Wednesday, October 1, 2008

The Dreaded Dentist

Okay, so today was James' first visit to the dentist. No pictures, my hands were too busy with him. I scheduled the appointment because he has some white, hard build up on the bottom of his two bottom teeth. I asked the pediatrician to check it out and he had never seen a build-up like that, so he suggested that I take him to a dentist. I found a nearby pediatric dentist who took our insurance and the appointment was made.
The visit went very well overall. Long story short, the build-up was PLAQUE! Of all things! On a little baby (well, not really little anymore.)
I assured the dentist that I don't spoon feed James sugar, I don't let him drink soda from a sippy cup all day and he doesn't snack endlessly on white bread, chips and candy. How on EARTH could he have plaque already??????
He assured me that the only way to prevent plaque build up is by frequent, effective brushing of the teeth. He explained that most foods contain the carbs, which contain starches, which turns to sugar in the mouth, which causes tartar, which leads to a plaque, when it's not brushed away on a daily basis. So, I guess our little efforts at brushing his teeth before bathtime have given way to serious, open-up-I-mean-business brushing TWICE a day. Oh, get this, he even suggests that I start flossing his teeth! Uh, okay, I'll get right on that when I finish flossing mine!
During this visit, the dentist scraped off the plaque from James' two teeth, demonstrated the correct way to brush his teeth (clearly I needed instruction in this area), provided James with a dose of fluoride, and managed to answer all of my burning questions. He had a great rapport with James and handled him very well. I could see his years of experience at work! James did cry some during the plaque removal, but it wasn't a painful cry and honestly, I've seen him more upset when the pediatrician was trying to look into his ears. Soon after leaving "the chair" James was smiling and his usual, charming self. We left the office with one balloon, one toothbrush, one rubber ducky, one maraca and a pack of flossing stick-things. So, overall, it was a successful first trip to the dentist.
Towards the end of our discussion (and my education on oral hygiene) I earned major bonus points (not!) by asking why it's so important to take care of these baby teeth when they are just going to fall out in a couple of years anyway. Apparently, this is not a good question to ask a dentist. I could see his blood pressure rising (this man takes his job very seriously, which I admire, by the way) and I quickly explained that I, of course, knew the importance of good oral hygiene from an early age (Hello, I'm here for an appointment with my son and his SIX teeth) I was just curious on the direct correlation between healthy baby teeth and healthy adult teeth.
And yes, for all of you out there dying to know the answer......
there is a direct correlation between healthy baby teeth and healthy adult teeth. Babies are born with both sets of teeth (52 in all) in their mouths. So, when the baby teeth fall out, the adult tooth is there, ready and waiting to take it's place. If that tooth gets damaged or gets moved, then the adult tooth is messed up from the moment it pops through.
After all of my questions, I was given a very informative pamphlet written by the dentist himself which contains lots of good info and tips about preventative measures.
But, the main lesson of today is BRUSH, BRUSH, BRUSH!


  1. Kalani,
    Saw your post on my blog this evening...I totally remember you! I graduated from Furman in 1999. Religion major, maiden name Stacy Rowell. My husband Michael Owings was in our class but graduated in 2000 on the football 5-year plan. So awesome to connect with you! My email address is am really interested in how you train for races! Running is my sanity, and I think it sets a good example for my boys. Your son is adorable!


  2. You will deserve a medal if you figure out how to floss those little teeth! I'm sure James will be fine - especially since you are already on top of this "issue". Thankfully, Hugh likes to have his teeth brushed, but you sure had me looking for plaque! Who knew?! Good luck and thanks for the tips!

  3. Let me try again. Enjoyed your writtings. Kekoa will enjoy reading them when he reaches my age. His chidrne will get a laugh out of all the pictures and comments. Training for my 2 miler. 45 to 30 mins should be a record breaker!!
    Love and Hugs Dad

  4. Thanks so much for passing this info along! I cannot believe how easily plaque builds up! I've started brushing Benjamin's teeth a little harder. I'm going to have to warm up to the idea of flossing though! Hope we get together soon! James looks sooo cute in all your pictures! :)