Monday, March 28, 2011

Dental Cares and Caries—by Jamie Levine

Good teeth are very important to me; I’d never date a guy who didn’t have a nice smile, and I’ve been blessed, myself, with a strong, healthy set of choppers. My dorky dentist effusively compliments me on my teeth and makes me feel like a supermodel when I come in for my bi-annual check-up. And while I admit to having a vice for sugar, I do try to keep most of my diet pretty healthy—as well as my daughter’s.

Jayda, like most kids her age, is a dessert-queen. She begs for ice cream before dinner, bases her excitement for birthday parties on the kind of cake that will be served, and cries for chocolate after a challenging day. And she does get her share of treats—but in moderation. I never serve her regular soda or juice, buy her single-serving packets of cookies, and take her out for low-fat frozen yogurt when she asks to go to the “ice cream store.” I’ve also been brushing her teeth carefully ever since she had any—as well as flossing them regularly for over the past year or so—and have been giving her a fluoride-treated vitamin for ages. Jayda visited the dentist for the first time when she turned two, and since then, has returned every six months for a check-up. So how is it that now—when she’s not even four-years-old—I’ve been informed that she has four cavities—and possibly more? It’s horrifying.

Several months ago, after our health insurance changed, I left my beloved pediatric dentist and took Jayda to a dental clinic, where our life-altering cavity-discovery was made. The dentist told me she clearly saw four cavities, but that x-rays would give her a better idea of how deep they were, and if there were any others emerging. The wait for another appointment was several months, and we returned recently to take Jayda’s x-rays and to potentially start filling the cavities. Things didn’t go well.

Jayda was a trooper—but she was uncomfortable with the way she had to fit the bite-wings in her mouth, and the dentist didn’t get the x-ray films she needed. They decided to proceed anyway and fill two minor cavities by giving Jayda nitrous oxide, which they told Jayda would smell like ice cream. After allowing her pick out the flavor (chocolate), they laid my child down on a table, and, as she held my hand—with tubes stuck in her nose—I tried to stay calm. So did she. Until the dentist started drilling. Despite the fact that the dentist had described all of her instruments to Jayda in kid-friendly terms, and had promised that nothing would hurt, the noise of the drill and its strong vibrations scared Jayda—and she started crying and screaming hysterically. Fortunately, the dentist stopped; she said she didn’t want Jayda to associate bad feelings with the dentist—which was exactly what I had been fearful of. So we set up yet another appointment to have all of Jayda’s cavities filled while she is under a sedative. It’s a seemingly reasonable solution—but it still worries me sick. And what worries me more is how on earth my daughter got all of these cavities…and how to make sure this problem doesn’t continue when her adult teeth come in.

I’ve tried to stop allowing Jayda to have lollypops, fruit snacks, and other overtly sweet/sugary treats, but it’s not easy. She doesn’t understand that I’m trying to protect her teeth…she only hears the fact that I’m denying her something she loves—and sometimes, something one of her friends or classmates is enjoying right next to her. And I’ve continued my brushing/flossing vigilance. But that’s probably not enough. Some kids never go to the dentist, eat candy like it’s going out of style, and suck sugary soda through straws all day long—and never get cavities. But my kid isn’t as lucky. And it’s awful…and even a little bit embarrassing for me. I'd like to blame it on genetics (and maybe I can, since I never did learn specifics about my sperm donor's teeth), but that won't make the problem go away. I just wish there was something—other than painful dentist visits—that would.


Blogger Cara Meyers said...

The problem IS most likely genetics. My son has incredible teeth...which amazes me because he thinks touching his toothbrush to his 2 front teeth constitutes "brushing his teeth." I asked our dentist what was most important about having healthy teeth. His response was #1: Genetics; #2: Diet and #3: Dental Hygiene. The only conclusion to my son's great teeth are my great teeth. I have never had a cavity in my life (and never expect to) and never needed braces. If my son has my dental genes, it will be one huge headache less to worry about. So good.

12:33 AM  
Blogger coffeegirl said...

Jamie---Nora just finished having 3 cavities filled, the last one included a "baby route canal" discovered necessary as the Dr. started drilling. All were filled with the aid of strawberry laughing gas which made Nora fly...she didn't mind a bit going back for each visit. It was hardest on me that first visit....I can't believe she sat through it with no problems. Miss Olivia? Never had a cavity yet, which is why I found it so shocking at 3 1/2 to have so many! Hope things go well for Jayda! Email me to chat further if you like.

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Blogger Andrea Fox said...

A great idea to have great teeth is to teach your children oral hygiene and make sure to make it a habit for them. For mom's like you its also a good idea to limit sugary foods in the fridge to lessen the sugar intake of your children.

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Blogger Amarant said...

No matter how hard it may be to keep anything from your children, you should still limit the dessert they get because you don't want early dental problems.

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I get dental check ups twice a year, just to make sure.
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Blogger skyshrouder said...

It's not just genetics Cara but also proper hygiene and diet is what makes incredible teeth.

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Blogger jonwilson said...

It's good that you are aware of the importance of tooth care. Many parents overlook this in their parenting programs.

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Blogger Xanae Lewis said...

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Blogger ganawil said...

You are so lucky to have awesome teeth. I used to always go to the dentist to get my teeth aligned and fixed.

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Blogger Margie said...

It is good to know that you take care of your teeth and your daughter's teeth very well. This will benefit you in the long run. Plus your dentist will always be happy every time you visit.

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Blogger George Schneider said...

I agree with the comments. It is always a must for every individual to take good care of his or her teeth. This will make us more confident. The better the appearance of the teeth, the more proud we are to smile in front of many people. It's also a must to visit our dentist twice a year.

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Blogger Jennifer Swift said...

Practicing a good dental hygiene is indeed a must. Aside from tooth brushing and mouth wash, I also make sure to use dental floss to get rid of those small debris that are hidden in between the teeth. It really feels good to smile when you know that you have a fresh and healthy mouth.

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Blogger Jade Turner said...

A good dental hygiene is the secret to a beautiful and healthy mouth, teeth and gums. It is therefore very essential for every individual to maintain good oral hygiene. Furthermore, it is a must to visit your dentist twice a year to maintain and check the integrity of your teeth and gums.

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Blogger Emily said...

I agree with the comments. It is essential for every individual to maintain good oral hygiene. This is the only method to make your teeth and gums healthier and whiter and free from dental caries and infections. It is also important to consult your dentist as least twice a year.

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Blogger Anita said...

Children love candies and you can't really stop them from eating those sweets. One of the best things to do to practice good dental care to your children is to provide a compelling brushing chart. This will serve as an inspiration to start practicing good dental hygiene.

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Blogger Rosemary said...

If the problem is related to genetics, then the only way will be to instill to her the habit of taking care of her own teeth.By the time that she reached her teens, she will be conscious enough to go to the dentist on her own.

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Blogger Unknown said...

My father’s side has a dental genes problem. I’m unfortunate to quire it as well as my two siblings. I wish that my future child will not have a dental problem like mine. I remember my experience when I was a child and that was really painful.

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Blogger Dena Yard said...

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Blogger Unknown said...

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Blogger Unknown said...

We should regularly visit our dentist to have healthy teeth and prevent dental problems. I visit my dentist every 4 months for dental cleaning. I didn’t experience wearing dental braces but I have retainers for minor alignment.

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Blogger George Schneider said...

Genes greatly affect the integrity and the structure of the teeth. If you know that your parents or relatives have poor dental characteristics, then you need to level up your dental practice and hygiene. In that way, you will be able to maintain your perfect smile.

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Blogger Hillary Felt said...

I know what you mean by a sugar addiction. I'm particular with cakes and my las vegas dentist really scolds me something fierce when he learns that I just binged on dessert the day before.

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Blogger Debra Mennins said...

I had a cosmetic dentist marietta outfit my molars with some veneers and do some whitening procedures. My sister on the other hand doesn't even need to go to a dentist twice a year because her teeth are in tip top shape. Genetics can really be a jealous friend.

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Blogger Taylor said...

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Although so much has been said about proper oral hygiene when indulging in those savory sweet sensations, it is never too late to worry about sugar effects on your overall health as well.
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Does flossing help us get a stronger teeth? Most toothbrush can now precisely clean your teeth so why would you still floss?
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We set up yet another appointment to have all of Jayda’s cavities filled while she is under a sedative. It’s a seemingly reasonable solution—but it still worries me sick. And what worries me more is how on earth my daughter got all of these cavities…and how to make sure this problem doesn’t continue when her adult teeth come in.

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Blogger Kevin Durant said...

Your story is heart-wrenching and so relatable. I can only imagine how difficult it must be to see your little one go through all this pain and fear. I hope the sedative works out well and Jayda doesn't have any more bad experiences at the dentist. It's concerning to hear about the high number of cavities in such a young child, but it's good that you're taking the necessary steps to prevent it from happening again in the future. I wish you and Jayda the best and hope for a positive outcome in the next appointment. .Dental implants las vegas

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