Wednesday, August 25, 2010

About Those Caps

I haven't been able to get a photo that really shows all of the capped teeth, but I got a couple that give you the general idea.

Remember this photo of Peeper's teeth before yesterday?


Here are Peeper's teeth today:

Shrike thinks I'm being stupid and maybe I am, but I'm really not trying to be a jackass here, it's just how I feel.

I'm not on a fishing expedition, and I really don't want to hear a bunch of reassurances about how they're just fine and I'm being silly, and nobody can tell, because I can tell, and that's really all that matters to me.

It bothers the hell out of me and not a God damn thing can be done about it, so I guess I just have to deal with it, but don't fucking tell me it's nothing, because it's something to me.

The thing is, I absolutely hate how the caps look.

I'm glad that the dentist didn't try to drill too much and break her teeth. I'm glad that those three are now protected from cavities. I'm really glad that they now make tooth-colored caps, so she doesn't have big silver teeth, which would be about a million times worse, but I am still really not happy with them, at all.

I haven't gotten a really good look at the cap on the lateral incisor yet, in real-life or photos, but as best as I can tell, it doesn't look much different from its uncapped mate, so I don't guess I really have any complaints about it.

The central ones, though. Oh my God.

They are huge, and too "perfectly" shaped and look totally fake. They stick out past the others by a mile, and it looks like she's wearing some kind of Halloween costume teeth.

Look at the photos.

Before, the two middle teeth were rounded and just a bit bigger than the two on either side. Now they are half-again the size of their neighbors and perfectly square, like a couple of fucking Chicklets stuck in her mouth.

I swear, I didn't go looking for fault with them. When the dentist told us she'd capped them instead of filling them, I was actually glad, because I figured that meant we wouldn't have to worry so about those three having any additional decay. I was almost wishing she'd gone ahead and done that fourth one, just to be safe.

I didn't open her mouth to inspect them. I didn't say to myself, "Hmmm, let's see if I can tell a difference. Let's see if they look fake."

The dentist told us they'd look just like regular teeth, so I fully expected to not see any difference, other than the lack of cavities.

But there's a huge difference, and I didn't have to look for it.

Before she was even good and awake, maybe even before she was allowed to nurse, I was holding her and she was crying, and she opened her mouth enough for her teeth to show and, "Oh my God! Those things are huge!"

They just jumped right out at me.

The overwhelming impression was that the two in the middle are way too big for the rest of the teeth, and for her mouth. They remind me of a seven-year-old, who has gotten just those couple of permanent teeth, but hasn't grown into them yet.

Except that their neighbors aren't going to quickly be replaced by bigger versions. This is how her mouth is going to look for the next four or five years, until it's Tooth Fairy time at our house.

It also occured to me just a little while ago that, you know, we didn't consent to caps. We consented to fillings, and nobody mentioned the possibility of caps.

Now, had the dentist come out and talked to us, and explained why she wanted to do the caps instead and why fillings would be a bad idea, I'm 100% sure we would have consented, but we were never even consulted about it, and the more I think about it, the more that bothers me.

Don't get me wrong, I liked the dentist, and I don't really blame her (Well, maybe a little. I mean, can't she see that they don't match?) but I just feel like we gave her the world's cutest little toddler mouth and she fucked it all up. Without our permission.

I mean, obviously (obviously!), Peeper is still the world's cutest toddler, but now the world's cutest toddler has big fucking freaky fake front teeth.

And I hate them.

And I hate that I hate them.

I mean, they're part of her now, so shouldn't I love them, just like I love the rest of her?

But it just makes me so upset to even look at them.

I don't care if nobody else can even tell the difference. (But how can you not? I mean, look at the photos!)

I can tell the difference.

I know that they are not her. They are not right. They are just wrong.

It's not about them making her somehow "not cute" or even "less cute" because I don't think that's the case, but just, well dammit, she was perfect, and now she's not, and nobody asked us before doing it, and seriously, how could the dentist not see that they are way to big for her? How could she not, I don't know, use smaller caps? Grind them down smaller? Something.

So, now what?

I mean, I can say something to the dentist when we go for the follow-up next Friday, but what good will it do?

Shrike already thinks I'm crazy for even being concerned about it, so she'd probably be mortified if I complained about how they look, and I'm certainly not going to complain about how they look in front of Peeper, because I don't ever want her to know that I don't like them.

But I really do want to say something. To at least ask why they are so fucking big. (I would probably use less inflamatory language.)

It's not like she can make them smaller now - certainly not without knocking her out again, and I don't suppose that would make sense to do - but I think it might make me feel a little better to at least talk to her about it.

I don't know why it bothers me so much, but it really does. I just feel sick to my stomach every time I see them.

Maybe not sick so much, as just that awful feeling in the pit of my stomach. That "something bad has happened that can't be undone," feeling. I guess it's similar to how I'd feel if she'd had some sort of injury that left a minor scar.

I would know that it wasn't tragically disfiguring, and most people would never even notice it, but it would still always bother me, because it was something that happened to my baby, to mar her perfection.

(Let me emphasize, though, that I do not feel that way at all about her surgical scar. That surgery saved her life, and that scar is a fucking badge of honor, for all that she (and we) went through.)

I mean, she's still the cutest thing ever, but now she's the cutest thing ever - with funny-looking teeth.

I hate that I think that about them; I hate that I think that about her, but I do, and I don't know how to stop feeling that way.

I also kind of hate that I am so invested in her appearance. I mean, she is (and I think I am being at least somewhat objective here) quite cute, but that's not even in the top 100 of her best qualities, and I didn't really realize how important it's become to me.

I always thought that it was the beautiful girls, who've spent their lives hearing compliments about their own appearance, who were so concerned with their children's appearance, but maybe it's just the opposite. Maybe since having strangers constantly complimenting my child  (and, thus, by some weird extension, me, although I had nothing to do with that) is such a totally new experience to me, it means that much more.

And, of course, there's the part about how I already felt guilty about the cavities in the first place. Maybe the dentist was right about it being from night nursing, or maybe I haven't been brushing them well enough, or maybe I'm feeding her too much carby food, or whatever other reason I might come up with at any given moment.

Ever since I first noticed them, every time I've seen the cavities, I've felt awful about them, and as much as I was dreading yesterday, I was also looking forward to having them repaired.

But instead of erasing the visible signs of whatever it is that I've done to cause my child's teeth to rot, yesterday just made it all the more obvious.

Last night, I was googling for more information on either caps or congenitally missing teeth (hey - at least that one's not my fault!) when I came across a post on some sort of a toddler tooth forum, in which someone asked, "What do you think of the parents when you see a toddler with silver caps on their teeth?"

Well, I know what I thought of them before yesterday.

I guess now I just have to think that they don't have as much dental insurance as we do, so they couldn't afford the tooth-colored ones.

God, I can only imagine how distraught I'd be about all this if they'd put a bunch of silver in her mouth. I suppose I should at least be thankful about that, but instead, all I can think is, "Damn, those teeth are big."


  1. Oh, so much to respond to there. First - and foremost - they don't look bad. Yes, I see them - I absolutely see them - but they don't look bad. It does very much have that "just got the new teeth in" look, but I don't think that anyone who didn't know, would know. I don't think it jumps out at you. (Well, it does jump out at YOU, but not the rest of the world.)

    As to why they are so big, apparently that is just the way it has to be to fit over the tooth. Think about it, the tooth is still there and this is over it, so, of course, it has to be bigger.

    I am having the same problem with my new bridge. It is too big, too perfect, and too fake. It makes the teeth by it look like crap. The dentist is thrilled with it, went on and on about how good it is and what a good match the color is. Not. It doesn't look bad - it just looks different - and makes the rest of the teeth look bad.

    I never realized just how much pride I had in my perfectly straight, never needed braces teeth. They had lots of fillings and such in them (that didn't show) and were not the whitest things in town, but damn it, they were perfectly straight and prettily shaped. There is not a lot about my appearance that I am just thrilled with, but I had pretty teeth. Not so much anymore. I have spent the last several years feeling somewhat that way about having those side teeth missing, but I alway held on to the thought that, one of these days I will get that bridge and it will all be fixed and I will have pretty teeth again. Yeah, not so much.

    I kinda hate the bridge. And I feel like crap about that. I certainly consented to the damn thing, I wanted it for years. I am so grateful to the anonyparents for gifting my poor ol' no dental insurance mouth with it for birthday/Mother's Day/graduation, and I so appreciate Dr. B giving me such a tremendous discount on it and all the hard work he put into making the *#$@! thing fit. And I kinda hate it. I thought my smile would look normal again. I thought my chewing would be normal again. Everything would just be great, when I finally got the bridge. So, so, so not. It looks funny and fake and feels funny and fake. Chewing? Still hurts and feels really weird. I have umpteen crowns in my mouth and once I got a permanent crown it felt totally normal and I was unaware it was there. I thought this would be the same. It's not. It feels like when I have a temporary crown in and feels all weird when I chew. I keep thinking the painful part will go away and that I might get used to the feeling and not notice it anymore and it's only been a few weeks and all that, but so far, not so much. And there is the part where I have two teeth missing on the bottom of the other side, with the one molar in the middle there on it's last legs, and when it goes there will be nothing to chew with left on that side. And it hurts to chew on this side. Will I end up with a bridge over there too? (At least it is far enough back to not show.) Just what they hell am I going to chew with when that tooth goes, it HURTS to chew with the *#$@! bridge. It is going to feel like that on both sides? If I end up with dentures (which seems more and more like a possibility these days) will my whole mouth feel like THIS? At least they would all be equal and pretty if I did, but OMG how does anyone ever chew anything with something like this in their mouth?!?!?

    I can only imagine what it must feel like for it to be your BABY!

    To be continued.

  2. Continued:

    Back to Peeper: Now it is all healthy and protected and all that crap. I don't think anyone in the "outside world" will notice anything in particular about it. I assume she doesn't feel anything weird, if she is not acting like it. I assume hers would feel like a crown and not be noticable. (I think what feels so weird about mine is that only the teeth on the two ends of the bridge are attached to anything and the ones in the middle are just floating in there. 'Cause, you know, it's a bridge. Duh.) Peeper's will go away some day and be replaced with normal healthy, her own, teeth. So that's good.

    As for what could you have done different. Keep in mind that both of my children were night nursers and I SERIOUSLY doubt I was better than you are at the teeth brushing thing, and neither of them had a cavity until they were in their twenties. I think it is just luck of the draw/what they are born with/flouride in the water. And Crest toothpaste; I'm a big believer in Crest tothpaste. (Oh, and prayer, stemming from the terror caused by the genetics of their Daddy getting dentures when he was 23.) But basically, shit just happens.

    Note: Anonymama, I know you are reading this. I am so sorry that the *#$@! bridge is not the end all, be all that I expected it to be. I still appreciate you and Anonydaddy so much and thank you for the bunches of dollars you spent getting it for me. At least it will keep those teeth from shifting any more and that is a good thing. And maybe I will get used to it and not feel it anymore. I am praying for that. And maybe the color will settle in match the rest of them and surely no one else sees this big vampire canine tooth sticking out and showing as much as I do. Surely. Anyway, I'm sorry I don't love it. And thank you again.

    Whozat: It shows, it doesn't look bad, surely you will get used to it and not notice it's there. Her chicklets are a hell of a lot cuter than my vampire tooth. (She's still the cutest kid in all of blogdom and after all, the other blogger babies do need a fighting chance...)

    Oh, on consent: Yeah, I get it, but I bet if you looked over the paperwork, there is some little something that gives them the option of that sort of thing if necessary. I just imagine that, legally, they have their ass covered. And you really didn't want them to keep her under the extra time it would have taken to come out and get an extra permission. However, they should have explained the possible options to you more thoughly before hand,, because your consent was apparently not completely informed. Although, I think they would have said that if she needed them, they would match her real teeth, etc. because, I think in dental world, they think that is a great, unnoticable match. That's all I can figure.

  3. When you go for the follow-up, tell the dentist your concerns and ask her if it's possible to do any filing down or shaping of the caps. Also, remember that her face is growing, and if the teeth look large to you, they won't in a year or two. Sorry if that wasn't helpful. I know how you feel; I'd be the same way with my child.

  4. Hi! I'm a lurker. (I saw you on the M2M forums, which I love too.) I think Peeper is the cutest toddler (besides my toddler, OBVIOUSLY!) ever, and I love reading about her adventures!

    I'm not going to say the caps look fine, because I totally understand where you are coming from. My baby's teeth are PERFECT just how they are, and I would be bothered by ANY change. I totally get it.

    I am going to say, I have a few crowns myself, and the dentist has filed them down and shaped them at my request, no biggie. It doesn't hurt (they are crowns, not real teeth) and it could probably be done in a flash - no "procedure" required, just hold her still for a sec. So I would definitely mention that. Don't know if it's an option for Peeper's crowns, but it might be.

    So yes, I would simply state, "They are pretty big. Bigger than her other teeth. By kind of a lot. Ahem." And see what happens. I hope it works out, and meanwhile, hugs.

  5. My vote? If YOU are not happy with her teeth then you reserve the right as her mother to say something to the dentist. I would be FURIOUS that I wasn't consulted regarding caps versus fillings. Furious. Your feelings are totally justified. xoxo

  6. My oldest 2 have silvers caps on their back teeth. It was the only option given. I guess they'll do the same to my youngest when they pull out his disintegrated top teeth. I blame the fluoride in the water for destroying my youngest kids' top teeth in utero. No fluoride where we were living with my oldest & his were fine. Better nutrition + flouride & my 2 youngest both had top teeth which started disintegrating as soon as they erupted.


What say you?