That's what I was thinking as the technician brought Annabel into the closet-sized x-ray room and suited her up for her close-up.
This time, it was going pretty well. Even she was confident things were going to be better on this, her third official visit to the dentist: "Hey mom! I didn't even throw up in the car," she said as we pulled into a parking space in the dental office parking lot. "Well, that is an improvement," I admit.
The first two x-rays went well, but the third one that was to show the back teeth was tricky. She had to bite on a stick, and the card flaps of the film dug into her gums. It was "ouchie."
I could feel the discomfort in my own mouth, just recalling the procedure.
Still, though, she was willing to try. She even let the technician attempt five or six insertion variations before we all threw in the towel. She's got a tiny mouth like her mom.
Of course I became worried when the dentist came in with the films ... trumping the usual procedure: FIRST the hygienist cleans and THEN the dentist examines.
Turns out the dentist wanted to know if she ever had a traumatic fall, perhaps when she was a toddler, because the roots of her top front baby teeth were fractured clean through.
I was stunned. How is it possible to have damage to the root and not to the teeth? She kept talking and I kept trying to remember a fall that would cause such an injury?
Was it the time in Maine when she fell off the chair and onto the dog's water bowl? No. That injury was really along her chin line.
Was it at Terry's house? That time she "took a header?"
"... NO! That wasn't it, mama. I hurt my hand and chest that time."
"I vaguely recall her hitting her face on something recently and there being blood in her mouth ... I thought she'd bit her tongue or her cheek though ..."
I just couldn't believe I could feel WORSE than I had about the initial cavity. My little girl had a "traumatic" injury that I didn't know about.
"This isn't uncommon," said the dentist, noticing my alarm. "We just have to watch it to make sure it doesn't get infected and damage the permanent teeth."
Another thing the injury changes is the course of action for her two cavities that are smack dab in the middle of her front teeth. She's not going to have to get them filled now.
"But I want to get the cavity fixed today," said Annabel in distress, no doubt wanting her "perfect princess teeth" to indeed BE perfect.
"They will be fine," I tell her later. "These are your baby teeth. Eventually they will fall out and be replaced by permanent teeth. The dentist just wants to make sure THOSE adult teeth are healthy and when they come in you don't have any more cavities."
"When I am five or eight."
"When you are five or eight?"
"Yeah. That's when my teeth will fall out. That's when I am five or eight."