You follow proper dental health procedures, you brush your child’s teeth twice a day, skip the sugar infested treats, and keep up with their dental appointments. You think, “there’s NO WAY they could have cavities.” Well, I was right there with you, right up until my two and a half year old was diagnosed with six…S-I-X, cavities!
It all started during our morning brushing. I noticed a small spec in one of my son’s molars and called our dentist immediately to get him in. After the exam, she noticed that he actually had 2 cavities and recommended a pediatric specialist to fill them. Our family dentist was very sweet about the situation, explaining that even her kids have cavities, sometimes it just happens.
I wasn’t TOO distressed about this discovery when I called to schedule the appointment with the specialist. When that day came, nothing could have prepared me for what I heard.
“It looks like your son has six cavities, and two of them require root canals.”
What the WHAT!? Six cavities?! But, we brush twice a day…he hardly ever gets candy…HE ONLY DRINKS WATER!
Our dentist then explained the culprit, breastmilk. I breastfed my son every day for two years. Though I brushed his teeth, it just wasn’t enough, especially after night feedings.
She also explained that cavities, among breast fed babies, are actually fairly common. These cavities are usually only on the top teeth as the tongue sits on the bottom of the mouth while feeding–protecting the bottom.
Our Pediatric Dentist scheduled our son for surgery the following month, just after his third birthday. The procedure would require anesthesia and she would perform 2 “baby” root canals, 4 fillings, and seal the rest of his teeth.
I’m not going to lie, finding out my son had to go through all of this when he was barely 3, had me feeling ALL the emotions. Yes, it could have been much worse…after all, they were cavities, not cancer. But knowing your kid has to be put under, seeing him wake up with a bloody mouth, and thinking that you may have been able to prevent this, shatters your heart into a thousand pieces.
The procedure was a success! That evening, our rambunctious 3 year old was back to normal and running around like nothing even happened.
My husband and I learned a lot from this whole process and I feel that it is so important to share with all of you in hope that you may also learn from our experience. And, if you do find yourself in a similar situation, it’s imperative you know that you are not alone and despite how you may feel, you are NOT a terrible parent!
The American Dental Association (ADA) has an AMAZING page fully dedicated to all dental concerns for babies and toddlers, it’s a definite MUST READ!
Sometimes we can do everything we are supposed to, and our kids will still get cavities. That is OK! We cannot prevent everything. The important thing is to establish good and consistent dental care early on and make sure, if there are any issues, that you get your child in as soon as possible to prevent them from worsening.