“Mom, I keep wigglin’ it and wigglin’ it but it won’t come out,” my daughter said. The “it” in question was my daughter’s last baby tooth, and it was determined to stay in.


 

“Mom, I keep wigglin’ it and wigglin’ it but it won’t come out,” my daughter said.

The “it” in question was my daughter’s last baby tooth, and it was determined to stay in.

The problem was, the grownup tooth was already growing in above the baby tooth, so the grownup tooth had nowhere to go except off to the side. The result was my daughter had two rows of teeth, like a shark. Not a particularly good look for a young girl, or any human, for that matter.

I let her have a go at it for another week, but ultimately, it was decided that a trip to the dentist was in order.

“How are they gonna get it out?” she asked nervously.

“They’re gonna YANK it out,” my son said gleefully.

“Not really helpful,” I hissed at him. My daughter looked appropriately traumatized.

“They’ll numb it with Novocaine, and then they’ll remove it gently,” I assured her.

“Yeah, but first they’ll stick a big NEEDLE in your gums to numb it,” added my son gleefully.

“Keep it up and I will remove your teeth without Novocaine,” I warned him. Unfortunately, though, what he said was the truth. I had just hoped to keep the needle part and the yanking part a secret until the actual moment of needling and yanking.

As someone who has had my share of teeth traumas, I know what it’s like to suffer from Toothayankaphobia. Empathizing with my daughter, I decided there was really only one way to prepare her for the dentist: lie.

“Don’t worry, sweetie,” I told her in the car on the way to the dentist. “It won’t hurt and it will be over in a second.”

“Really?” she asked hopefully.

“Oh sure.” I said. “No big deal.”

The dentist, however, was not as confident. After peering in my daughter’s mouth, he concluded that the stubborn baby tooth was going to need a bit more persuasion to come out than your typical extraction. This meant a bit more Novocaine, a bit more needling and a bit more yanking.

This being the case, I decided there was really only one way to prepare her for the procedure:

Bribery.

“OK, sweetie, remember how I told you this wasn’t going to hurt and it would be over in a second?”

“Yeah … .”

“Well, I lied. It is going to hurt a little and it’s going to take a little longer than a second.”

“WHAT?!” she yelled as she started to get up from the chair.

“But the good news is, the Tooth Fairy gives you more money for the ones that are yanked out.”

“How much more money?’ she asked suspiciously. The dentist sat poised with the Novocaine needle hovering behind his back.

“Well, the Tooth Fairy is open to negotiations,” I waffled. Like any good poker player, my daughter sensed my weakness and jumped in.

“Five bucks and an ice cream cone,” she demanded.

“Two fifty, no ice cream.” I said.

The dentist whipped out the needle and began shooting up the Novocaine.

“OW, OW, OW!” screamed my daughter.

“OK, OK, five bucks,” I jumped in.

“Don’ fawgeth the iyth cweam,” she said as the Novocaine kicked in.

“Fine,” I caved.

“All done,” said the dentist moments later, holding up the tooth. My daughter grinned.

“That wath nuthin,’” she said.

Yuh-huh. Tell it to the Tooth Fairy.
 
Tracy Beckerman’s book, “Rebel without a Minivan” is available online at www.rebelwithoutaminivan.com and Amazon.