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Thursday, June 24, 2010

Open Wide!

Well, it seems to be that time of year again....teeth cleaning time. A couple weeks ago we took the boys into our favorite dentist office to get their teeth checked and cleaned. The twins came out good, with just a new toothbrush, some floss (to add to our collection!) and some handheld floss thingies. Mitchell, however, had some cavities in his baby teeth and his 6yr molars were pitted, so they required a sealant. He was also losing some baby teeth on his front bottom jaw. His bottom teeth tend to come in behind his baby teeth, thereby delaying the natural tooth removal.

So on Wednesday, we took Mitchell in for the first of a few appointments to d
o the repair work. The dental technician and assistant are both so wonderful with kids. They make it a fun place to visit and every procedure is explained in a positive way (they're not bad cavities but rather they're sugar bugs that eat teeth, so we clean them off with special toothpaste).

First procedure was the molar sealant at the very back of his mouth. It was hard to keep that mouth open so wide. But the gals are sure quick with their work, the sealant was on and dried lightning fast.

Next on the task list was the cavity repair. Mitchell's teeth tend
to come in very tightly spaced. It's difficult to floss between his back teeth, to the point the floss shreds rather quickly. No wonder he has cavities where the teeth touch! If they have trouble flossing his teeth (and they're the "experts" LOL) how can we be expected to do the same at home.

Unfortunately, my memories of the raincoat aren't pleasant. But these two ladies made it an enjoyable occasion for him. They let him feel the tooth clips and the raincoat and the plastic frame used to keep it tight. It's really a hands-on type of practice, especially in the kid corner.

It seemed to take longer to set up
the two teeth for the repair than it did for the actual work. They cleaned up the cavity holes then prepped them for the goop (so technical aren't I?!). A few seconds with the drying light and he was good as new. (btw, they don't expect these teeth to fall out soon, so they chose to repair the cavity and allow Mitchell pain-free chewing)

In this photo, you get a really good view of the teeth they'll be working on. It looks awkward for Mitchell, but they cut a hole in the raincoat for him to breathe easier and it wasn't on for very long. The metal clips on his teeth provide a secure surrounding for the filling goop, so it doesn't ooze all over the place.

Look at Mitchell! He's relaxed! He's comfortable! Legs crossed, he's obviously not feeling any tension whatsoever during the office visit. Every child gets to hold a mirror to watch what's going on inside his mouth. And the kids are even able to hold the tools to become familiar with them, so they're not so scary-looking.

The last task on today's list was to "pluck out" a baby tooth, to allow the permanent tooth to slide right into place. Mitchell's permanent teeth have a tendancy to come in behind his baby teeth, creating a second row of teeth. Once the baby tooth falls out, the adult tooth needs to jockey into it's permanent position. By extracting this baby tooth now, it saves the trouble of having that second row of teeth and reduces the possibility of teeth alignment issues in the future.

Kari (the dental technician) used a special dental tool to scrape below the gumline. She scraped all around the tooth, separating the tooth root "feelers" from the gum. When she finished the scraping, she easily plucked the baby tooth out of the gums using her alligator tool (aptly names since the handles looked like an alligator tail). Since Mitchell was well anesthetized from the cavity repair, he didn't feel a thing during this procedure. And once the tooth was out, Kari confirmed the adult tooth would have been in place LONG before the baby tooth even started getting loose. It could have been Christmas before that tooth would be loose enough to pull by hand.

WOW! That's a huge tooth!! The root even has an indentation from where the adult tooth was pushing up alongside the root. Typically the adult tooth pushes up from the bottom, causing the baby tooth to loosen and fall out. Mitchell was given a treasure box to keep his tooth. And since I wanted to keep the tooth, I bought it from Mitchell for $2 (rather than having the tooth fairy buy it for a measly $1!).

After each office visit, regardless of reason, the kids get to choose a small toy from their treasure chest. This is Mitchell as he's looking for a toy, while waiting for his jaw to stop bleeding. He was even sent home with a stash of gauze "bandaids"!

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