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Some Days I Feel Like…”I Just Can’t!”

Oh man. Today is one of those days. I feel like such a failure in regards to my son’s health. Just when I thought things were under control – the allergies, intolerances, asthma, eczema (on top of the attitude and aggression that comes with being a six-year-old boy) – now we have something new to add to our every growing list of issues to manage…dental health.

Tristan, now at six years old, walked away from a dental appointment today with eight cavities. EIGHT!!! Yes, you heard that right. EIGHT!!! Ugh. How did this happen? He doesn’t eat much sugar, and when he does eat something on the sugary side, it’s a healthier version – dried fruit, maple syrup or honey usually. But I suppose all sugar is created equal when it comes to teeth, so fine, there’s that, but he really doesn’t eat much at all. He brushes his teeth twice a day and I help him as well, just to be sure he covers all the bases. But we neglected to floss. That’s probably one of the main issues here. My husband (I’m about to throw him under the bus – sorry honey) took Tristan to his last dental appointment and I vaguely remember him telling me that Tristan should start flossing. But I wasn’t there at the actual appointment, so the message didn’t stick. And let’s be honest, I’m the director of health in this house, so my husband completely let the floss thing slide. Neither of us are big flossers, so it was easy to forget – giving us both credit here – kind of. I know, I know, flossing is essential – trust me, I know that now. But I have never in my 30+ years had a cavity and I was never a regular flosser and I definitely never flossed as a child. Flossing didn’t really become part of my life until I was older and then I became a binge flosser, only using the dental tape right before a scheduled dentist appointment, always hoping the dentist wouldn’t call me out. But other than that I was lazy and forgetful in the floss department. So, to me, flossing was never a big deal. Until now.

So, anyway, we have these eight ugly cavities we have to deal with. And I’m torn. I know we have to do something about them because a couple of the cavities are a smidge away from the nerve. And even though they are baby teeth, there are possible complications with his adult teeth and overall structure of the mouth if we don’t take care of these guys now. BUT, we’ll be adding fillings to his mouth and although we’ll be going with the safer route (composite resin), it’s still something foreign in his body that could possibly leech over time, who really knows that it won’t? Will it create additional health problems down the road? And I hate to put Tristan through this emotionally as well. Will it forever alter his perception of the dentist? I have never feared the dentist because I’ve had perfect dental health all my life – never had braces either. But with Tristan starting off his dental history with eight fillings over four appointments – oh and composite sealants too just to ensure cavities don’t take over all his teeth – will Tristan begin to have white knuckled nightmares about the dentist?

Honestly, I feel so horrible about this. I started tearing up when discussing it with our dentist, who is holistic by the way. He knows a little bit about all that I’ve gone through trying to heal Tristan and he really gets it. And he was trying to make me feel better by mentioning that Tristan’s excess of plague (worse than most adults the dentist has seen) and the cavities and all are likely related to his overall health issues – but it just made me so sad. My poor little boy. Why is all this happening to him? Why haven’t I been able to fix it? How long will this continue? Sometimes I feel terrible for thinking these thoughts. I should be grateful that he doesn’t have a terminal illness, and believe me – I am,  but this is still hard to deal with. It’s not just the cavities, but all the other health issues we’ve been dealing with for so long. I know it’s not the same (and I feel selfish even mentioning any other more serious health condition here – but I did, so now it’s out on the table), but wow, I was not prepared for all this when I signed up to be a mother. I have no clue how to do all this. I’m just learning as I go, like most of you I suppose. And I struggle with balancing it all on most days. Some are more rough than others, but today was especially hard.

So, that’s it. I just needed to pour my heart out. I know I’m not the only one dealing with these emotions and conditions and in an odd way, it helps to know that. Obviously I wouldn’t want anyone or anyone’s child to go through any of this, much less anything worse, but still – I’m grateful for all of you. I’m grateful for your support and for reminding me that I’m not alone in facing these challenges. Somehow we’ll pull through and all will be well. One day. I know this because my heart tells me so.

 

20 Comments Post a comment
  1. julie #

    Jennifer, it sounds to me like a microbiome issue. Improper balance and amount of bacteria in the body is highly associated with skin conditions and dental health. You should grab a copy of Ramiel Nagel’s book if you have not already.

    Think about reasons your son might have improper flora/bacteria. Was he born by c-section or ever on antibiotics, steroids or a lot of other medication? These could make thing much worse. My daughter has similar issues, and she was born vaginally and has never been on antibiotics but has been on steroids for an autoimmune disease. Her baseline issues likely stem from my own improper gut bacteria that she inherited. I struggle with a lot of allergies and health issues that are autoimmune in nature, and it runs strongly in my family.

    She had six cavities at her last appointment (7yrs old) and she always has tons of plaque. Same as you, we brush her teeth, never drink anything but water, very few sweets, and still, she has cavities. I have never been a flosser and have no cavities. It is not so much about flossing/brushing but about the balance of bacteria in the mouth. I was super concerned about fillings because of her immune system and her allergies (petroleum is a big one for her, she is very sensitive to food dyes and peteolum based products). So far, so good though. It’s been a year and I have not noticed a change. I decided to opt out of the sealants for now, not sure about the safety.

    Like

    April 2, 2015
    • Hi Julie – Wow, our stories sound so similar! No, my son hasn’t been on antibiotics, but he has had several rounds of oral steroids back when his asthma wasn’t controlled and when he had his anaphylactic reaction. And I’m pretty sure my gut flora is very unbalanced and that I passed that off to him. We’re currently working on healing his gut, cleansing his liver and improving kidney function. Then we’re off to remove the heavy metal burden in his body. I’m hoping these are the final pieces of the puzzle. I’m glad things are going better for your daughter. We have found the hazelwood necklaces to be helpful in lowering the levels of acidity in my son’s body – so his tarter has been greatly reduced.

      Like

      April 8, 2015
  2. becky #

    Wow..you dont realize how many of us are going through the same journey(until reading a blog and comments like these)..wish there was a Facebook group or something like that for us families dealing with and trying to heal our kids who have asthma, eczema, food allergies, environmental allergies…as a mom, it’s easy to feel alone and defeated at the difficult times..and no matter how many kids you have and have had similar issues, they are all different, and somehow you get thrown a curveball every time. It’s mentally and physically exhausting when dealing with flare ups that have no easy explanation…thank you for this website as I am dealing with baby# 5 who is 6months old and has severe face eczema due to food allergies.

    Like

    March 19, 2015
    • It really is such a struggle and at least we have each other for help getting through the most challenging times. There are some great FB groups out there. Just give FB a quick search.

      Like

      March 21, 2015
  3. Simmi #

    Sometimes, I regret giving birth to my 4 year old boy when I see him suffering from itch 24/7 or not be able to eat cake at his own party… that he is suffering because of my decision to have a child. I know how you feel when guilt,fear, frustration, and just never ending battle with eczema and food allergies just gets to you….but I think kids see it differently. I still see him playing and happy for that brief moment and I keep hope alive. Everyone gets their share of pain and gain but I think kids are growing up with these issues are stronger, less fearful in life.

    It will make him stronger and better able to deal with problems later on in life. Hang in there!

    Like

    February 22, 2015
    • Oh Simmi – I see where you’re coming from, but we cannot feel guilty. You gave your child life, that’s the most incredible gift! And you’re not giving up on him despite all his health issues. You will get to the bottom of it one day and he will thrive. Hugs! Hang in there! And keep being an amazing mom! Jennifer

      Like

      February 23, 2015
  4. Jennifer, I have a similar story. Just before my son started kindergarten, I decided to get him a full dental checkup so we have a baseline for the coming years. Exact. Same. Thing. Eight cavities!! Like you, we watch our sugar intake and my son is not a big fan of juices and other sweet things. Distressed and feeling like a complete failure, I eventually confided in my friend who happens to be a dental hygienist. She knows my son as a friend, NOT as a patient and when I told her about the eight cavities, she said, “That’s ridiculous!” And what she said next made me feel better: “I’ve been a hygienist for over 12 years and frankly, the only time I will expect to see that is in children in remote communities where kids have poor access to a healthy diet and even worse access to health care professionals. I know your kid and I do not for one minute believe this is possible so don’t worry about it.” That made me feel a lot better. Since then, other parents have told me about the cavities of their children. It seems dentists these days are a bit overly aggressive in calling any dark spot on the x-ray as cavities. Being able to take x-rays has given dental health care professionals earlier diagnostic access to potential problems which was not available to our old school dentists. Don’t worry about it. Keep eating healthy food, and get a second opinion if need be!

    Like

    February 18, 2015
    • Thanks Grace for the support! We did get a second opinion and he does have eight cavities, but only four of them need filings for now. He goes in today for the first set of two that will be filled with resin composite which is bpa and metal free. Very nervous for him. We did go see a naturopath after this cavity diagnosis and she said she sees this often in children with multiple health issues. So, we’re back to looking at root causes again, after I thought we had it mostly under control. Oh boy!

      Like

      February 19, 2015
  5. Hello, I found you while searching for the safety of shea butter and then came across this post. I just wanted to let you know that I healed a very deep cavity naturally on my own with just food. I did this under the care of my conventional dentist, although she was very open to me choosing this option. It wasn’t easy but it does work. I had to remove all grain and processed food. You’re welcome to read my post on it or my about page. (http://stinkykitchen.com/how-to-heal-a-tooth-naturally/)

    Like

    February 13, 2015
    • That’s amazing! I have heard of this, but I want to read more so thanking your for the link. I will certainly check it out!

      Like

      February 13, 2015
  6. KC #

    Had the exact same experience a few years ago with my son. It was AWFUL. When the Dr. came out after his X-rays to tell me 7 cavities it took every bit of strength to not start crying! I was embarrassed and dumbfounded. We brushed twice a day and flossed! We were flossing every night, but we were obviously not getting down to the nitty-gritty so to speak. So I know EXACTLY how you are feeling. We went to two other dentists to get second and third opinions and ended up not having all of them filled. I think we only filled four and the others were put on the “watch” list. Never a dull moment in Mommyland!

    Like

    February 4, 2015
    • Hi KC – Oh no, I’m sorry – I wouldn’t wish the cavities or embarrassment on anyone. Thankfully it looks like we’ll be able to get by with only four fillings as well – all with resin instead of metal filling. Thank goodness! Jennifer

      Like

      February 9, 2015
  7. Dear Jennifer,
    I know the feeling as well dealing with my daughter’s severe eczema. While the last year has been a bit stable due to strong medication , the couple of years before that was a downward slide in terms of health. No matter what I did, her eczema went from bad to worse and ended with hospitalisation due to serious side effects of the medicine given at that time.
    I know how hard it is for a parent to see the child suffer no matter what the illness. I have a good skin condition myself and would give anything to trade places with my daughter in this regard but I can’t. The sleepless nights, But through all these difficult phases what keeps me going is my daughter’s happy smile and affectionate nature in spite of all the hardships that she has faced in her young life.
    Kudos to you for all that you are doing for your children. My best wishes to all of you!

    Like

    February 3, 2015
    • Thank you for the encouraging words Anindita! At least we all know that we’re not alone in this battle for our children’s health.

      Liked by 1 person

      February 9, 2015
  8. Carmen Carrion #

    Dear Jennifer
    I too have experience that feelling a thousand and more times with my daughter Irene, in her case the severity of her allergies and eczema like symptoms have caused so much damage not only to her skin, but her internal organs, stomach, ears, joints, eyes and teeth. The ph of the mouth changes with allergies and medications, and in Irene´s case it has caused alot of damage all through her life. Also becareful with the eyes, not to scratch or rub them when they itch, Irene has developed keratoconos which deform the corneas, so her eyesight got worse. For us Irene´s condition has been a battle with no answers, that never seems to end. For me the hardest part is making the decisions for her and knowing the responsibility of its out
    come. ( many of them have not workout as we hoped, that is the fustrating part). What keeps us going is her determination to live her life as best as she can…..and each morning she wakesup with so much energy…….God looks after her, there is no dought.
    Keep strong
    Carmen Carrion

    Like

    February 3, 2015
    • Carmen, thank you for those inspiring words. Its amazing what our children go through, but they continue on, perhaps even stronger than before. I’m so happy that Irene has chosen such a positive outlook on her condition. Thank you again for your support.

      Like

      February 3, 2015
  9. Lisa #

    I’m so sorry! I totally understand how you are feeling. Just when everything is under control with your child’s health, something else happens! It is so frustrating! I hope all goes smoothly for Tristan and his teeth!

    Like

    February 3, 2015
    • Thank you Lisa. Yes, it is so incredibly frustrating. The constant search for answers is so tiring, but I believe we will get there. Thank you for the encouragement!

      Like

      February 3, 2015
  10. annieboisvert07 #

    Jennifer! This sentence says it all: “I was not prepared for all this when I signed up to be a mother”. My heart goes out to you, I have days like these too!!! Allergies, asthma and eczema are NOT easy to deal with and they are chronic illnesses that cause tremendous stress in all areas of our lives and relationships. You are allowed to feel this way and I think it’s only normal that you do. I think we all do. Hang in there mama, and do what you feel is the right thing to do! xxx

    Like

    February 3, 2015
    • Thank you Annie! It’s so good to hear from a mom and a friend going through the same struggles.

      Like

      February 3, 2015

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