You would think that when you get to child #5, you have the basics of raising kids figured out. We had done okay with numbers 1-4, so it should be the same with the last one, right?
Well, you can imagine how surprised I was when I took my youngest to the dentist for the first time. She had four cavities, and 2 of them ended up having to have root canals and crowns! It was a very traumatic experience for both of us. She was a trooper for getting her first cavity filled, but she fought the dentist after that every time the water suction tool turned on. It was terrible. She cried; I cried. She no longer enjoyed going to the dentist even though they gave her toys and did a great job with her. I felt like a terrible mom. Whose kid has that many cavities?
I must have dropped the ball. . . . And in reality, I did somewhat.
We were busy. In our family, the fifth kid’s oral hygiene got overlooked a little; she was told “to brush her teeth”. We were not overseeing the process as much as we should have. We definitely never flossed her teeth. I had never had flossed my teeth as a child, and I never had a cavity until I was in my twenties! She also had eaten too much candy.
Then there is the fact that her teeth are very tight. She has no space between most of her teeth, and so all of her cavities were between two teeth. The food would get stuck and wear away at her teeth.
That is the sad part of our tooth story.
Yet every story has a silver lining.
Our silver lining was that we took her to the dentist and found out about the cavities before the problem got worse. Another positive was that they were all baby teeth that will eventually fall out, and her big teeth were not affected. And a huge positive was that we had dental insurance to help cover the cost.
At the time of our dental trauma, I knew that we were maybe changing jobs and that money would be tight. Having to pay all that money on cavities was tough, but it had to be done. Having dental coverage was a huge blessing to help defray the costs.
Here are the valuable lessons I learned:
- Floss your children’s teeth! Most of our kids can now do this themselves, but we still help our youngest. She will bring the “flosser” to us, and we will floss them. The floss picks make it so much easier to floss children’s teeth.
- Be vigilant in overseeing your younger children (up to 6-7 years of age) brush their teeth. Our kids did not brush their teeth correctly even though we taught them how to brush.
- Take your children to the dentist early! I thought taking them around 3 1/2 – 4 years of age for the first visit was fine. Now experts are recommending that you take them around their first birthday! I wish I would have taken our youngest in earlier than I did.
- Have dental insurance. A dental insurance plan from Guardian can help cover the cost of basic dental services as well as most other costly procedures such as cavities, root canals, and crowns. Regular cleanings will help prevent bacteria from building up in your mouth.
- There is no excuse not to have dental insurance or to take your child to the dentist. Guardian Dental plans can be purchased individually at any time throughout the year. You do not need to have a qualifying event to purchase dental insurance. Your family’s teeth are worth it!
- Make it fun for your child to brush his/her teeth! You can even have a checklist to help your children remember to brush their teeth at least twice a day.
Here is a checklist that you can use for free! Just click on the picture to print it out. In the top blank spot, you can write your child’s name if you wish!
Here is also a blank checklist that you can customize for whatever works best for your family:
The Happy Ending to Our Story:
Our “Smiley Kiley” is still smiling — silver teeth and all. There is no permanent damage, the smile is still on her face, and we are now making sure that we floss and brush her teeth. We have a dentist visit scheduled for March, and we are hopeful that there will be no more cavities!!
I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.