Sean and I went to a pedia dentist yesterday for his first Fluoride varnish. Fluoride varnish is a thin protective coating that is applied on the surfaces of teeth to prevent tooth decay. It is used to retard, arrest, and reverse the process of cavity formation.
With Fluoride varnish, the enamel becomes stronger. The stronger the teeth are, the less chance that the child will get cavities. Baby teeth or milk teeth are prone to decay since their teeth are still developing and not as strong as adult’s teeth.
I told the dentist that I am worried about Sean’s teeth because of the white spot I’ve seen. She was kinda surprised when I mentioned white spots. How did you know about that, are you also a dentist? she asked. I said no, I just learned that when I searched in the net. That’s very nice of you to do that, she said. She explained that white spots are the first visible signs of enamel demineralization. Flouride varnish can stop those spots from turning into cavities.
At first, I was kinda worried that the dentist won’t be able to apply flouride varnish on Sean, because he doesn’t want to sit on the dental chair and doesn’t want to be held down. The dentist said we’ll be doing the knee to knee position. Sean was placed on my lap with his head on the dentist’s knees and Sean’s legs around my waist. He was exerting all his effort to escape.
The whole process took less than 15 minutes. Sean was crying out loud, which was good I think because he opens his mouth wider. His teeth were cleaned first with a gauze sponge. Then the dentist applied a thin layer of the varnish to all the teeth’s surfaces. I was told not to give him any foods or drinks for 2 hours so the varnish will not be washed out.
During the consultation, the dentist told me important things about taking care of baby’s teeth. While waiting, Sean played on the clinic’s lobby where there are plenty of toys. The dentist advised me not to give bottles in bed, if possible, if not, I should try to wipe Sean’s teeth with a clean gauze. She also recommended Tooth Mousse, a topical creme with calcium and phosphate that can rebuild subsurface areas of defects in enamel, including white spot. It should be applied twice a day after brushing teeth. Before we leave the clinic, she said we should be back on September for another flouride varnish application.
Since we have to wait for 2 hours before Sean can drink and eat, I brought him to a playroom and spend one more hour before we went to his favorite Jollibee.
I am more strict now when it comes to taking care of his teeth. I’ve seen some 3-5 year olds in our neighboorhood with totally rotten teeth. I’m afraid, and I don’t want that to happen to him. I can’t forgive myself if I’ll be seeing him full of dental caries.
I let Sean brush his teeth on his own, but since he’s not brushing well, I finish it all. But he won’t open his mouth. If I’m alone, I have to wrap him in a towel so he couldn’t move well. If I have some help around, we do the knee to knee position. Sean is so strong, he pushes too hard.
Maybe there are some babies or toddlers who want to have their teeth brushed by somebody else, but not Sean. When he was younger, when his teeth were just erupting, I would use a little brush designed for infants, the one you put in your finger, and then rub on his teeth. He does like it, he laughs as if he’s being tickled. But when he turned 1, brushing his teeth was like a wrestling game. There were only few instance that he didn’t cry or didn’t resist.
We tried almost everything like letting him see us brush our teeth, so he would imitate us. At first, it looks like he’s interested, he would also brush his teeth. But if it’s my time to “take over” and finish brushing his teeth, it becomes a major battle. Sometimes I would say, let’s clean the germs out of your teeth, but still he would resist. We would also sing Barney’s song about toohbrushing but still no effect. He would sing, pretend to be brushing, but if it’s my turn to brush him, it’s wrestling time again. Now that I am using an electric toothbrush, I just let him brush on his own after milk or meal, but at night, it’s my turn to brush his teeth.
I’m hoping that the Flouride varnish and Tooth Mousse would be a big help in arresting early childhood caries. I don’t want to see Sean with cavities and all that, that’s why I have to brush his teeth at least twice a day. I’m looking forward on his second Flouride varnish application after 6 months.