15 Dec 2014

Before You Offer Your Child Another Snack

A few weeks ago we noticed a hole or decay on one of Eli's tooth. Concern we took him to our dentist who referred us to a paediatric dentist who specialises in his type of clientele - young children. Upon examination we learn he had developed three holes in three different teeth and that they required filing.

Not one to really give me child lots of candy I question how this could have happened. Firstly, I was asked if my son grazes? (eats small amounts of food throughout the day). Yes he does. Being a kid with allergies and also a fuzzy eater, I'm always offering him food even if he just has a bite of it. I learnt the problem with that is, when we eat we produce acid in our mouth, and when not given enough time between last time and next time we produce this acid, it can be harmful to teeth especially young infant teeth that are still very soft.

I also questioned whether fillings were required on baby teeth knowing that adult teeth will replace them one day. I learnt adult teeth don't start coming through until the ages of 8-12, so until then they need their baby teeth. And if their teeth has holes now it will most likely get worse over time if not addressed, resulting in further decay and may require extraction. If you remove baby teeth way before their intended time to fall off, a cap is required to stop the adult tooth from coming through. Ultimately it'll be an even more delicate and complicated (and expensive) procedure if left untreated now.

So last week he had his teeth filled. Leading up to it we had to book their recommended anaesthetist for the procedure because Eli is so young, he's mostly likely unable to comprehend that he needs to sit still throughout the procedure, so he would need to be put under local anaesthetic to subdue him. On the day of the appointment he wasn't aloud to have any food at least six hours prior, this included not having any milk. Plus 1.5 hours prior he had to stick these medicated pads on the back of both hands which, for a three year old was difficult cause all he wanted to do was remove them.

When we arrived at the dentist we filled in more forms, spoke to the anaesthetist and dentist about what was going to happen that day and waited for our turn. Forty minutes later and constantly telling my hungry child he'll have food soon, we went in. There was five people in the room plus myself. Eli lay down on the chair and we all distracted him while the anaesthetist did his job. During our brief earlier that morning, we agreed to give him gas as well cause one of the sedation medication contained an egg protein and we were not going to give it to him just in case he has an adverse reaction.

I think he had the gas mask over his nose for like a few seconds, then he said complained that it smelt funny, pushed it off and attempted to sit up. He was swaying and began to laugh at himself ... the gas was working. We all told him its okay and I gently helped pushed him back onto the chair. Once he was sitting again one of the nurses ushered me put of the room so they can begin.

About 40 minutes laters I was called back into the room where Eli was awake but drowsy. I gently started to wake him and we went back into the waiting room for observations. He did throw up while we were there, so the anaesthetist gave him a tablet that dissolved in his mouth to keep him from vomiting some more.

Another 20 minutes later they removed the catheter from his hand and we were free to go and within the hour he was back to his normal self. He didn't complain about any pain or problems with eating so I guess the procedure was successful. I had a look at the teeth they filled and it looks as good as new. It doesn't even look like he got fillings done, such an advancement from when I got fillings done several years ago.

We will return back in February for a follow up. The dentist did warn me one particular filling my fall off over time cause its on the outer surface and a prominent tooth we use to chew. I also learnt we should be still brushing our children's teeth until the 8 years of age. There's nothing wrong with letting them learn to brush their own teeth but, we should then go back and do a good scrub on their behalf as they don't tend to clean their teeth thoroughly.

Hope our experience have enlightened you in managing your child's baby teeth. I know I've realised how important their young teeth are, and realising that it's not only sweets that can damage them. 
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