West Michigan mom shares son’s ‘first dentist experience’

Easton at the dentist

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.  (WOTV)-  I’ve never really liked going to the dentist.  I’m just one of those people.  My teeth are sensitive and prone to cavities so I’ve had my fair share of fillings and dental fear.  My son started pre-school this year and with that we decided it’s time for the first dentist visit.

As a very involved mom who tries to stay on top of the trends, I knew that many children are encouraged to start going to the dentist as early as the age of 1 or 2.  For my child I feared he wouldn’t be able to sit still or follow directions at that young age.  We were also experiencing behavior issues and I was afraid of him biting or god only knows what else.  So we waited.

In the late Fall my son complained something was stuck in his tooth.  I helped floss it out but noticed a dark spot on his back molar.  I thought it was food but after a little investigation with a toothpick and my trusty iPhone flashlight I realized it was a cavity.  I was horrified.  “We brush every day!  How could this be?!”

 I was horrified.  “We brush every day!  How could this be?!”

I quickly turned to Google to learn more about children and cavities.  My greatest fear came true when I realized he probably was going to have to get a filling.  My own dentist fears came full circle and I could only image how this would go.

I researched and found a pediatric dentist and made an appointment.  I hoped that a place that specialized in kids would make the experience better for everyone, knowing he was likely going to end up with a filling.

On the day of the appointment I enlisted some help from my own mom, knowing having grandma along makes everything easier!  We arrived to find an inviting office decked out in a jungle theme.  Easton loved it!  He ran around investigating everything from the fish tank to the toy area.

We eventually were called back.  I actually had butterflies in my stomach (believe it or not).  My son has already been through a lot with his asthma and allergies and I was now worried about this newest challenge.

The staff was awesome!  They talked Easton through a full set of x-rays which he did like a champ.  I felt so bad watching him gag as he held the film in his mouth.  But he did it!  Grandma and I kept giving him the thumbs up from the next cubby over.

Getting dental x-rays
Getting dental x-rays

 

I kept thinking he looked so grown up sitting in that chair all by himself!   Next he got his teeth counted and cleaned.  He patiently sat through it all, asking lots of questions and wearing some cool shades to keep the light out of his eyes.  I think the hardest part for him was just being quiet and still to let them work.

He did great.  He got a fluoride treatment, cleaning and the whole deal.  He was stoked at the end to get to choose a prize and get a goodie bag filled with all sorts of supplies like his new toothbrush, toothpaste, floss and an animal flossing device.  He proudly held his bag the whole way home to show his dad!

It turned out that the cavity situation was worse than I thought.  He has his mom’s sensitive teeth and though he doesn’t eat a ton of sugar, candy or juice he did have three cavities already.  The mom guilt of that statement is overwhelming.  I’m actually embarrassed to write it and put it out there on such a public forum, but I know we’re not alone.

I learned that the snacking/grazing can wreak havoc on your teeth and if you have a young child you know that it’s so easy to hand them a bowl of something crunchy and let them munch.  So we’re implementing some new rules in our house related to snacking and our daughter will be heading to the dentist before age 2.

Even though the cavities are on baby teeth, they will still need to be filled, which is such a bummer.  Unfortunately due to Easton’s asthma  and his age, the treatment will be quite a bit different and intensive than I hoped.  We’re currently weighing our options to decide what will be best for the little guy.

If you take anything away from this article, early and routine dental care is important.  I wish I wouldn’t have let this one get away from me.  #parentingfail #MomGuiltIsBrutal.

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