So the irony is that Allie did everything right as far as her dental care is concerned. She stopped use of the pacifier before she was 3 months old (by a day) and stopped bottle use when she was 14 months old so that her teeth wouldn’t slowly be “trained” to turn out or go crooked (American Academy of Pediatrics recommends weaning by 18 months). She doesn’t drink commercial juice or eat sweets. She never went to bed with a bottle so she wouldn’t have food “pooling” in her mouth to cause cavities. She has been brushing twice daily since she was 9 months old, and flossing at bedtime since before she was 18 months old. The only dental vice she does, and this is only on rare occasions, is chew ice.

But one bad fall, and she is worse off than the kids who are falling asleep at bedtime drinking Coke from their bottles at age 4.

While at Allie’s first dental office visit today, the pediatric dentist placed the mirror under Allie’s broken upper teeth, and I saw something pink behind Allie’s upper left front tooth. “What’s that, blood?” I asked Dr. Tina. It seemed unlikely that blood could stay on her tooth and not be washed away from saliva or Allie’s tongue.
“It’s a nerve,” Dr. Tina said. She had already showed us on the x-ray how little tooth enamel Allie had and how the nerve was right at the surface, especially on the left front tooth. Baby teeth just don’t have a lot of surface area and the nerves are big relatively speaking, so with a bad deep break like Allie has, the result is exposed nerve.
BTW, I did some internet research when I got home and basically, for adults and kids, once a tooth break has exposed a nerve, people describe excruciating pain, sensitivity to air, temperature, contact, and medical attention needs to be given in 1-2 weeks because the exposed nerve will not only die (a sign of which is the inside of the tooth turning black), but the “hole” exposed in the previously sterile inside of the tooth will decay and abscess and cause more problems.
Dr. Tina explained that we have 2 options for the next step. The one she recommends is extraction of BOTH front teeth. She said the “bad” one is the front left, where I saw the exposed nerve, but that parents will often pull out the other front tooth as well for symmetry. WTF. I must’ve looked VERY skeptical about this option because she didn’t address it much beyond that, and told us option #2 is to do a baby root canal, remove the exposed nerve, fill the tooth and cap both front teeth with a crown. She warned me that going this route may still lead to an extraction later if food/bacterial gets in the tooth anyway, and pulling the teeth makes things less complicated, with less potential for problems later.
I wanted Option 2. It would SUCK to pull these 2 teeth if they can be saved. I wanted her to take after me in many ways, but not in THAT way.
A near-future appointment will be made. A anesthesiologist will put Allie under (scary) so that the dentist can work on her teeth and give her the baby root canal and crowns, and I’m told the total procedure time would be about an hour. After that, Allie will still have to be careful how and what she eats, because the structural integrity of her front teeth will have been compromised, so she still can’t be biting into corn on the cob, an example Dr. Tina gave. 🙁 But it’s not like she could anyway with NO upper front teeth. I wonder how I ate until I was 8.

It’s so unfair that kids who pay no attention to their oral care will just get a tooth drilled for cavity here and there, and my baby with the perfect teeth has to get a ROOT CANAL. This is all my fault, really. I had overslept yesterday morning and was running late, so Mr. W brought Allie downstairs while I hurriedly finished getting ready upstairs, which is why I was not there when Allie tripped and face-planted on the travertine tiles downstairs. If I had been there, it’s unlikely Allie would have left me to go running to Mr. W in the kitchen, and maybe I would’ve been holding her anyhow as I like to do before we say goodbye for the morning. But I also know that if I had been given a choice of this, or of Allie having a chronic health issue, even something common such as food allergies, I would’ve chosen this. It’s over with faster, and hopefully her adult teeth won’t be affected.

She’s a trooper; aside from changing her mind about wanting water or fruit when it’s too cold (now that we know she’s temperature-sensitive), she has not shown one bit of discomfort. Her total cry when she fell was less than a minute. She even let me brush her teeth last night (altho she whimpered when the brush touched the bruising on the inside of her top lip last nite), this morning and tonight (I avoided her top teeth last nite, and brushed her top teeth today but avoided the broken teeth). I flossed her tonight, avoiding the center teeth. In pain tolerance, at least, I’m happy she takes after me.