At one of Sam's well check-ups when he was a toddler, the pediatrician noticed some white lines at the base of a few of his teeth. Not sure what they were, he recommended we take him to a pediatric dentist to get them checked out. He gave us the name of one and sent us on our way.
Being a good and obedient parent, I made the appointment and we met with the dentist. Thankfully, there were no dental chairs or x-rays involved. Sam got to sit on my lap while the dentist peered into his mouth. We were assured that the markings were harmless. They were caused by breast milk sitting in the gums along the teeth back when he nursed during the night. These white lines were more visible now that his teeth were growing out, but would disappear over time. They did disappear and overall, we were very happy with our visit.
But, you know how it goes. Once you go to a dentist, they have this uncanny way of making you come back every six months. Sam was our first child and, to be honest, we were a bit over zealous like most new parents are. We wanted to do everything right. So, I took him back again and again. Problem was, Sam hated going to the dentist. It was a miracle if we could get him to sit in the chair and open his mouth at all. All more the reason to keep taking him back, I thought. We'll let him get used to it over time.
One visit, he allowed them to clean two teeth. The next visit, only the top ones. I must say this dental group was very patient with us. Fast forward to his visit when he had just turned 5 years old. Sam conceded to let them take x rays this visit and with a worried and serious expression, the dentist told me that he had six (6!) cavities that needed immediate attention and that he would have to be anesthetized for the procedure since he exhibited so much anxiety during exams.
I could not believe my ears. Being a good and obedient parent, I scheduled the procedure for a week and a half later and left that office in a daze. I cried on the way home. Not so much because of the cavities- I knew we had been doing a very good job of keeping his teeth clean- but because of this idea that he would have to be put under. I did not like the thought of that one bit.
Jamey and I talked it over and decided it all seemed over the top, so we took Sam to our dentist to get a second opinion. Our dentist got the records from the pediatric dentist and took his own x-rays. His diagnosis was a bit different. He said, "I see nothing wrong. There is no need to do anything. Bring him back in a year, I'll take new x-rays and we'll go from there."
Is your jaw on the floor like mine was?
Needless to say, we canceled our appointment with the other dentist and told them why. A year later, we brought Sam back to our dentist who confirmed that everything still looked fine. Sam is almost 8 years old and has had no cavities to speak of and has no problem going to the dentist.
Lesson Learned: If you tend toward the good/obedient spectrum of parenting, remember to trust your gut. Oh, and it never hurts to get a second opinion.
Next week, I'll share tooth tale number two. Yes, our home has been blessed with two tooth tales. So far.