Sunday, April 22, 2012

Visit to the Dentist

Ryan went to see the dentist for the very first time on 2 April 2012, just before we went to Hong Kong.

I was getting a little concerned that we should get him checked out at the dentist because we have been lax with brushing his teeth. Although Ryan does join in when we brush our teeth, I know that he doesn't brush properly (most of the time he is chewing on the toothbrush) and he doesn't get right to the teeth at the back of the mouth. We should help him but we don't because he doesn't like having people sticking things in his mouth. So we just let him be. Our priority is for him to enjoy the session so that at least he is brushing, even if it's not done right.

Anyway, I was getting a little concerned so I decided to get him to the dentist for a checkup. The visit started out well - the dentist seemed to be very good with children. (She said she has a 2 year old daughter.) She got Ryan interested in playing with her gloves and got him relaxed. She did make one wrong move though, by trying to get Ryan to open his mouth before he was ready, and from then on, Ryan refused to open his mouth for her. The dentist wasn't surprised - she did tell us at the start that she might not get to check his teeth at all at this first session. She didn't try to force him, she said it's more important not to scare him or to make it unpleasant for him. I was glad to hear that.

Although Ryan refused to let the dentist inspect his teeth, she did manage to get a look at his front teeth because Ryan was singing his ABCs throughout the session. The dentist said that they look fine. 

She asked and we told her that Ryan does not take sweets or sweet drinks, apart from the occasional sip from our drinks. And Ryan drinks a lot of plain water. The dentist was pleased with that and said all that helps. The back teeth suffer mainly from sweets and sweet drinks, while the front teeth suffer mainly from the milk and from sucking on the bottle. So, although she couldn't see the back teeth, Ryan should have no problems there. His front teeth look fine, probably because they get a good rinse everytime he drinks plain water (which is very often).

The only concern was the sucking on the bottle. She said that, at this age, he should be weaned off the bottle (she didn't say anything about weaning off the breast, haha). The best is to use the cup, the next best is to use a straw. This is because the muscles and the muscle movements that are involved when sucking from the bottle are different from those used when sucking through a straw or drinking from a cup, so it's better to wean off the bottle for the sake of proper muscle development. (There is some concern that the front teeth may grow at a funny angle but she said this is not really a big concern because it only happens in severe cases.). We're supposed to go back in about six months to see her again. 

She did give us some general tips and advice:

1. Ryan should have 20 baby teeth now - 10 on top and 10 below.
2. Ryan must brush twice a day (after breakfast and after the last latch). He will need help from an adult until he is around 8 years old (simply because a child below that age is not developmentally capable of doing it properly - reaching to the back, etc). If he is not receptive to a toothbrush, she suggested trying a finger brush or even just some wet gauze. 
3. Toothpaste - it's fine to brush with or without toothpaste at this stage. Use toothpaste if he can gargle and if using toothpaste, make sure that it contains fluoride.
4. Time to wean him off the bottle for the sake of proper muscle development.
5. Maintain a suitable diet (what Ryan is doing now is good).

Interesting thing was that, as we left, she told Ryan that he was a "very very smart boy". I don't know why exactly she said it, perhaps it was because of all the songs that Ryan was singing. Anyway, she was pretty good with children, even if she couldn't win Ryan over on the first try (not many people can), so we're going to stick with her.

I'm relieved to know that Ryan is fine for now. We will be making more of an effort to get Ryan to adopt proper brushing technique and, hopefully, he'll continue to have strong and healthy teeth and gums.


Anonymous said...

Hi hi. Could I request for your help by asking for the dentist's contact? Called one at Camden and it takes mths just for e first check-up. Thank you in advance for your kind help. :)

Pinkie Pirate said...

Hi Anonymous, we went to see Dr Serene Wu at a private clinic at Hougang Polyclinic. You can call 64897000 to make an appointment. She doesn't see patients everyday though.

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