Thursday, June 9, 2011

Jack Visits the Dentist

Oh the dreaded preemie teeth. We were warned about them in the NICU. How they can have all sorts of issues. How the baby teeth can come in looking all yellow or grey because of the large amounts of IV meds/antibiotics given while the teeth are still forming. How they can be brittle. It was with this knowledge that I booked Jack's first dentist appointment. 



Elmo visits the dentist, so why couldn't Jack?

Did I mention Jack has severe oral aversion? That we just went through tube weaning, when Jack opened his mouth to food for the first time in months? So yeah... I pretty much get the mother of the year award for scheduling Jack's first dental visit, when his mouth would have to be forced open, with who knows what kind of instruments put in.

I was so, so, so nervous for this visit. We arrived the requisite 10 minutes early to fill out paperwork. I always laugh at this point. We get to the question "has your child ever had any surgeries or been hospitalized?" The nice receptionist handed me a separate piece of paper so I could write them all down. I had trouble remembering one of Jack's seven surgeries. Sometimes I choose the easy route and just jot down "a lot".

Once the paperwork was filled out, we went back to the exam area. I kept on telling anyone who would listen "Jack has really, really bad oral aversion" and "he gags or pukes when things are put near or around his mouth." 

Then the moment of truth came when the dentist walked in the room. I held Jack on my lap. The dentist and I were knee to knee, and she held his head. She explained that she was going to count his teeth and take a quick peek. I thought "it BETTER be quick!"  With precision, she sticks her fingers in his mouth and forces it open. He lets out one or two huge screams. Tears start falling (Jack's, not mine... although I think about it). The dentist is able to quickly take a peek at his teeth and then we are done. Seriously. In less than 30 seconds. 

Jack did not gag or puke. He was too busy screaming at the top of his lungs, which is a pretty good tactic if you ask me. Get the oral aversion kid to scream so he won't focus too much on biting the dentist's fingers off.

Then I start cringing because I am waiting for her assessment. I know Jack's teeth are off color. I'm worried that he will have to get some pulled already because he has been tube fed, has bad reflux, and goodness knows wouldn't let us get near his mouth with a toothbrush. She says "wow, his teeth looks great. Just great. He has typical preemie discoloration, but no decay."

WOOHOO!!!!!

"Seriously?" I say. The dentist smiles "yep, just keep trying to brush them, and you should be fine. His adult teeth will probably be more white in color, but since he was so premature, we won't really know until they come in."

And that, my friends, is good enough for me. We leave the office with Jack's new "member of the no cavity club" poster and an appointment in six months. The lesson for other preemie parents: find a good pediatric dentist and go for it. It's much less scary than you think.
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12 comments:

Julie said...

Yay Jack! Of course his teeth are perfect! Glad that it went so well...

Babs said...

Awesome!!

Sarah Pope said...

So glad the appointment wasnt so bad. Im also glad to hear the good news about his teeth! Youve certainly made me more confident to schedule an appointment for Samuel.

Emily Real said...

Oh, this just made my day...more good news after good news for you guys! Awesome!

BusyLizzyMom said...

I was the same for Elizabeth's first dentist appt. I had warned them and came prepared if she threw up but she was great. Having a good pediatric dentist is vitally important for a successful check-up.
I did let my gaurd down after her fifth appointment and that is when she released a projectile barf all over everyone/where. I keep my guard up again and we have a bucket nearby and I bring her on 'empty' and so far so good.
What a great picture of Jack on the top of your blog.

Rebekah said...

Awesome! So glad to hear that it went well.

Lindsay said...

Yay! I'm glad to hear it went well. Does Jack have the Berenstein Bears book on visiting the dentist? If not, one will be put in the mail soon! ;)

Jessi said...

Lindsay - he doesn't! Jack's favorite thing in the world is books. Now if someone would just write one about brushing teeth...

Lindsay said...

Oh, I'm on it! Jack can expect a little present in the mail soon. As far as a book on brushing teeth...maybe there is one. I'll ask my dad. :)

Cindi said...

I didn't know that preemie teeth would be discolored. Good thing that your son's are looking great. I wanted to pass on this Mom's Guide to you. It has great tips on how to better care for your kids teeth and even make it fun. I hope you find it helpful. http://www.1dental.com/moms-guide/

Ashley said...

Hmmmm I didn't know preemies had discolored teeth. Guess I better ask the nurse tomorrow if our son might have it too. Thanks for the information!

Richard C. Lambert said...

Looks like a good book haul! I actually need to get to the dentist. But I want to try a new one, and keep putting it off. Hope you have a great week coming up! dental cleaning