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Why have dental work done?

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 
I just posted a couple of days ago here (has night weaning worked), and I have another question!
I have a sister who as a toddler/preschool child had terrible tooth decay on her four top front teeth--to the point where her teeth were just little brown nubs by the time she was five at which point they fell out and her permanant teeth grew in (she needed braces--we all did--but her permanant teeth were not affected by the rot). She breastfed until 18 months, but then drank a JUICE bottle until she was four! I called my mom and asked her why she didn't have any dental work done on the teeth and was told that the dentist they went to did not deem it necessary. My mom says that the dentist watched the teeth to make sure the rot didn't spread to her permanant teeth, but other than trying to persuade my mom to take the bottle away--my sister was a "sprirted" child, and there were three others to care for, so I guess it was a battle my mom chose not to take up--he didn't want to do anything to the teeth--that they were just baby teeth and would fall out--that it wasn't a big deal. My Mom says my sister never realized she had bad teeth, and when asked my sister says she doesn't remember.

SOOOOOOOO why would I want to tie my baby down or put him under? What is the criteria for making a decision like this? I know for my ds it would be INCREDIBLY tramautic to be physically tied down. Do the teeth hurt if they decay alot? When is it absolutely necessary to do a procedure?

Thanks for listening!!! I feel so bad for my lil' guy...

post #2 of 11
Well, 30 mniutes before our practicly weekly dental visits for my 2.5 year old- I came to post the same question!
I know from reading these and other boards that other families today have taken the same tact.

I also read teh "tied down and traumatized" line- Well, I was able to find a dentist that is absolutly not willing to do this. We have managed to get 4 out of 7 cavities filled- one at a time. The dentist simply stops when Fiona gets fussy. Fiona gets prizes everytime, and can watch TV if she wants, and etc. When Fiona was even more fussy, the dentist gave me a tool to do some of the scraping at home while she was asleep- this worked for some time, too.

So I would at least itnerview a few more dentists before going the route of no teeth filled. And if you go w/out filling- you will need to be extra vigiulant about brushing and etc.
Also, once you have one cavitie- it means you will probly get more due to the germs in the mouth.
Good luck
post #3 of 11
Thread Starter 
Thanks for your reply, smilemomma.
Everything you wrote is what I had thought to be true, but then
I became so confused by my sister's story. Why, given everything you wrote, would a dentist NOT fix tooth decay on milk teeth? I mean, my sister's teeth were, like I said, little brown nubs by the time she was five and started to lose them, and the decay had been very noticeable since the time she was three. This was in the late eighties. The only thing I can think, is that, yes it is an infection, but those teeth will be lost, and so if watched, it's OK?It's very strange!!!

So, what would you do if you were in my shoes? My guy has one front tooth that is completely brown behind it, and there are two very tiny spots on two other teeth. Do I stop nightnursing? I already am brushing 2-3X/day. Do you know anything about Xylitol?

Thanks for yuor help!
post #4 of 11
My daughter was an avid nurser- night and day.
Of course, when I brought her in to the dentist who said she ahd 7 cavities-
My first question was Nursing?
My dentist said it wasnt that she was night nursing per se- it was that she is a snacking night nurser- and day nurser/ food. So, she was keeping milk or sugars on her teeth practically all the time.
She cautioned me against night weaning!

Complete night weaning can be dificult, and cause No one to getsleep- (we treid!). But can you talk to your child, say that only every 2 hours, then later 4 hours (or 2 a night or somethign) can he have his favorite snack? This will cut down on the frequency and make it easier for you to wipe his teeth.

Someone also posted about 2 months ago about a tea tree oil wash she dripped into the childs mouth after night nursing so that it might kill some bacteria and create saliva. Although, I am unsure if tea trea oil could prevent the type of bacteria that may be in your childs mouth. We had some peopel recommend hydrogen period wahses- but our dentist says it wont kill the kind of bacteria that Fiona has in her mouth.

The other thign to start right now is swishing after every thign they eat. My daughter loves this- and we do it with water on the road. She spits in plants, in the bathtub, on trees, etc. OUr dentist cautions against floride washes bec. the gum tissues absorb so much of the floride verses the teeth, but swishing in general helps get some food out.
Remember- only after 10 minutes after the take in food, bacteria have already formed the acid/ enzym that breaks down teeth enameal!

Gel floride also should help- if you can get it on. My dentist does reccomend it- since it gets on the teeth more directly and is supposed to bond with the teeth to make it stronger.

Oh- and dont forget dental flossing! At target they have a line from Johnson and Johnson that has dinosaur pattern with the floss teid across it for easy flossing. My daughter has tight teeth, so it is more important to us, but some kids have more gaps.

So, anyhow, My advice would be to start by cutting down on nursing, and go from there. Who knows- your child may be ready for night weaning and really take to it.
post #5 of 11
Thread Starter 
Thanks again for your reply, Squirrelnutkin!
I 'm feeling like going exactly the route that you have suggested--we are going to have his teeth worked on; the decay is just spreading too fast. But we are also going to start becoming super diligent about brushing rinsing after anything goes in his mouth. I'll probably try cutting down the number of nursings, but not too many--he just emotionally needs it so much still, and I am really beginning to believe that while the milk has probably not helped the decay that is present, it was not what caused the decay. He's had bad ear infections where we have succumbed to using antibiotics twice--those syrupy, chalk full of sugar antibiotics. There has been some research showing that kids who are prone to ear infections have more carie-causing bacteria in their mouths, plus I believe my guy has a serious predisposition (his dad's and grandmother's and aunt's teeth are horrible), and then with the antibiotics we just coated his teeth in sugar for a total of 20 days!
OK I'm rambling. Thanks again for your time and advice!
post #6 of 11
To be re-assuring...I got to thinking, there are probably several dental practices that were recommended several years ago that we wouldn't agree with today....so, why pick out this one piece of "let the decayed baby teeth fall out on their own" as evidence of sound advice...
post #7 of 11

less of the DDS...

We've managed to wean ourselves from Doctors. Is it possible to have a healthy mouth without the DDS?

I mean: are there ways of getting our teeth really clean with out dental tools. I hate the arguement over things we just don't agree with (x-rays, flouride, 6 month cleanings (we've worked out going every 9-11 months), etc...)

We're starting a relationship with a new DDS and I'd like to think that with proper can we can see him less.

DH is 34 and has never had a cavity or dental issues. I've had minor work. DD is looking like she may have an issue or two...

What do you think??
post #8 of 11

Is it safe to just postpone dental work?

I posted back in July about my daughter's teeth problems. (http://mothering.com/discussions/sho...threadid=16787 for the thread, but just to recap -- she has four cavities in her top front teeth, and the pediatric dentist we saw told us that we could either have her put under GA to deal with them, or he could drill and fill them without anaesthetic.)

I spent about a month waffling about this. I really disliked both options, first of all. The idea of GA freaked me out, because kids can die just from GA. But the idea of drilling without anaesthetic freaked me out too because I'm afraid of them hurting her. The dentist was not terribly reassuring: he said that you can tell that you've hit a nerve in a screaming toddler's tooth because usually the tone of the screams will change. Also, he said that they might not be able to get all the decay that way but it would still be okay. Smilemama disagreed with both of those statements in her response to me -- first, she said that dentists should know where the nerves are and whether it's going to be possible to drill out the whole cavity without anaesthetic. Second, she said that it really is important to get all the decay. I ended up feeling like I couldn't really trust the dentist I'd seen.

So, a couple days ago I called another dentist. Zollerman Family Dental (I live in Minneapolis) advertises in the local freebie parenting magazine as "no shots, no drills, no mercury." They use air abrasion to take care of cavities. So I called and made an appointment to bring in my daughter. She is almost two (she turns two next month).

Dr. Zollerman looked at dd, but he wasn't able to see a whole lot because he is strongly opposed to prying open a child's mouth or to force dental care on them that they're not willing to go along with. Which basically means that he can't actually do anything about dd's cavities ... for at least a year, probably. And he said that he thought this was okay. His philosophy is, basically, that teeth are important but they're just teeth; it's not worth the risks of GA to treat cavities in baby teeth, and it's definitely not worth the risks of traumatizing a child by strapping them down or having the mom hold them down. He said that most of the adults they see who avoid dental care do so because of really bad experiences as children, and so in the long term, they felt it was more important to avoid trauma.

The way they deal with children is to have them come for regular visits where they don't actually do anything until the child is comfortable with the staff and willing to cooperate. Fortunately, they don't charge for any visit where no work is done. (Unfortunately, they're a 40 minute drive from my house ... out in the suburban boondocks. Sigh.) However, I don't expect that dd will be able to cooperate fully in dental care (even if she likes and trust them) for a year yet (though she's changed so much in the last year, it's hard to say how much she'll change in the next six months ... does anyone have any ideas, based on their own kids?)

I have to say that the general philosophy makes sense to me. A lot of dentists I've encountered seem to have this Teeth Uber Alles philosophy where you structure the child's entire life around making sure their teeth stay healthy. Like, you wean as soon as the teeth erupt, you never feed them anything sticky, you never feed them snacks, etc. (Never mind that with a lot of toddlers, grazing is the only way to get a reasonable amount of nutritious food into them.) So it's nice to see a dentist who feels that it's more important not to permanently traumatize a little kid than to fix their teeth. (And who, like me, is uncomfortable with the idea of GA for something that isn't life-threatening, or at the very least doesn't threaten the child with a permanent disability.)

On the other hand, I'm also freaked out by the idea of just leaving this for a year. (It doesn't help that I can see one of the cavities; I'm reminded of this every time I look at dd's smile.) What are the ramifications of just leaving decay for a while? We have been brushing her teeth with fluoride toothpaste in the evening, and with water in the morning. The dentist we saw said that it would not reach the point of hurting her in a year and would still be fixable. Also, he said that it wasn't true that cavities in baby teeth could affect the permanent teeth. : Smilemama, I would really, really appreciate your comments and insight.

Anyway. Dd liked the dentist and the dental hygienist a lot. After we left, she said, "more dentist!" and wanted to go back So, well. I can definitely see the merit of their approach. I guess, though, that I need some reassurance that I'm not going to threaten my dd's long-term dental health if we just leave this for a while....
post #9 of 11
I just want to foster more open communication between patient and doctor.

Check out the archive thread "why have dental work done".

Hugs to you, Naomi, I know how much you've been going through with all this. I hope you reach a resolution soon.
post #10 of 11

dental issues

Dearest Mothering Friends:

This question may have been handled elsewhere, but what do you say to a dentist who X-rays every six months, uses flouride, and silver amalgam?

I do not routinely take my children regularly to the pediatrician, so I stretch out my visits to the DDS also, often as much as two years, as my children, fortunately, rarely have a problem. I do not like the X-rays, and the flouride I often talk the DDS out of it telling him that they use toothpaste, mouthwash, vitamins, water with flouride.

When they do get the flouride, I often wash their mouth out as soon as possible and give them high doses of calcium ascorbate to detoxic them. As for the silver amalgam, unless the cavity is on a biting surface, I try to talk the DDS into porcelain fillings. This is the best I have been able to do so far. My sister is a DDS children's specialist, and I know that I could not do any better than this if she were my family DDS, as she is very mainline even though she was raised a more natural way.


Does anyone know anything about sealants?
post #11 of 11
Miriam, there are entire threads devoted to each of your questions on the dental archives; I think you'll find what you need up there!

Namama, there is no way to get your teeth completely clean without the dentist/hygienist. The tartar is like barnacles on your teeth; if you brush them, you'll just have clean barnacles. These barnacles must be physically scraped off on a regular basis, or they just continue to enlarge. Preventive care is a lot less expensive and time consuming than fixing problems once they occur, so I'd say y'all are fortunate to need so little of the dentist as it is! It's like changing the oil in your car; do it regularly and easily, or replace the engine head later.

One thing that strikes me about both of your posts is that you seem to feel the dentist is doing things TO you. May I gently suggest that you find a practitioner you are comfortable with, someone who will be your partner in health care? Not an adversary to be overcome, but someone who will help you to achieve the goals you have for your health.

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