Friday, February 24, 2012

Baby teeth. I had no idea they could be so complicated.

I'm taking a little NAK (nursing at keyboard) blogging break. Robert is asleep and I don't want to wake him up. I also want to write a little about our day yesterday.

It was the girls' first trip to the dentist. Suzi is 4, Ivey is 2. Yeah, I know you are supposed to have them seen by the first birthday. We didn't get around to it until now for various reasons. One is that I have serious trust issues with dentists I don't know--and I don't think I am wrong there.

But before I get into all that--something good happened before we left for our appointment. Robert's first tooth popped through! It's one of the bottom front ones. I had been wondering when it would finally happen and am excited for him. I'll try to get a picture later. We thought good things were happening for us tooth-wise yesterday and headed off to the dentist trying not to get too stressed.

We had picked (we thought) the very best pediatric dentist in our area and drove way out of our way to get to him because we wanted to be certain that our kids' first dentist experience was awesome. And their experience was. This guy has indoor play equipment in his waiting room that's better than the one at Chick-Fil-A. TVs all over the place. Expensive toys. More importantly, all the people working there seemed to be very good with little children and made the girls feel at ease as much as possible during the visit. I went back with Ivey and Jordan went back with Suzi. Ivey did great. She sat in my lap and had her teeth cleaned, and they said they didn't see any problems, just to be sure to floss a couple times a week and brush carefully along the gumline.

But Suzi. Well, she had x-rays. They aren't even very clear x-rays because she had a hard time biting down on the bite-wings and moved some while they were taken. But there were cavities. Extensive work was recommended. The dentist didn't really talk it over with us--the hygienist did, in sort of a hurry. We were floored because she has had zero problems with her teeth. No pain, no chipping, no obvious discoloration. We went to lunch, talked it over a bit, and decided to get a second opinion. We went back to the office to retrieve her x-rays and are taking them to a local dentist Tuesday.

It's hard to describe how awful this feels on about five different levels. I am really, really not into the idea of putting Suzi through a bunch of dental work she doesn't absolutely need. It would be a different story if she were having pain or something, but these are perfectly functional teeth! I've read a little about what they are proposing, and complications sometimes arise. And I know Suzi. It would scare her. The last thing I want is for her to be scared to go back to the dentist when she is older, but that is exactly what has happened to many of the adults in my family, including myself at times. While we wait for things to become a little clearer, we are changing our diet and starting supplements (as a family) that will hopefully halt the decay if not reverse it. Many people believe this to be possible and have experienced success, and I have to try. Suzi is a pretty picky eater, and I'm not at all surprised to find that her diet is deficient in certain areas. Luckily she loves butter, milk, and cheese, and these are several foods which are highly recommended when made from nutrient-rich milk of grass-fed animals.

There are several good places to shop for raw dairy products in our area. Our chiropractor carries raw milk, and there is a wonderful goat farm not too far from here. My mother, who of course wants to help, has agreed to spend a day with us every week or two driving around and picking up products at all the spread-out places we will now have to do our grocery shopping. I am not a good cook but I'm going to have to learn.

This issue is so much deeper than tooth enamel. Suzi is my first. I had her in the hospital. It makes me sad every time she asks to hear that story, which is beautiful because it ends in me holding a perfectly wonderful baby girl, but also contains hurt and regret for me. I allowed things during that birth that may have hurt my daughter and our bond. I did not want to ruffle feathers, so I did not push back or question hard enough. I should not let this ridiculous compulsion to people-please keep me from advocating fully for my daughter. She is mine and Jordan's to take care of. When she is an adult, Jordan and I will be the ones looking at her quirks, problems, and hang-ups and asking ourselves if we could have maybe handled certain things better. Not some (undoubtedly filthy rich) dentist. Not some OB or pediatrician.

I need to be a Mama Bear sometimes. Not everyone has to like me or agree with me. I need to remember these things and be the strongest possible advocate for Suzi.

I'll probably write an update on this soon. If you have had similar dental issues and wouldn't mind sharing how you handled them, please do. I would love to hear your experiences!


Monica said...

I really understand a lot of the things in this post. Eliot is five and has not yet been to the dentist... I have major dentist phobia myself because of needing a lot of work done as a kid. I am sure there is a way to prepare your daughter so that she doens't end up traumatized! I hope someone can give you good advice on that.

I am interested in hearing more about diet and teeth. We will be starting up raw milk as soon as the weather is pleasant enough for me to get in to the market with three kids in tow.

You can buy a product called high vitamin butter oil which is supposed to really help with teeth and general health, especially when taken with fish oil.

Jenny said...


If we end up needing to get dental work done, I plan on checking around and seeing what is offered relaxation-wise at a couple of other offices. A friend told me yesterday that her dentist does nitrous oxide and her daughter slept through most of her extensive work. It was hard on mom but no big deal for the child. So I'm feeling a little better about that.

I read about the high vitamin butter oil/cod liver oil on a blog, I think, and had been meaning to get some. We just ordered it the other day and it'll hopefully be here soon! We got the combo oil though, and I'm a little concerned that my daughter is going to flatly refuse. We may end up having to do just butter oil and also give a flavored regular fish oil.

Thanks for the comment!

Amber Strocel said...

We have dentists that we love, thankfully. But my 3 1/2 year old's front teeth came in with obvious decay, so I get the issues. Also, of course luck would have it that he's the kid who refuses to cooperate at the dentist's.

At this point, I'm doing what I can for his teeth, and we're just waiting as long as we can to do anything about the decay. It doesn't seem to be worsening, and it's one of those things where if you can hold off for a while, the procedure gets easier. And at some point, it even becomes totally unnecessary, because those baby teeth fall out.

Anyway, I hope your second opinion is more favourable, and I hope you find some resolution and peace. I hope you also know that sometimes, you can't plan the way things go. My firstborn was premature so she spent a week away from me in the NICU. Is it what I would have wanted? No. Has it left its mark? Yes. Is it possible to work through those issues? I believe it absolutely is.