AIBU to expect the dentist to actually check my son's teeth

(44 Posts)
Wheelsonthebus123 Wed 04-May-16 07:02:12

I've first took my DS to the dentist when he was 8 months old, second visit and 14 months and a third visit planned for next week (20 months old).

On the first two visits, despite me specifically asking if he would check my son's teeth the dentist made a very half hearted attempt my saying "open wide" giving him a second or so to voluntarily open his mouth before saying "I don't want to push it if he's not keen to open his mouth - keep bring him though so he gets used to the dentist" and so I keep getting the appointment fee for zero actual work I don't buy the "bring him so he gets used to going thing". At 20 months I doubt he really remembers going to the dentist 6 months ago and even less so 12 moths ago when he was 8 months!

My understanding is that baby teeth really do matter to long term dental hygiene and that a frighteningly high proportion of children suffer from tooth decay. I've worked out how to distract to get his bottom teeth brushed to hopefully an adequate standard. My son will absolutely not tolerate me scrubbing his upper teeth, so they don't get brushed any near as as thoroughly as they should really. He still has a bottle pre-bed which I've tried and failed to cut-out although I make sure I get a tooth brush in after the bottle before sleep. He also has fruit with meals 3 times a day. All of this make me want an expert to check whether his teeth are OK or whether we need to get firmer with upper teeth brushing and/or the bed time bottle thing. Apart from the bottle and fruit he doesn't have any chocolate/sweets/fruit juice etc.

AIBU to expect him to try a bit harder this time to actually properly check my son's teeth even if it involves me holding his mouth open whilst the dentist checks. What is your typically experience of a dentist visit when they are under 2 and is it in your opinion "good" enough".

MyLocal Wed 04-May-16 07:06:42

I would have thought at this age it is more about the dentist familiarising the child with the idea of having their mouth inspected and that it isn't uncomfortable and there is nothing to fear.

I would also have thought you holding the child's mouth open whilst it was inspected would be absolutely the wrong thing to do.

I remember similar when my children were to tiny.

Maybe a helpful dentist on here will add their comments.

Gizlotsmum Wed 04-May-16 07:07:59

Very similar but we don't pay for kids dentals ( uk) so I am happy that they do a quick check/ get used to appointment. Kids older now and get a full check. No issues ( touch wood) and they can be awkward about brushing. If you are concerned about him not letting you brush his top teeth maybe ask for advice on that on your next visit.

OddBoots Wed 04-May-16 07:08:07

I can understand why you are worried but I think the dentist is worried about setting up a fear in your ds that will far outlast any problems you may have now. If your ds won't even let you have access to all his teeth then a stranger in a strange place would have no hope without using physical force which of course he wouldn't be allowed to do.

When you go to the dentist does your ds see you having your teeth checked? Now he is a little bit older can you play dentists at home and see if you can get your ds more used to it?

Wheelsonthebus123 Wed 04-May-16 07:11:00

If I didn't hold his mouth open, he would never get his top teeth brushed at all, so my question would be would that also be the right thing to do (so not ever brush his top teeth because he puts up some resistance)?

Wheelsonthebus123 Wed 04-May-16 07:12:36

Yes he sees me have mine checked before his "go".

LouBlue1507 Wed 04-May-16 07:14:54

The difference is OP your baby knows you and trusts you. He doesn't know the dentist which may unsettle your LO in the first place without having to then cope with having his mouth forced open and having a strange man poking about in there..

froggyjump Wed 04-May-16 07:15:44

My DS3 never used to let the dentist check his teeth, clamped his mouth shut! but then one time, he just opened wide and let him do it, and has been great every time. Each time we went, he did see the dentist checking mine and his brothers teeth though, so he could see it didn't hurt. Does your son see the dentist do his stuff?

OddBoots Wed 04-May-16 07:15:55

Have you tried something like this? I had the ones you put on your finger when mine were little (they are teens now) but he might be a bit old for those.

BeckysMediocreHair Wed 04-May-16 07:18:56

Whether the dentist looks or not isn't going to actually affect the health of the teeth. Are you simply waiting for them to say "Yes, there's a cavity"? At this age, it's familiarisation and, more importantly, advice for the parent.

You don't need an expert to tell you that 1) Brush your son's teeth. All of them, all around, with adult toothpaste. It doesn't matter how hard he fights. Get it done like you were getting life-saving medicine in him. That fighting won't matter when his blackened stubs have to come out. And 2) No pre-bed bottle. Brush teeth and then nothing should touch those clean teeth. Especially not some sticky juice or milk which will rot his teeth all night.

High childhood tooth decay is for EXACTLY the reasons above. Being precious about chocolate is meaningless if you don't brush and give bedtime bottles. Chocolate and a brush of the teeth is perfectly fine. A mouthful of milk sitting on his soft enamel for hours, may as well book the extraction date now.

FanjofortheMammaries Wed 04-May-16 07:20:37

Holding his mouth open would really distress him. Far better to take it slowly when he is young so he becomes comfortable with the dentist.

I haven't met a dentist who will force a toddlers mouth open, and it's not so they get easy money. Perhaps you should find another dentist if you are so cynical about them.

MyLocal Wed 04-May-16 07:20:52

I used to wrap DS in a towel and sit him on my knee and tip him backwards to brush his teeth. He didn't like it but he has beautiful teeth and no dentist fear. Mind you he is 21 now!

FanjofortheMammaries Wed 04-May-16 07:23:09

And rather than ridiculing the dentist for not stopping the delay you need to cut out the bottles at bedtime and reduce the frequency of fruit eating so the decay doesn't happen in first place.

FanjofortheMammaries Wed 04-May-16 07:24:12

That first sentence was meant to say rather than criticising the dentist for not spotting the decay. Not sure why autocorrect mangled it so much.

FanjofortheMammaries Wed 04-May-16 07:25:17

I wouldn't recommend adult toothpaste at under 2 but fluoride is very very important.

zzzzz Wed 04-May-16 07:27:28

Strange that if you are SO concerned about the child's teeth you are doing so little to ensure they are properly cleaned/cared for.confused
Try to teach your child to allow you to clean his teeth twice a day thoroughly. 3 meals and one snack (including non water drinks) a day, or brush teeth after extra eat/drinking. Is fruit necessary at every meal? That sounds like a lot of acid/sugar.

As far as the dentist goes, I do have some sympathy. It's annoying that they basically play at looking for so long. Unless your child has particularly weak teeth, or poor diet/hygiene, it's unlikely that he will have huge cavities at this stage. Do you think he does? (Pain? Bad breath? Marks on teeth?)

WhirlwindHugs Wed 04-May-16 07:27:58

It's okay for you to make your child have their teeth brushed (i recommend sitting behind him, with arms wrapped in a towel btw, it's easier to reach all the teeth) and the fact that you do, however imperfectly, and worry about it, probably means all is well.

Every dentist I've had has been firmly of the opinion that you shouldn't force kids to open up at the dentist in case you scar them for life and I am guessing they know what they're talking about! Mine have never been forced, just come to my appointments until 2.5 then usually a standing up quick look for a few years until they would consider the chair. Being relaxed and not forcing dentist visits has paid off for us eventually, and all their teeth are fine despite fighting teeth brushing as toddlers and not wanting to open up at the dentist!

WhirlwindHugs Wed 04-May-16 07:31:59

I missed bottle after teeth. Yes, you must cut that.

FishWithABicycle Wed 04-May-16 07:33:00

I know you used the crossing out when you mentioned a fee but aren't you getting this for free? My experience is exactly as yours in terms of the dentist not pushing it at all and only taking a quick look, but this has always been a minute or two at the end of my own appointment, never charged for.

As DS got older I made a big thing every time I did teeth cleaning that these are the most beautiful amazing and shiny teeth in the world, especially the splendid one right at the back that I could only see properly if he opened really wide, and by the time we next got to the dentist he was keen to show off just how awesome this back tooth is.

Ditsy4 Wed 04-May-16 07:33:54

Make it into a game at home.two way practice so he knows what to expect when you get him there. Have a small reward afterwards perhaps a small car in your handbag ready to give ( to use as a bribe) afterwards.

DameDiazepamTheDramaQueen Wed 04-May-16 07:36:25

I used to do what My local did!

Fruit with meals is fine so is bedtime milk as long as you brush before sleep.

FanjofortheMammaries Wed 04-May-16 07:56:20

Fruit with every meal is a bit excessive

FanjofortheMammaries Wed 04-May-16 07:56:54

Hopefully a dentist will come and comment soon.

Misselthwaite Wed 04-May-16 08:23:48

My dentist has done exactly the same with all 3 of my children. Barely looked until they were old enough to comply usually about age 3. The dentists are fab and happy to chat and answer loads of the kids questions and I think for long term dental health ensuring they don't fear the dentist is essential.

Gobbolinothewitchscat Wed 04-May-16 08:25:13

My DH is a dentist. In the absence if mrsmorton, he would comment:

1. The vast majority of decay is diet related - it's best to brush the teeth 30 minutes after any j take of food or fluid (apart from plain water) as enamel weakens and you're actually brushing weaker enamel that can damage it

2. It's normal to be "child led" at these types of appointment time to re: examinations. The most important part is passing on dietry advice to parents. The key bits if that advice is that the vast majority of decay is diet related, that "healthy" snacks can be just as bad as a chocolate etc and that it is the number of intakes per day that is critical. Therefore, don't dole out chocolate buttons all day. Let them eat them in one go. The next bit of the advice is re: hygiene. Tooth brushing is critical. Most children go through periods of not wanting their teeth brushed but they come out the other dude with perseverance. Try all the soft types of encouragement first - eg bribes of reading books/watching iPads/cleaning mummy's teeth/special brushes. It that doesn't work, wrap them in a towel so the child can't flail and then shove the brush in and scrub. They will cry hit that means their mouthes open wide and you can clean better. Distressing - yes. But Jess so than a GA and multiple teeth removal. If there are any type if special needs/sensory issues, speak to the dentist as there is advice about sircufycakbe brushes and referrals to the community dentist that can be made. Tooth brushing has to be non-negotiable. We have 3 DC, 3 and under so he understands that it can be difficult if they refuse but persevere.

If your child has "weak enamel" - as normally diagnosed by care givers hmm(and he can count the number of children who genuinely have this in one hand that he's seen - and he's been dentist for 14 years), then the hygiene and diet advice is even more important to follow.

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