Detailing the Big Picture

This morning I did well. The small girl’s tooth is hurting, and I needed to tell her teacher about it.

Okay, here’s the backstory: many of the small girl’s baby teeth came through calcified, meaning the top layer of hard enamel is soft in places (like chalk), and wears away easily. The upshot is, regardless of how much care she takes of them, her baby teeth (particularly the molars) are rotting before they fall out. Fortunately, her adult teeth are coming through strong and well-formed, so the problem should not last forever; but in the meantime, she has a chronic problem with her teeth.

Earlier this year, one of her molars became infected. She developed a “gum boil” (where the infection bulges out of the gum below the tooth), which mercifully relieves some of the pain, although causes its own discomfort. The dentist said we could pull out the tooth, or “jolly it along” until it falls out of its own accord. The small girl is only seven, and this tooth is not due to fall out until she’s eleven, but he and I both felt we wanted to keep it going as long as we could. He packed a disinfectant-steeped wadding into the cavity and filled it. After a course of antibiotics the gum boil, the pain, and the worst of the infection had vanished. But we were warned it would return.

Six months later, her tooth has became infected again, the gum boil has reappeared and the pain has returned. So, yesterday, we went to the dentist again. He took us back round the decision-making loop (we’ll have to do this at least half a dozen more times over the coming years), but the original “jollying along” plan still looked like the best. He replaced the disinfectant wadding, refilled the tooth and told us to come back when it flared up again.

This morning, the gum boil has gone down, and her pain is less, but she has a bad taste in her mouth from the disinfectant (it will take a few days to wear off), and it’s distracting her.

As an aspie, I find it almost impossible to pick out those details that are important to other people, especially when I don’t have time to think about it: I’m unable to tell instinctively what someone else wants or needs to know. But this morning, like I said, I did well. We had already arrived in the playground before the small girl asked me to speak to her teacher. With no time to prepare, my brain wanted to tell the whole story, as above (because that’s actually much quicker for me than weighing up individual points and trying to second-guess how much value the small girl’s teacher will attach to them); but I stopped myself. Despite the whirling explanation in my head, I managed to say only the words in bold. Didn’t I do well?!


4 thoughts on “Detailing the Big Picture”

  1. You did VERY well! I would have struggled not to give far too much detail too for different reasons.

  2. Oh, braces. I think we will have to consider them too. I hope you don’t have too much trouble with trying to keep everything brushed. Not easy.

  3. I think you did fantastic!
    My Em has the same thing, soft enamel, except that her adult teeth do as well, so we are vigilant about flossing and brushing twice a day. Now we are having to discuss braces, that’s a whole other set of worries and conversations!

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