tooth pulled.
Now, I would think that if you asked a normal, average person if they would be excited to go to the dentist to have a tooth pulled, or if they would rather wait to see if their oral issues would resolve themselves on their own (as is sometimes the case), they would pick the second option. But those people are maybe not waiting for a visit from the tooth fairy. Ruby bugged us all weekend to call the dentist so that she could get her tooth yanked out professionally, despite our protests that the office was not open on weekends. When we made the appointment Monday morning, my daughter was so happy to go get her tooth pulled the next day that she could barely sleep.
We took her in yesterday and the dentist checked everything out and agreed that it could be a problem, and that was all we needed to hear. Hooray! Tooth pulling! The moment we’ve all been waiting for! I sat with Ruby as she got all numbed, and I watched as the dentist went looking for smaller yankers, as the larger yankers kept slipping off of the tooth. Well, after a few tries, that tooth came out and Ruby spent the rest of the day showing it off to everyone she could find. I’m sure she is showing off her new mouth skyline to everyone in school as you read this. The only question left was, what is the going rate for teeth these days? What would the tooth fairy be leaving under the pillow? And that, I think, is a good story for tomorrow.