Face First

I don’t have a lot of parenting advice because at least 85% of the time I have zero idea what I’m doing, but please take this one piece of advice from me: Don’t let your kid fall and hit their face on cement. And if you insist upon ignoring this seriously important suggestion, then let me just recommend that you especially do not do this on a Sunday.

Which is what we did yesterday.

After Eli’s nap, he and I were going to head to the pool for a little water time. This kid could literally spend all day in a pool if we’d let him, so it was just going to be a little time for the 2 of us while my husband worked on a presentation. I was probably more excited than the situation called for, but he’s just so damn fun these days and I so enjoy spending time with him.

We walked out the door and Eli started requested to walk with his towel wrapped around him. We made it about 10 feet out of the hallway and he tripped. As he was falling I though, well, I really shouldn’t have let him wrap his hands in that towel, now he can’t catch himself and he’s going to hit his face. And sure enough, he did. I hate when I don’t see the risk until it’s too late and I will harbor some guilt over that stupidity for a while.

He cried and cried and it was so sad. I could tell he was bleeding and was hopeful that maybe it was just his lip tie that tore, but no, the blood was coming from around his top left front tooth. I finally got a decent look and realized in horror that the left tooth, which was previously even with the right tooth, was notably pushed back. My heart sank.

I know it’s silly and it’s shallow, but I love Eli’s front teeth. I find the gap adorable and even the slight protrusion that I know is a result of his dedication to his pacifier and my unwillingness to take away his soothing mechanism, makes me smile. I couldn’t believe I’d let this happen. It took him a great long while to calm down, during which time I remained amazingly calm, and then finally he relaxed and asked to watch Planes and have ice cream. And then while he watched Planes, I had a complete and utter breakdown, sobbed like a baby over the possibility that they’d pull out one of his adorable front teeth. And then I pulled myself together and started figuring out what to do.

I called the on call pediatrician who a) told me she could not help me because we needed to see a dentist and b) chastised me for not taking him to a dentist sooner. I politely explained that we only waited because we asked both our regular pediatrician and our dentist (our dentist office has a pediatric wing), both of which who said to wait until 2 to bring him in, which we are what, 3 weeks late on? And she rather rudely fired back that the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends the first visit 6 months after the first tooth erupts or at 12 months and I was like HI, MY CHILD’S MOUTH IS BLEEDING AND MY TIME MACHINE IS BROKEN. I am seriously still livid over this. He’s 24 months old, he’s not been to a dentist, which is not something I can fix right now and he may have damaged one of his teeth. What about this seems like the time for a lecture?

Anyway, 25 calls later and guess what, there are no emergency dentists that see kids on Sundays. There just aren’t. So we went to our ER where they have an emergency dentist, and then realized it was going to be 10pm before we saw him and so we left. Eli wasn’t in any significant pain (he ate dinner without issue, though we didn’t let him bite into anything) and was pleasant all evening. He even would’ve probably slept through the entire night had one of his window alarms not broken at 2am, causing it to start shrieking 12 inches from his face.

Sidenote: this particular incident was kind of a hilarious shit show. I heard the alarm on the monitor and knew what it was and that it was probably malfunctioning and not someone breaking in. Sometime between when I fell asleep and when the alarm went off, in a pregnancy induced hot flash I had apparently shed my shirt. As I was getting up to run into Eli’s room, grabbed what I thought was my shirt from atop the laundry pile, but was instead a pair of my husband’s (clean) underwear. So I’m running across the living room trying to put on underwear as a shirt, quickly and oh, I almost wish I could’ve seen it, except not at all. Thank God the house was dark. I think I might have traumatized my toddler more with my giant nakedness than with the window alarm. Thank goodness my husband came with me and helped calm Eli down while I tried to modesty patch myself with the underwear.

Anyway, we went to a dentist this morning who basically said that because Eli’s pacifier use had caused his front 2 teeth to protrude, falling had really just knocked that tooth back into proper alignment and it would probably be fine. It might discolor, but should re-whiten and mostly we just need to watch out for future abscesses, which would necessitate extraction. He has to go back next Wednesday when hopefully the swelling will be down, to have an x-ray (also when his dad can come since I can’t hold him down for an x-ray unless I want his brother to have 12 heads) to make sure the root isn’t damaged. Also, we found out Eli doesn’t have dental insurance, so yea. Good times for all of us. He’s on a soft foot diet for a week and was pretty crushed about having pancakes for dinner tonight.

So like I was saying, don’t let your kid fall on their face and especially not on a Sunday. And especially not when you’re pregnant because this weekend is what alcohol was made for.

6 Responses to “Face First”

  • You know what, pediatrician recommendations about going to the dentist are all over the place. And you know what they do when you take them when they’re one? Count their teeth. Give them a toothbrush. Send them on their way. (Someone is going to tell me that they’re checking for something important while counting, and FINE, maybe. Whatever. That pediatrician was fighting that battle at the wrong time.)

    Glad he’s okay. Of course it happened on a Sunday. Of course it did.


    Katie Reply:

    @Megan, Yea. Our visit with the dentist for this lasted approximately 30 seconds. I would love to see them try to put a vibrating toothbrush in my child’s mouth. I’m pretty sure that they’d pull back a bloody stump.


  • I’m pretty sure if I was in that conversation with the pediatrician I’d have said “thank you so much for your recommendation that I get my child to a dentist. I will do that as soon as I find him a new pediatrician.”

    FYI, my oldest didn’t go to the dentist until she was 3 1/2, because there wasn’t a pediatric dentist where we lived and our pediatrician never said anything about it. Her teeth are fine. I’m sure Eli’s will be too


    Katie Reply:

    @lonek8, It’s funny because I’ve really liked this pediatrician in the past. She’s been very compassionate and maybe I caught her in a bad moment on her weekend call, but I just don’t understand why she felt that was a reasonable argument to have at that point in time. I’m baffled. Good thing our insurance changes in 27 days.


  • Chelsie:

    I’m not a dentist, but I am an RDA practicing with a large pediatric group in my area. We see a lot of this kind of injury (luxation of maxillary anterior teeth) in the summer because that’s when kids are more active in sports and outdoor activities. The prognosis in these cases is generally pretty good when there is no root fracture and infection does not develop.

    We recently saw a kiddo about Eli’s age who bonked their head on the sidewalk and completely displaced a front tooth upward into the gingiva(!!!) to the point where there was no tooth structure visible upon oral exam. 6 weeks and no extreme measures later, the tooth is re-erupting normally and we’re confident it will survive until it is ready to exfoliate naturally. Kids are amazingly resilient.

    I agree with the advice your dentist gave you, with the caveat that you might also consider limiting the amount of time Eli has the pacifier in his mouth during his recovery. The pressure the pacifier puts on his teeth may slow down how long it takes the tooth to “tighten” back up within the socket. Same thing goes for sippy cups with straws and other things that he likes to suck on often.

    I’m glad to hear he’s okay, though! My kid did a faceplant straight into our tile floor not long after he got his two bottom front teeth, and I imagine my reaction was a lot like yours. Crying (mostly mine) and pleading with the tooth-y Gods to just let my baby be okay. Also, that pediatrician was mean. Screw her. You did the right thing seeking treatment immediately!


    Katie Reply:

    @Chelsie, Thank you so much for the suggestions! Eli only usually gets a pacifier at nap and bedtime (and it usually falls out within the first 5 minutes of sleep…) and for occasional long car rides, but we will definitely try to limit it for now. I wish we had weaned him off of it a while ago, but he loves it so much (I had one until I was 3, our pediatrician and our dentist said 3) and now that the baby is coming in like 2 months, it would be a train wreck to try to get rid of it now.


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I'm Katie, a 30-year-old, wife, mom, former teacher-turned PT, who also had brain surgery in November of 2007. This blog chronicles my daily life, from mundane to crazy, often with far too much detail. Sit down, get comfortable and stay for a while.
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