Dental Adventures

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[Oh, yeah, if you think you read this before at my Quora.com blog, you are right. I needed something to start the new blog off, so, in the spirit of TV re-runs, I am re-posting this entry here. If you read it before, you should read it again. If you haven’t read it yet, then it will be new to you. Enjoy.]

Next week my wife, The Thoroughly Awesome Ms. Crums, and I will experience another one in a million “firsts” with our daughters, Maddo and Little Sis.

We will get the girls up in the morning, feed them some Honey Nut Cheerios [Which any parent knows is THE go-to cereal for toddlers and small kids], struggle a bit with dressing the little scamps, separate them from each other during at least one toy-related brawl, and then finally strap them, most likely with a bit of kicking and screaming, into their car seats.

And all of this will take place before we even head out to our destination, a place that might result in the girls throwing a fit to end all fits. It will all depend on how much they enjoy having some stranger they’ve never met stick her fingers into their mouths and look at their teeth.

Yes, we will be going to the dentist for the first time.

I’ve got to admit, I feel a little divided myself about this experience. I mean, I know going to the dentist and proper dental health is important. But really…Aren’t their baby teeth just going to fall out within a couple of years, anyway? Maddo is four and she hasn’t even come close to losing any of her teeth. Little Sis is just two-and-a-half. Is it really necessary to subject them to the oral proddings of some giant that they’re seeing for the first time in their young lives? What kind of night terrors could this bring on?

I guess we have to do it, if for no other reason than to show we are Good Parents and want to establish Good Habits for our girls. For example, right now, Little Sis’ idea of brushing her teeth consists of just sucking the safe-to-swallow kids’ toothpaste off her little brush. I’m sure the toothpaste tastes good, but the kid isn’t doing much for scrubbing the remnants of her latest meal of Kraft Mac and Cheese off of her molars. We have to make sure she knows how to clean her mouth out for real.

Maybe I shouldn’t be too concerned about how the girls will react? I mean, so far they haven’t seemed too scared by my reading of “Arthur’s Tooth” one of the “Arthur’s Adventures” books by Marc Brown. In that story, Arthur gets upset because, at age six, he’s the only one in his classroom who still hasn’t lost a tooth. There’s a pretty scary image of some monster going after Arthur’s mouth while he sits in a dentist’s chair that looks like something that might have been used in the Spanish Inquisition. I’ve even skipped over it a few times. But, in the end, the dentist turns out to be not so bad after all and lets Arthur know that it’s OK that he hasn’t lost a tooth, yet.

Of course, in the last scene, Arthur’s loose tooth finally falls out and he is thrilled to be part of the cool kids and will soon be visited by the Tooth Fairy. We never see how much cash Arthur gets for his tooth, but I have a good feeling that it’ll be more than the quarters my brother and I used to find on the mornings after we would stick teeth under our pillows.

In fact, I got a good idea of how inflation has driven up the price of teeth since I was kid when I recently listened to Adam Carolla on his podcast tell about what his six-year-old daughter got for one of her teeth that just fell out. Carolla, who gets incredulous about many things that are outrageous, obviously didn’t play the role of Tooth Fairy this time when he couldn’t believe what his daughter woke up to.

And that was…$40. For one tooth.

Uh…If that’s the going rate for baby teeth, my daughters better plan on keeping theirs in their mouths until they head off to college.

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