Toddler in Dentures: A Lesson in Gratitude

Yes. You read that right, not toddler in diapers, which is totally normal, but toddler in dentures, which seems 70 years too early.

Even before Logan was born, I started planning what I wanted for his future. The chance at a good education. The self-empowerment that he can do and be anything. The emotional capability to experience and express great love. I want so much for him, but I definitely didn’t want him to lose four teeth before the age of two. I didn’t want him to have acid reflux, food allergies, or trouble sleeping. I didn’t want him to have four crowns placed on his brand new set of molars. And I absolutely never thought I’d get the opportunity to see my son in dentures. And even after all that stress, I would not trade my job as his mom for the world.

Imagine my surprise that I’m grateful for my son’s dentures. He will never have to face embarrassment as he grows having four teeth missing. I’m grateful for the technology that allows his jaw to develop normally, and even more grateful for the amazing pediatric dental practice that will install them. They have been our guiding light throughout a very tough time for my family.

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Last Thursday, my husband, my son, and myself drove to the Children Methodist’s Hospital. I had a knot in my stomach the whole morning as we prepared to put our sweet guy through a very rough day. Upon admittance we still had two hours to kill and they dragged on as slowly as possible. Checked the clock 12. Twenty minutes later, 12:05. What the heck?!  By the time our O.R. slot was ready, Logan was melting down. Having been fasting since midnight and unable to offer him breast milk no matter how frantically he moved to pull up my shirt and nurse. It broke my heart to push him away and tell him he couldn’t seek comfort while he was in such a scary environment. Tensions were running high and morale was low by the time he got the twilight medicine that would allow us to transfer him into the arms of hospital staff, the people we were entrusting with our most important person.

We watched as the nurse carried him down the hall and then we turned around to head through the waiting room door. I expected not to hear anything for quite awhile, but just minutes into it, the phone rang. Immediately my mind assumed something was wrong. Instead it was just his dentist calling to let us know that he had handled the anesthesia beautifully and that they were beginning their work. Relived, I conveyed the message to my husband and my dad. We went back to waiting, exhausted and ready for the day to be over.

The phone rang again. It was bad news. None of his top four teeth could be saved. The pediatric dentist told me that the teeth were just too decayed and to even save the front two would be “heroics,” which might not even work. She said that the best thing would be to pull them all to prevent more serious infection and complications that would lead us to have to put Logan out a second time. As much as it pained me to approve the pulling of all four teeth, I knew it was the right thing to do. My concern was that he would now be without his four most obvious teeth for the next five to eight years. I began to worry about how this would affect him. Kids can be so mean when it comes to differences of appearance and I don’t want that for him. I was as relieved as someone could be when they told me that they could prep the mold for his partial plate right then and there and that he would only be without “teeth” for about two weeks! I’m amazed and humbled by today’s technological advances.

For as much waiting as we did to get Logan into the OR, the procedure time flew by and soon we were being greeted by our son’s dentist telling us he had done great and was in recovery. I had thought the hard part would be watching Logan go into the OR without us, but walking into recovery and seeing him asleep hooked up to various machines with blood around his mouth was awful. My heart ached. Of course his anesthesia induced sleep was WAY better than him waking up and trying to rip out his IV. I could not get him to calm down enough to breastfeed. The nurse had to remove his IV and blood pressure cuff before he would even stop screaming and crying. He looked so broken and exhausted.

Once removed from the {evil} machines, Logan nursed and nursed and nursed. He sought comfort and nourishment. I was once again grateful for the umpteenth time that day to be able to protect wpid-wp-1427154294012.jpeghim and give him what was best.

Finally at the end of a very long day, we got to drive home through rush hour traffic; first 410 then 281. {Serious eye rolling here.}

Little man’s recovery has been a bit of a doozy. He has been grumpy and his sleep has been extremely disrupted, but he is on the mend and soon this will be a distant memory.

Throughout every challenge of the day, we thanked god that Logan was just there for dental work. We know that it could’ve been so much worse and our hearts go out to the parents who are dealing with the heartbreak of having a very sick child. Even though this wasn’t what we wanted for our child and wouldn’t wish it on another family, our son is healthy and happy.

We are the lucky ones, and we are so grateful.

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