Monday, October 22, 2007

Another trip to the dentist

Courage Certificate (Mutigkeitsurkunde)

Well, we were back at the dentist on Thursday. Shantal, Spencer, and me.

Spencer was in for a quick check-up after his baby teeth were pulled a few weeks back. I needed a filling and Shantal had an appointment at the orthodontist (Keiferorthopädin) (a bus and tram ride away since I didn't want to worry about driving to and parking at the 2nd location in Düsseldorf). That was where the fun began. If you've read Tamara's dental post about how much Shantal loves all things dentist related, you can imagine what fun we were in for.

First off some information about the orthodontist. She has a gift. A gift for working with children. It is a joy just to watch her interact with children. They are so at ease with her, and I sense that she truly cares about each child she is talking with.

After two minutes with Shantal, the orthodontist turned to me and said - "am I doing something wrong?" I emphatically said "No. If anybody had a chance with Shantal, I thought it would be you." Through hand signals and head nods Shantal consented to sitting on my lap and while the orthodontist looked at her teeth. The orthodontist needed an X-ray. Luckily we had talked about x-rays at the regular dentist's office earlier.

I won't go into detail, but with a bit of help from the training orthodontist, Shantal agreed and had the x-ray. The training orthodontist said - you don't want to come again and miss yet another day with friends and playing, let's just do it now while you're here. Very practical. I do love that approach that seems to be common here in Germany.

Now the fun part. The results.

The orthodontist showed Shantal the x-ray on the wall and indicated that the two permanent eyeteeth (Eckzähne) were coming in sideways and needed more room to hopefully come in straight. This meant that the dentist should pull two baby teeth and fit Shantal for a retainer (eine Klammer).

This was all said and German and Shantal looked at me rather in shock. I couldn't tell sure if she understood, but didn't want to believe, or just didn't understand at all. She claimed not to understand.

In her defense, the explanation was relatively fast and contained many unfamiliar terms. Add to that that Shantal is the most grown up of the kids when it comes to German. She does the most thinking, i.e., translating, when it comes to German. Not that she doesn't do great, but she has the most struggles with new vocabulary. I would say this is more similar to an adult learning a 2nd language vs. a child for whom most vocabulary words are new and unusual.

At any rate, I talked to her in English but it only took three small words to help her understand what the orthodontist had just said. "You need the same things as Spencer". O.K., that was 7 words, but as soon as she heard me say the same as Spencer, she crumpled up with her head on my lap and began balling. Spencer had two teeth pulled (by grandpa) a couple weeks back.

I spoke with the orthodontist a bit while she made a certificate of achievement for Shantal going through with the x-ray. Since Shantal was still balling after the certificate was done, the orthodontist proposed another orthodontist appointment in 4 weeks. Maybe nature correct the problem. Maybe the teeth will have fallen out by then and only the retainer will be needed. Maybe Shantal will be used to the idea. Maybe a miracle will occur. The orthodontist didn't mention these possibilities, just that it will be better for Shantal to process the idea and see the orthodontist again first. I agreed and we left.

Shantal could barely walk out of the office and said her stomach hurt so bad she couldn't walk to the streetcar. Luckily the streetcar was coming and so we had to run. Then from the streetcar to the bus we had to run as well, which she also couldn't do, but it was too hard to complain and run at the same time. After we got out of the bus she was better and there were no complaints waiting for the next streetcar. I was glad I didn't have to carry her to the car, and I could blame our hurry on the streetcar and bus.

In the car on the way home and then when we spoke to mom at home Shantal was already talking about getting the teeth pulled and doing the injection in her arm thing as if it were totally normal. For a recent cavity, Shantal had general anesthetic instead of a shot.

She just struggles so mightily with new unfamiliar information. I was calm as I helped her through it today though, so that was a plus for me.

1 comment:

Kay said...

Poor Shantal! Give her my love and I hope with time to process what needs to be done, she will go through it with flying colors. Tell her Grandma wants to see the missing teeth when I get there next month.

March 2007