Friday, January 27, 2012

(not so) Pearly Whites

As you've all figured out by now, I've got issues.  BIG issues.  One of my biggest issues has ALWAYS been TEETH.  I kind of obsess about my own teeth... I want them straight, white, clean, perfect.  Lately I have been wrastlin' (HA!) with these over-the-counter, drugstore teeth whitening kits like a fiend.  Returned 3 of them so far (they made me gag & damn near barf), but I think I finally found a keeper ~ White2Nite.  Easy peasy & NO, I don't work for them (!), but it's natural (supposedly) & I think it works!  If not, I'll just fake-whiten them in Photoshop from now on.  Shhhhhh...

So you'd think I'd also be a nutjob about flossing.  And you would be sorely mistaken.  I HATE to floss.  I floss like twice a year after corn-on-the-cob and popcorn.  That's about it.  I mean it, it's PAINFUL for me to floss -- physically & emotionally.  I don't like the smell of it, it hurts my gums, they bleed, and that fake-minty-that-really-doesn't-cover-up-the-horrific-smell-of-the-shit-that-comes-out-from-in-between-my-teeth floss cuts into my fingers, and I either pull off wayyyyy too much or not even close to enough of it, and did I mention the smell?!?!?  I'm so flustered by the end of this 5 minute ordeal  ~  brushing, flossing, dry-heaving because of the smell (that smell is VILE!), spitting blood, tongue scraping (ha!), bitching about it, and then trying to cover up the blood/bacteria (?) taste in my mouth by drinking something that just counters the whole damn process that my ass is completely worn out.  Flossing is BULLSHIT.  (But I know it's important, and I'm told that the more I do it, less nasty stuff will reside between my super gorgeous teeth and the tourniquet will no longer be needed around my neck to stop the intense gum bleeding.  So, I'm workin' on it...sort of.)

And I won't lie, I like a man with a nice grill, too (Scott, you got it goin' on!).  I don't care what means it takes to achieve this either.  Braces, those old school, hard, colorful plastic/wire retainers (I'm totally sportin' 2 of those bad boys once a month week... sexyyyy!), the new-fangled clear numbers, Zoom whitening, veneers, grillz, flippers (I MUST stop watching that trainwreck show Toddlers & Tiaras!!), or maybe you're just oh-so-blessed to be born with a beautiful smile... whatever.  I JUST DIG NICE TEETH. 

I am equally consumed with my kids' teeth.  Don't EVEN get me started on Cal's teeth issues (refusal to pull them, refusal to brush near a tooth that is loose, blah blah blah -- threats worked well with him!).  But the BIG problem began years ago when we had Claire & realized she had special needs.  Due to my "issues," I made a vow early on about Claire: 
1.  I will NEVER take her out without her being dressed like a damn child model with perfectly styled hair.
2.  I will NEVER let her have bad teeth.

Not sure why I associated the opposite with "special needs" in general, but for some reason, I did. 

And that is when the Special Needs Parenting Gods sought me out & struck me the F down.

Yep.  I figured out pretty damn quick that there would be PLENTY o' times my girl was all of the above -- dressed shittily (is that a word?!), hair a hot mess, and sportin' far-from-"beautiful" chompers. 

Oh yes.  I gave up those "I will NEVER's" in a hurry.  Here's why...

OK, so roughly 5-ish years ago, we noticed that Claire was developing some black staining on her teeth.  We feverishly brushed (against her will), tried to loosen it, attempted to rectify the situation to the best of our abilities.  No matter how much we brushed, the black staining remained.  At the next dental visit, we asked our dentist and hygienist about this.  They were both completely confused, as this wasn't something they saw hardly ever.  They decided that it was likely due to a variety of factors:  Claire doesn't eat by mouth so her food cannot really act as a natural "toothbrush" (she is 100% g-tube fed), this "staining" was likely bacterial, possibly caused from something in her saliva, and likely it is "out of our hands" as far as brushing it away.  They assured us that her teeth were healthy under the black streaks (seriously?!) and that likely it was coating her teeth and protecting them from cavities.  However, it isn't so great for her poor gums.  Gingi-friggin'-vitis can suck it!

We discussed our options regarding cleaning her teeth.  We basically had two choices:  knock her ass out using anesthesia and clean them ALL up 100% perfectly -- only to have anesthesia side effects & the black staining return within a month or two -- OR -- hold her down, avoid anesthesia, clean them the best we can, and still have it return in a month or two.  The choice was obvious for us. 

So, every 6 months like clockwork, we brave the dentist's office with not one, but TWO dwarves.  And though Lola has avoided the black staining, she has yellow plaque-like shit (for lack of a better word!) on her toofers.  Good times. 

"Black & yellow, black & yellow, black & yellow, black & yellow... yeah, uh huh, you know what it is...everything I do, I do it big..."  ~Wiz Khalifa

On Wednesday in the a.m., Scott & I set off with our girls, completely unsuspecting of the torture "help" comin' their way.  I am not sure my pictures will do the visit justice, though I will do my best to give you an arch-by-arch... oops!  I mean, PLAY-BY-PLAY of the hour-long fiasco. 

Up first was Lola.  We established our positions -- Scott in the chair holding Lola, me standing next to the chair holding the suction device, Nellie (our fabulous hygienist) goin' to town from the front, and Claire passed out in her beanbag.  Let's DO THIS DEAL.  TEAMWORK!
Things started out well.  Lola was playing "sucky-sucky" with the delightful water-feed pick, sitting like a nice girl and behaving, with Claire "chillin' like a villain" in the background.  Nellie, not only the best dental hygienist EVER but also our dear friend, worked her magic with precision and speed on our dumbfounded Mrs. Pocket.
So far, so good... though starting to gently arch her back against Scott's hand in protest (damn hypertonia!).
Pictures ceased here, as things began to get ugly.  Polly Ann proceeded to arch until her face turned red, gums were bleeding, and she was fartin' her brains out.  After near asphyxiation approximately 22 minutes later, we called it a day for our tiniest dwarf.  Scott stopped to stretch the ol' bicep, and I snapped some pics of the switch-a-roo.
"My fangs hurt, and I HATE YOU ALLLLLLLL!!!!"
Sweet, relaxed, flashin' WSD gang signs... that's my girl.
"Wait, where AM I???  What's happening?!?!?  It's MY turn?"
Our girl is terrified at this point.  Notice the rubber gloves, Claire's praying hands, and Daddy trying to trick her with the smug smiles and fake, fingertip-only back rub... make a break for it, Claire!  Shit's goin' DOWN, girlfriend.
Gettin' suited up, still suspicious...
OMG.  OMG.  OMG.  Must!  Escape!!!
Pissed as HELL straight out the MF gate!
Notice the intense stress/strain on Scott's left wrist... sister's hella FIERCE.  Notice my well-timed escape break to "snap a few pictures."  Bwahahahahahahahaaaaaa!
Sympathy cries for her sister... Tag Team back again!
Tryin' to "tapout" ~ mission unsuccessful!  Claire = 0.  Nellie/blood/f'in' sharp-ass tools = 1.
Must!  Retaliate!
30 minutes, one shredded bicep, a skidmark, multiple juicy farts, and some bloody gums/lips later, our girl's teeth are once again SPOTLESS (for the most part) (for another month or so anyway...).  Hells yeah.

Just wish there was something we could do to help them STAY THAT WAY!!!  (And no, she doesn't take iron or antibiotics that might have caused this, and yes, we've tried multiple probiotics to stimulate good bacterial growth to hopefully overtake the blackness, all to no avail, dammit!)  So if anyone has any suggestions, fire them my way.  Until then, we will keep on keepin' on and will love the hell outta our girlies & their sometimes colorful, yet decently-aligned grinders.  And FULLY letting go of our need to have control over things which clearly are OUT OF OUR CONTROL.  So hard, but I think this is partly the girls' gift to us.

I leave you with someone who has much larger issues than just his teeth and who makes me feel a WHOLE helluva lot better about our own situation...  ENJOY!


Big hugs & thanks to Nellie & Dr. Diana Quillin for all your help with our family's teeth & for dealing with all our "issues."  We love you! 


JustPam said...

Waterpiks might help you. I used to be a dental hygienist, so I do floss daily (and if you do it daily, your gums don't bleed because they are healthy and there isn't any odor.) but if you don't or can't, waterpiks would be extremely helpful and are kind of fun to use. You may even be able to use them for your daughters. They are kind of like a sand blaster on a smaller scale! You can adjust the pressure to a level that is comfortable to you and raise it as your gums get healthier. They call them water flossers now.

Hope this may offer some help.

Gwen said...

Thanks, JustPam!!!! Will look into that! Used to use one years ago with my braces (back in the day!)... Will have to check into those again! Thx!!!!!

Janene said...

I hate to to floss too...for all the reasons mentioned. Ugh! Maybe the Waterpik is something I'll look in to too...

Jenna said...

Hi Claire and Lola
My name is Jenna and I came across your site. You are both beautiful precious gifts, and earthly angels. You are both courageous, strong and determined fighters., U are both princess hero's, sunshine troopers, and beautiful tough cookies. You are both so full of life, love, joy, giggles, happiness, and smiles. I was born with a rare life threatening disease, and I love it when people sign my guestbook.

Unknown said...

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