Totally Toothless Parenting

, , , , , | Healthy | January 23, 2018

(I’m a dentistry student. At my university, we work in different services every half-day. Thursday morning is when I work with kids. A dad comes in with his two-year-old. The kid starts crying the moment he sees the dentist chair, and I know I’m not going to be able to do anything on him, because putting rotating metal things in the mouth of an uncooperative and squirmy two-year-old is dangerous for both him and me. In the patient’s file, I see that the dad was supposed to have taken an appointment with a teacher to have his kid sedated. He obviously hasn’t done so, because I’m the one taking care of him. I can’t even get a good look at the kid’s teeth, because he won’t open his mouth and he keeps crying. I tell the dad that he absolutely needs an appointment with sedation, or else we won’t be able to take care of his kid.)

Dad: “But they’re only baby teeth; it doesn’t matter if they have cavities!”

Me: “If the infection gets out of hand, the adult teeth could get infected, as well, and come out black and rotten. Not to mention that the bone could be eaten away by the bacteria.”

Dad: “So, what should I do?”

Me: “I can’t do anything right now with him in this state, but with sedation we could try it. He needs to be on an empty stomach, though.”

Dad: “Why?”

Me: “Because if not, he could throw up and drown himself.”

Dad: “Sure, but I come from [City not even 15 minutes away]; I don’t have time for this!”

(I call my professor to examine the child, and together we manage to put a temporary solution on the kid’s teeth. It involves a lot of crying and screaming, with an uncooperative dad that doesn’t want to hold his child, and keeps interrupting us to “go for a walk in the hallway” with his kid.)

Me: “Well, that should slow the cavities down, but keep brushing his teeth regularly.”

Dad: “Oh, he doesn’t brush his teeth.”

Me: “I know. He’s two; you’re supposed to do it.”

Dad: “Well, I don’t.”

Me: “You’re supposed to. I don’t suppose he dresses himself yet, either, but still, he’s not naked now. Same thing: you’re the one who made him, so you’re the one who should brush his teeth until he’s old enough to do it himself.”

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