I took Owen to a dentist last week that specializes in pediatric care, after getting referred from our family dentist. Owen had chipped his front tooth falling 5-6 times since he was about 8 months old. The last one took the tooth down to almost half so we thought we better get it checked out. Our family dentist looked at it during one of our appointments and said it looked pretty bad, so he referred us to a dentist who deals with broken and cracked toddler teeth every day.
Now to paint the picture going into the first appointment, I had both kids, neither slept in the afternoon, so both were pretty tired. Owen was crying “I don’t want to go to the dentist…”, before we even went in, so the stress levels were rising. Then we finally got in to the examination room and the doctor took a quick look at his teeth while Owen was screaming and said that I’ve been nursing him too long. I was like excuse me! He went on to explain that it is the length of nursing time which he includes, both bottle time and pacifier time. So it is his opinion that Owens tooth weakened so much after having a bottle and pacifier for long lengths of time, that his tooth broke easily! Owen weaned off his bottle before 24 months and pacifier by 27 months. I wouldn’t attest much to breastfeeding because he nursed until he was 10.5 months and never nursed for longer than 15 minutes at a time most days. Needless to say I felt like a crappy mom, there’s Anna tired and crying with her soother in her mouth. Owen with his broken tooth and crying and the dentist critisizing a lot of choices we had made, that we thought weren’t that bad.
The dentist took a couple pictures of Owens tooth and told us the only option was to extract it because otherwise it would get abscessed, infected, etc. We obviously didn’t want to cause him any more pain or issues, so we booked an appointment for the next day to get the tooth pulled. The dentist explained they don’t put him under anesthetics, just a little local freezing and to give him tylonel and advil before hand for the pain. I decided after the horrible experience I had already, that Dave needed to take Owen for the extraction. So after a horrible nap, Dave picked him up and brought him in.
Dave held Owen down as the assistant put Owen into a “straight jacket”, and as the assistant held Owens head still, the dentist took his gigantic needle and stuck it into Owens gums, right after he grabbed the plyers and pulled out Owens tooth. Owen cried as the needle went in and as the tooth came out. Dave said he did well after and was showing everyone his tooth! I drove anxiously to meet him at my mother in laws to bring him home since Dave had to stay in to play baseball, I was not looking forward to having the kids by myself for the night!
Owen showed me the hole in his row of cute little baby teeth and his huge front tooth in a cute little box. Dave gave me the instructions that he can’t have juice for a couple days and nothing to suck on, but funny that the dentist gave him a lolipop before he left, this really irritated me. Like that is going to save the impression and fear that he just experienced! I gave Owen Jello and put him in his carseat. On the way home it became a surreal scene like the youtube sensation Daniel at the dentist! Poor Owen was high as a kite and kept flipping from crazy upset to giddy the whole way home. I got Anna to sleep easily (Thank God!!) and Owen was getting sillier as the night wore on! I thought I should give him a bit more advil so he would sleep through the night without pain, but that was not the case. It made him wired! He was up an extra hour after his bedtime and woke in the middle of the night so I just slept in his bed. I gave him a half dose of medicine in the morning and he slowly normalized later that day. I think now that it might have been harder on me than him, but I do really hope it doesn’t impact him emotionally.
So all this to say, I don’t believe 100% what the dentist said, but he did give me some pamphlets with information that I will share. Knowing that I could have contributed to him losing his first tooth 3-4 years early, I may have done things a little differently had I had this information before. Also despite our conversation and the Dentists accusations, he states in a handout that “If a child uses a soother, it will not produce decay unless dipped in sweet substances”, which Owens never was. We also mixed any juice with 4 parts water and he maybe had a bottle in bed once every 2-4 weeks. I would love to hear your thoughts!
“Tips for feeding
1. Baby should never be put to bed with a bottle
2. After the first tooth erupts, unlimited and prolonged breastfeeding and bottle feeding should be avoided
3. Do not use a breast, bottle or sippy cup as a pacifier
4. Limit snacking on sticky foods high in sugar
5.Do not allow the baby to sleep with you and feed at will or be in it’s own bed unsupervised with a bottle.
6. Discontinue the bottle during the day as soon as the child is able to sufficiently hydrate by drinking from a cup, usually around 12-18 months