Diary of a Dad – a dentist’s point of view


Dentist's Point of View
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Previously I would have felt woefully ill equipped to deal with any questions in relation to toddlers and teething but now that I’ve lived through the experience I feel I’ve earned my stripes and I’m happy to dispense my new found knowledge! Whether or not it’s worth anything I will leave up to you!

Teeth get a bad rep. Everything from an ear ache to a cold, from crankiness to a constant state of wakefulness, from sore bums to nappies that make you want to pass out and disown your own child, get blamed on teething. I’m not really sure if there is any hard evidence on it (to Aoif’s disbelief this was not part of my college training) but Noah had some if not all of the above every time a tooth appeared in his mouth. Are teeth to blame? I don’t know and the rational part of me says they can’t be but what I can tell you is that we could tell almost straight away from the contents and consistency of his nappy that we were gonna be in for a tough couple of weeks! Never have I discussed poop so much in my life but that’s the world I live in now.

So what’s the magic cure you ask? Unfortunately for us there wasn’t one but what I can promise you is that it will eventually sort it self out. Nappies will improve, colds will disappear, bums will heal and they will start sleeping again.

The good news is that no two kids appear to be the same and one mum happily informed me in my darkest hour that her little little girl woke up one morning and she had all her teeth not a sore bum,dirty nappy or sleepless night in sight. Oh how I envied her at the time!( I’m exaggerating on the overnight thing but poetic license and all that). So you might get lucky and sail through teething but on the other hand your smallie might be like poor Noah and be struck down with all of the above.

What helps? We found managing the symptoms as best we could. Sore bums seemed to be down to thrush so canesten worked wonders along with Caldesene powder and changing him as soon as possible. Obviously bibs, to mop up the equivalent of the river Lee that flowed from his poor mouth! Teething rings, toothbrushes, fingers, the corner of a book anything he cold get his little hands on to gnaw at. Ice lollies really seemed to help sooth him. Calpol and nurofen took the edge off but not much else. Antibiotics on the advice of our GP for the ear ache.

So now that your toddler has teeth, how do I look after them I hear you ask? Well the rule is that once the first tooth is in the mouth start getting them used to a toothbrush. It took me four months to bring home a toothbrush from work after Noah’s first teeth appeared so if you didn’t or haven’t started don’t worry! Use a really soft toothbrush. Curaprox make a great small headed soft brush that’s brilliant for smallies. We stock them at work so if you can’t find one let me know. From 0-2 I haven’t used and wouldn’t advise using any toothpaste. Water on it’s own is fine. Don’t get too stressed out. Let your smallie get used to holding and putting the brush in their mouth. If this takes a few weeks, that’s fine. I used to brush my teeth with Noah in my arms and he just started to imitate me after a few weeks. Once he’s had a go I usually lay him across my lap and give the teeth a scrub. This is where my training has come in useful. Avoiding having my fingers bitten is an art in itself! Starting the day with a puncture would on my index finger is not a joyful experience however the squeals of delight that come from my son’s mouth make if difficult to be angry with him for long!

Like I said earlier, all kids are different and you may not experience any of the above symptoms but if you do have any queries feel free to contact me on the details below. I’m more than happy to help.

Contact: Darryl Barry
Telephone: 022 42133
Website: www.beecherstreetdental.ie