Tuesday, June 12, 2012
First Visit to the Dentist
I didn't post about it a few months ago when it happened, but back in February, Lo visited the dentist for the first time! Shameful, I know--he turned 2 years old and we had KNOWN he had a cavity for months. But we had not put him on our dental insurance for 2011 (not sure what we were thinking) so we kept putting off going to the dentist until 2012 hit. But then turns out in 2012 we had no dental coverage either, because Jerry went back to school. So we got the joy of paying 100% out of pocket--but also felt the [TRUE] excitement of getting to choose whatever dentist my heart desired since we were not constrained by any health plan list of approved offices. Pros and cons. Anyway, suffice to say we LOVE Lo's dentist. She is a young lady with a couple kids of her own who are about the same age as Lo. Her experienced nature with little kids shows in every detail of how the office is put together, from the colorful, charming murals covering every inch of wall and ceiling, to the monster puppet she lets kids play with (pictured above). Have I mentioned Lo is really into monsters. He loved getting to brush this guy's giant teeth. And there is a bona fide treasure chest at the end of the visit from which patients can pick a toy (pretty good toys, too--Lo got a monster truck on his first visit, and a necklace on the second. Yes, a flowery neck apparel item). Anyway, his cavity still isn't fixed. The dentist said it is only a small one, nothing urgent. Lo is young enough he can barely sit in the dental chair for half a cleaning, let alone getting a filling. So our goal is to wait until he is 3 years old to fix the cavity--otherwise it would likely need to be done under anesthesia. Anesthesia, as in, at the hospital. Yikes. Definitely doing better on early teeth brushing for future kids!! I think that's how Lo got the cavity in the first place--for the first 6 months or so after we noticed he got teeth, we didn't brush or floss more than a handful of times. It just didn't seem like those little teeth could get any food stuck on them, I don't know what I was thinking?? Anyway, after I read in one of my breastfeeding books how ESSENTIAL it is to brush and floss before bedtime for kids who nurse throughout the night, we have been religious about teeth brushing and flossing. I want to add that Lo was NOT one of those kids for whom teeth brushing routine came easily. We tried about 10000 different methods to make it fun and ultimately, it just was a matter of time and him accepting the routine. It was so important to me that we not have a dentist breathing down our backs about the nighttime nursing, so we insisted on good oral hygiene and it has worked great so far! (breastmilk alone won't cause cavities, because it contains antibacterial compounds but breastmilk mixed with other sugars/foods causes accellerated decay). Lo has naturally stopped nursing at night since we moved him to his own bed about 6 months ago, but he still nurses as part of his bedtime routine (after we have brushed/flossed). He also brushes most days right before going down for his nap. So the dentist has said his teeth and gums look really healthy overall. Just that darn little cavity in his very front tooth! It is bugging me so much to see it every time we brush. I wanted to make a point about sharing how breastfeeding alone does not cause tooth decay because I cannot count how many moms I have heard say, "We stopped breastfeeding/nighttime nursing when our dentist said it was responsible for our child's tooth decay." Dentists are experts on teeth, but not simultaneously experts on breastmilk and apparently are not taught accurate information in dental school. I told Lo's dental office we nurse at night, and the only thing they were concerned about is whether or not his teeth got brushed at bedtime. So I was glad to see they seemed on-track with the correct breastfeeding/cavity prevention information.