“Textbook bottle rot.”
Those words sent shivers down my spine, brought tears to my eyes and a pit to my stomach. As my son’s dentist started to explain the treatment plan he would need, I felt ALL the emotions: guilt, anger, disbelief, sadness. I knew how it happened. It was my fault. My son was over 2.5 years old and still had a bottle of milk to go to sleep.
Honestly, I never really knew anyone who had experienced tooth decay. I figured since my boys don’t drink juice, eat candy, or chew gum, and went to the dentist starting at age two, we were in the clear. NOPE! Turns out that a milk bottle was all it took to cost me about $2,500 in dental work.
I was lucky enough to find a dentist who was caring and patient, with both my son and I. At our first visit, he walked us through the proper way to brush his teeth. Then he gave a list of foods to eat to help strengthen my son’s teeth. Apples, carrots, celery, basically any crisp and fiber rich fruits and vegetables to help produce saliva to clean his mouth were on the list. He also told us to stay away from sticky, chewy foods, chips and breads, as they all coat the tooth’s enamel with sugar.
Over the next four visits (2 months) we returned to do the real work; two baby root canals and four teeth bonding procedures. Trust me, it was no piece of cake. Each time I walked in prepared to be strong and supportive. Of course I also had a toy as a reward for being brave. It was still a nightmare, to be honest. My son, who just turned three years old, screamed THE WHOLE TIME, EVERY TIME. I had to hold him still as best I could, while keeping myself calm.
Now that it’s all over, I can say it ended in the best possible way. We now have a tooth brush and travel size toothpaste in our bag, so my son can brush after every meal. Also, my son no longer wakes up screaming in the of the middle due to “angry teeth.” Lastly, my son has shiny “hats” on his teeth and his sparkling smile back.