We took the kids to their first dental appointment shortly after they turned fourteen months. Because there’s nothing as fun as holding your child’s arms down while a stranger pokes foreign objects into their mouths. While you take pictures with the other hand. Hello? BLOG!
Teeth are such a hangup for me that I DREAM ABOUT THEM. Of my two recurring nightmares is that my teeth begin crumbling inside my mouth as I’m either trying to communicate or receive important information, and I lose the ability to enunciate. The other one is that I’m in a plane crash and I have to keep passengers calm and triage them by the severity of their injuries. I’m never injured. And at least once, I have dreamed I was in a plane crash and my teeth are falling out while I’m trying to care for the injured. I KNOW, RIGHT?
So you can imagine the underlying anxiety I felt when I noticed that Mateo’s two front teeth seemed to have grooves in them as if they had been quickly stabbed with a ball point pen. And inside the indentations, it looked yellowish. Up to that point, I had believed everyone when they said “oh, kids don’t need to go to the dentist until they’re like two.” But do they have teeth-crumbling dreams? I DON’T THINK SO.
Well here’s what The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry states, in short, First Visit By The First Birthday. In long: “Your child should visit a pediatric dentist when the first tooth comes in, usually between 6 and 12 months of age. This visit will establish a dental home for your child. Early examination and preventive care will protect your child’s smile now and in the future.”
Had we gone when it was recommended, we’d have been there at 3 1/2 months old. And I can honestly say at 3 1/2 months we were still trying to figure out what in the hell we got ourselves into with twins and reflux and very little sleep. So the fact that we got there at fourteen months with pox on Mateo’s teeth is just short of a miracle.
Turns out, by the way, that the two spots are not due to dental caries or poor hygiene. And I’m glad. Because I would have been royally pissed if what we went through to drop that night bottle at nine months (or avoid sippy cups, or not dole out juice, or brush teeth since like forever, or not having given them bottles to sleep with BECAUSE THAT WOULD HAVE BEEN SO MUCH EASIER) had been for nothing!
Apparently it’s just a very VERY (the dentist emphasized) mild case of enamel hypoplasia which in regular people speak means that the enamel is thinner over a small part of the tooth and the yellow part is actually the Dentin. She also told us that they don’t know what causes this in infants, that it is something that began in the womb, and is no indication that the same thing will happen with permanent teeth.
The out-of-pocket $55 for each well-baby visit was worth every dime for both peace of mind (yay for flexible spending accounts), as well as establishing a base for their dental health. For more Q&A about your baby and their teeth you can visits the AAPD FAQ page. Wanna find a pediatric dentist in your area? Check here.