Wednesday, 1 September 2010

My Child Needs Six Teeth Extracted- Does that make me a Bad Mother?

 I LOVE MUM by Lyla & Mya. 

That's the question I was left mulling over as I left the hospital dentistry department this afternoon.

I would say that I was shocked, but actually I wasn't.

Mainly because having an autistic child has pretty much depleted my shock gene: Oh look, she's just smashed a window/set fire to the carpet/sparked the TV by pouring milk on it/ given me a black eye/climbed out of a third storey window (all of these have happened to me, some on the same day), that my reaction to them has diluted into a shrug of the shoulders and 'Oh well', plus or minus a few expletives.

Did I ever write about how much I enjoy swearing?? I find a few mental **** or ****s always give me an inner chuckle and are excellent stress relief. Whatever gets your through,  swearing to me is as crack-cocaine to Amy Winehouse etc

Anyway, I digress.

Why does my child need SIX teeth extracted? Yes, you read that right. SIX. Really, SIX.

Well, she has autism. Part of this manifests itself as compulsive behaviour. Lyla is obsessed with eating, this is a sensory issue is something she can't help. She is clever and likes to steal food and hide it when I'm not looking. I will routinely find little bowls of frozen peas/ cranberries or Bran Flakes tucked down the side of the sofa. Or bottles of orange juice stashed under her pillow. Last week I she took a ladder to my highest cupboards and pulled down the sugar jar and ate the whole lot with a tablespoon. There must have been over 1lb of sugar in there.

I was worried, not only from the tooth perspective, but also because I thought she might have induced some kind of lethal sugar-rush in her body.

So, compulsive sugar-seeking + difficulty brushing teeth = 6 extractions under general anaesthetic = Fail.

Bit of a no-brainer, but I'm really sad for Lyla as this will affect her long term as is something we have little control of.

The dentist asked me why I couldn't explain to her not to do it.

Sighing, I offered her the opportunity to waste her own breath 'explaining' this to Lyla. After the sermon was over,  Lyla replied 'Oh hell, why do people keep talking AT me'..............a sentiment, I couldn't help but agree with.


Some of you might have noticed that I haven't been posting as regularly as usual. The abridge reason is that I have been suffering from stress. Normal service will be resumed shortly.


  1. NO to the bad mother because I have exactly the same issues you do and I fully expect I will face the same situation one day. Even though I know it is a strong possibility I also know there is only so much I can do if I want to keep all my fingers! Jen (hope you are ok and stress becomes less)

  2. Thanks Jen- trying to hold mind, body & soul together!:) I spoke to an autism professional about it last week and she said it happens all the time....autism has such far-reaching effects...

  3. No you're not a bad way. No-one who hasn't dealt with autism can understand what it is really like: hope it gets better for you soon x

  4. Thanks Blue Sky- it's very true :)

  5. You never know, she might have needed several teeth out even if she hadn't been at the sugar etc. As a kid I remember having 4 teeth out in one go and I used to brush my teeth twice a day!
    I have to admit that I sometimes don't bother to waste my breath too. We've only recently found out that Nipper is on the spectrum but ages ago I stopped trying to explain to my mother that Nipper just doesn't understand certain stuff.

  6. Good point Tilly, have to admit mine weren't all that hot!

    I'm constantly trying to point out to other adults (and mostly wasting my breath) that just because Lyla can understand individul words doesn't mean she gets the gist of a conversation or will remember it, gah!

  7. Not only are you a great mum, but you're a f***ing great mum!! Thought I'd swear a bit for you to help the stress level, dahling.

    We'll be here whenever you post, Rachel :)

  8. Oh your post could have been written by me! The sugar eating, the bowls hidden behind...well anywhere! My son is nearly 14 and despite having a very nasty tooth abscess a few weeks ago, will still not clean his teeth, even though the dentist also gave him a 'talking' to. As you say it is just wasting breath sometimes and people just do not understand unless the have a child with ASD as well. I can SO relate to the STRESS issue and really feel for you.

  9. ah, the sugar! My dude could munch his way through a mountain of it...and surprise surprise he had 3 extractions under GA last year and now has another cavity. We try to brush his teeth, but all he really does is chomp down on the toothbrush.
    Guilt is a waste of time and energy.
    You're a feckin great mammy!!!

  10. Not a bad mother at all. What a stupid dentist, like you wouldn't explain that to her if there was a way she'd understand. *sigh*
    *hugs* xx

  11. Sweetheart - please don't beat yourself up about this. You have enough on your plate.
    I am in the dental field and yet my daughter needed 4 fillings the other day!!!!!! And I have total knowledge about how to prevent this! So I should be feeling guilty, not you.
    It is so hard sometimes to control what some kids eat. My daughter would run over hot coals to get sweets, my son wouldn't even cross the room. All you need to do is learn from this so that her adult teeth aren't affected. I have taken simple steps like no juice, biscuits or sweets in the house (only because they seem to get so many when we are out and about!)
    Please don't worry about what the dentist said, they are under an obligation to give advice on diet/brushing etc. When you are feeling guilty, any advice just sounds like judgement! Whatever you think though, the dentist has always seen far far worse and Lyla's teeth are probably not the worst she has seen even that day.
    Best wishes.

  12. Rae, gosh. Had dentist with G recently but just a couple of fillings. It's given me a warning though. Don't worry. When we get back to it, we will think of some fun things to do (that don't involve sugar ;)

    Thinking of you,


  13. So interesting to hear your comments, makes me feel a bit better to know that I'm not alone (thanks Serenata!) Marilyn and Jean...and 50s housewife,on reflection, it's true about the dentist, it was just a bit of a shock for me.....and thankyou to Gwynnie B & all my sisters-in-swearing, Fuck It!!!!!

  14. Hope you are feeling more like yourself soon, as for the teeth, its not like you have actively encouraged her to eat a 1lb of sugar, that would be different! These things happen and as you know, many things happen which you have little control over and cant always see coming.

  15. Thanks Super! T'ain't easy is it, I've finally calmed down after another mum told me her poor kid had to have 12 out :(

  16. Just catching up on your blog. Reading some of your tips for autism and finding other mums of autistic children and looking for information. S was diagnosed at the beginning of the year and so far I've done neither!
    Would love to meet you and chat at The MADS. Are you bringing the children?
    Oh and no you're not a bad mum at all!!! S has an addiction to orange juice and is always helping himself. I've given up trying to tell him not to! x

  17. Hi there Rachel, you are in no way a bad parent!

    I hope you manage to get the stress under control, I know we have slightly different circumstances regarding our childrens problems, but I have some bad periods myself due to everything going on. Raising kids is hard enough work but add on the HUGE stress of a disability and it's a whole new zone of stress. If you ever want to talk it out, pop on over.

    ps should you wish to accept I have given you a blog award, pop over to lungs behaving badly to collect.

    Take care and I hope things get easier.


  18. I had lots of teeth extracted as a young child. Some kids just have weaker enamel. I did eat too many sweets too, I'm sure. My adult teeth are much stronger, though I do have a few fillings!

    You do what you can, and there are worth things in life than cavities. Hope Lyla is feeling OK now.

  19. All kids love sugar - you're a great Mum. Your child having teeth out has nothing to do with that. I hope you start to feel better and that your win at the MADS was the start of fabby new newnessy nice new stuff ;)

    Becca x

  20. a lot of teeth!

  21. I don't think having your child's six teeth to be extracted makes you a bad mother. In fact, it makes you a really great mother, because you are ready to face the struggles your child is experiencing right now and because of your strength, your child become stronger. I also teach my kids to be strong especially when going to some dentists in Raleigh and have their teeth get fixed. Dentists in Raleigh, NC make their patients feel comfortable and at ease by motivating them all the time.

  22. My DD had to have 6 teeth extracted at aged 3. Ever heard of the phrase..."The road to hell is paved with good intentions"? This pretty much sums it up. She was born with imperforate Anus and had allot of surgery to correct that. The end result is that she has severe constipation which needs to be managed. As a toddler she was so bad her stomach was distended an she would be sick. She wouldn't eat or drink anything that would help her either. I let her breast feed around the clock well into toddlerhood, plied her with juice and raisins, organix bars etc I used stupid hippy toothpaste (which worked great for my son who has not a patch of decay to his name). I used electric toothbrushes after giving her the lactulose and later found out that my doing that every day stripped the enamel off her teeth. I got her eating/pooing brilliantly, but it destroyed her teeth. If I could go back in time??!!! I will take the guilt of her teeth with me to the grave. But I soon had to realise that cutting myself up about it all the time was doing her even more of a disservice. I now know how and manage to balance her tooth care with her bowel issues. But I do, so hopefully I'm not. She isn't bothered in the slightest by the way. You aren't a bad mother and I hope I'm not too. Bad mothers don't care.

  23. just seen this and funny as today i went to dentist for my son who is severly autistic with a developmental dely age 3 he hs to get 5 teeth exctracted and 2 silver grids on his back teeth this has made me also feel like a bd mum but after the great dentist at the dental hospital i know im not the only one in same boat my dughter age 5 has perfect teeth and my son reguarly helps himself to food/drink as well i think along the way we learn that we r doing the best we can and they love us for that and thats all that matters 0 not any one elses opinion


Related Posts with Thumbnails