Monday, May 15, 2006

Molar of the Story

My right forearm has been hurting again, which explains the time away from 'non-essential' writing of every kind.

Last Friday son and I went to the dentist. It was a belated routine visit as two months ago I was trying a treatment that could mean my not using glasses or contact lenses in the day and I didn't want to risk driving to the dentist with dodgey eyesight. When it was clear (pardon the pun) that the treatment was not working on my poor old eyes, I switched back.

And the next available dentist appointment was ... last week.

'No wobbley teeth?' I asked casually. Of course I knew my son had no wobbley teeth. It was driving him nuts that he was not losing his milk teeth like all his mates. He can't wait to get his new teeth so that he could learn to play a wind instrument.

With no sign of new teeth, he has gradually come round to accepting that it has to be the piano or violin and not the saxophone.

Imagine my shock when the dentist then let on that son's new molars have sprouted.


'Here! You can take a look.'

Sure enough, behind his milk molars are white enamel that has just broken out of the gums. These molars are still being formed. More importantly, these are his permanent molars.

I didn't realize till then that little children get new teeth before the milk teeth fall out.

'We call them the six-year-old molars'.

You can call them anything you want, I thought, but why is it that parents are told so little about these teeth that sprout so early and need to be carefully cleaned?

Sometimes when trying to decide if son gets more chocolate, we say, 'They (the teeth) have to come off any way.' Sometimes we are a bit lax about teeth-cleaning because, yes, 'they have to come off any way'.

Not any more.

Trawling the internet I learned too that these six-year-old molars are crucial in shaping the lower face and are important to the position and health of other permanent teeth. If these molars move forward (as they would if the teeth at the front have been lost) then the new permanent teeth might get rather 'crowded' and that would require lots of orthodontic treatment (wearing of braces, etc).

As we talked about it over dinner and we remembered what it was like when his milk teeth sprouted -- O! how he used to love the homeopathic teething granules we used to pour into his mouth -- I suddenly remembered that son was suffering a slight fever and had complained about pain in his cheeks.

We dismissed that pain, knowing full well that it could not be mumps. With hindsight we now know that that pain must have been due to his new permanent molars breaking through.

Molar/Moral of the story: Don't think that just because children must lose their milk teeth we can be slack about cleaning them. They could have permanent teeth long before the milk teeth first go. And the milk teeth are crucial in shaping the jaw.

Back to Organic-Ally.

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