My toddler's teeth are black. It's caused by a treatment to avoid more cavities in her teeth.
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My family has had terrible teeth for many generations.
My daughter had 3 caries in her front teeth when she was 1 year old.
Her dentist suggested treatment to prevent more tooth decay, but her teeth were black.
My family has terrible teeth. They have chompers lined with crowns and fillings and silver smiles back when they open their mouths. I am convinced that a small community of dentists has stayed in business because my family name keeps appearing on their calendars.
Don't get me wrong: we brush and floss like the best, but our teeth are just soft and delicate, with crevices that welcome clinging grains of sugar and bits of meat. I've gotten the least of this "family curse" with only a handful of fillings so far. But I'm afraid my toddler Elle has it the worst.
As a baby, she would nap in my arms while I sat on the couch, a time when I would often wipe food stains off her cheeks and brush her few teeth lightly with a rubber baby toothbrush. When Elle was about 1 year old I started brushing what I thought was plaque on her front teeth but it wouldn't come off.
"Oh no," I thought, "cavities."
I took Elle to her first dentist visit shortly after - and a tall, kind-eyed dentist confirmed that she had small cavities in three of her front teeth.
I felt like a failure for allowing my 1 year old's teeth to go bad. I was nervous too, wondering if this meant Elle would get more tooth decay. Our dentist offered to put silver diamine fluoride over my daughter's front teeth to stop the growth of tooth decay until she is old enough to have fillings done without general anesthesia or until her baby teeth fall out.
Silver diamine fluoride is safe and effective
My daughter's dentist explained that SDF was safe, painless and a fraction of the cost of fillings. Still, since safety is my number one priority, I wanted to do my own research. I had to make sure I wasn't skipping anesthesia risks in favor of a worse list of side effects.
Lynn Gargano, clinical director of pediatric dentistry at NYU Langone Family Health Centers, confirmed that SDF is safe.
"Research and clinical studies do not report any adverse events or serious side effects in either children or adults," she said, adding that the only known side effects are minor annoyances such as temporary gum irritation or a metallic taste.
"SDF has been shown to arrest decay up to 80% of the time," Gargano said. "In my practice, SDF is a viable alternative in very young children and patients with special management considerations."
After talking to my husband about it, we decided SDF would be the best choice, and for the following week, Elle's dentist brushed the tips of her teeth with what appeared to be a small plastic swab. We were in and out of the office in minutes.
Her teeth turned black as a result of the treatment
Before applying SDF, the dentist warned me - a couple of times - that the solution would permanently stain the decayed areas, meaning parts of Elle's teeth would remain black unless we decide to do the fillings later. He mentioned that some parents weren't thrilled, but I brushed him off.
Still, SDF is relatively new as a tooth decay treatment in the United States. It has been used for oral care in Japan for over 50 years, but the Food and Drug Administration only approved it for dental use in 2014. So while Gargano said that SDF has gained popularity in the States, I've noticed that most people don't know what it is.
"Did she eat Oreos?" other parents have asked after seeing my daughter laughing in the playground.
Sometimes I just nod and smile and blame the dark area on cream filled cookies. But most of the time I have to explain that my daughter has tooth decay and that was the alternative to general anesthesia. I've gotten some eyebrows raised, but most of the time other parents sympathize with a difficult decision. Also, they're often interested to hear that fillings aren't the only option. I am happy to be able to tell you about our experiences.
When my pediatric dentist warned about the SDF stains, I knew he was worried I wouldn't like the way Elle's teeth looked. But my daughter doesn't mind her discolored teeth, and I don't mind the sight at all. Actually I like it. It makes her look more like my side of the family.
Read the original article on Insider
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