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20 Things Dentists Choose Not To Tell Parents

As with most customer-service-oriented jobs, being a pediatric dentist means walking a fine line between telling the parents of their patients what they should do and knowing when not to push the issue.

For example, they might do their best to convince the parents of a patient that has a pretty severe overbite to make an appointment with an orthodontist and give them a referral because they know that the child is going to have a mess in their mouth if their teeth aren’t straightened before they are adults.

In comparison, a dentist might decide it is better to let sleeping dogs lie if they notice that one of their patients is starting to get a wee bit of tartar and they have explained to both the child and their parents countless times before about how they need to both brush and floss their teeth for 10 minutes a day. After all, anyone can lead a horse to a watering hole but they cannot make them drink from it.

For parents wondering if there are things that their child’s dentist aren’t telling them, the following is a roundup of the most common scenarios that a pediatric dentist finds incredibly irritating to deal with but has to keep their mouth shut.

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20 The Price Of Braces

According to Colgate, the price of braces tends to vary between orthodontist, how long they will wear them for and the type of braces a child needs. Then there is how much the individual insurance company will cover for the cost of braces if any. All of these factors make it difficult for a dentist to give an exact price.

Typically, there are three different kinds of braces: traditional metal braces with steel ties, Damon braces with no steel ties, and invisible or removable retainers (such as Invisalign) and the ballpark price estimate tends to be somewhere between $3,000 to $7,000.

19 They Feel Irritated When Parents Accompany Teen Patients

Dentistry IQ adds that many dentists feel quite irritated when the parents of their teenaged parents insist on accompanying their child into the room because they are concerned that their little one will be “nervous” throughout the routine dental procedure.

In fact, most teenagers are perfectly fine sitting in the room without their parents and unless they have a skittish temperament or an irrational concern with regards to the dentist’s office, they could care less about undergoing routine dental procedures all by themselves and when questioned by their dentist, prefer going into the room without their mom or dad hovering over them like a hawk.

18 It's Annoying When Parents Aren't Silent Observers

Dentistry IQ adds that dentists also get irritated whenever they are talking to their patient and their parents interrupt in order to answer the question for them or start injecting their own opinion into the conversation.

It’s one thing to take charge of the conversation if your child is younger, but if they are seven years old and older then they should let their little one answer for themselves. After all, they are old enough to be able to describe most of their symptoms in detail and be able to accurately talk about their daily teeth cleaning and brushing habits.

17 They Aren't Making Up Problems Just To Get Money

Dentistry With TLC points out that many dentists find it annoying and quite frankly, downright insulting when parents accuse them of making up problems in order to “get more money” when they tell your child about a dental issue in their mouth.

It’s actually far easier to take your child in for a checkup twice a year and to get the little issues, like cavities, taken care of ASAP because it will save you time and money in the long run. If you neglect the little problems that your child’s dentist told you about, then they’re only going to increase as time goes on and wind up costing you a fortune.

16 You Need To Keep Up To Date With Your Child's Six-Month Checkup

Reader’s Digest adds that it is very important to take your child in for their checkup every six months so that you can stay on top of their health.

For example, some dentists have seen patients who have baby teeth with major cavities or other kinds of dental issues that require extensive treatment that occurred due to their parents erroneously believing that since baby teeth fall out eventually in order to make room for their child’s adult teeth, they don’t need to take as good care of them. This isn’t a good idea, as it can lead to costly treatment plans and does not instill in a child good dental habits.

15 Tell Your Child To Stop Focusing On Only The Front Teeth

Reader’s Digest notes that dentists often wish that their patients would quit focusing on the front teeth all the time when they brush in the morning and at night because it just leaves the back teeth more open to getting issues.

Parents, make sure you teach your child to spend equal amounts of time brushing both the teeth that people can see plus all the ones in the back so that they will have less of a chance of developing a cavity or sore gums. Having to get a cavity filled is no fun, and it’s best to teach your child to brush all their teeth equally from the time that they are very young.

14 Flossing Won't Do Much With Advanced Gum Issues

Like pretty much every other child at the time, my parents made sure to teach me how to floss when I was about five or six years old. I gamely attempted to floss every time that I brushed my teeth, but I will admit that I slacked off after a week or two and only ever broke out the floss if I had something stuck in between my teeth.

Reader’s Digest notes that dentists internally facepalm whenever a parent tells their child that flossing is the be all and end all because that’s not exactly true. It is important, but once your child gets issues with their gums, then there’s not much that flossing can do to fix it.

13 Adults And Kids Alike Don't Spend As Much Time Brushing As They Should

I will fully admit that when I was a kid and even now that I am an adult, I’d skimp a little time off of my daily tooth brushing if I was in a rush and it was really nothing more than a cursory brush of my teeth before I went out to school or a holiday party at my aunt’s house.

Reader’s Digest writes that dentists feel both parents and their children do not spend nearly as much time as they should brushing and taking care of their teeth. It is up to the parents to model good dental habits for their children to follow and they need to make sure that they spend 10 minutes a day brushing and flossing so their little one will do the same.

12 Mouthwash Does Nothing For Smelly Breath

I started using mouthwash after I brushed my teeth when I was in junior high school because I always thought (and was reinforced by my parents) that items like Listerine were a good thing to add to my daily routine because it would help to avoid bad breath.

According to Reader’s Digest, both my parents and I were utterly wrong about that assumption because most mouthwashes have a tendency to dry your mouth out and leave your breath smelling minty fresh for a half hour before the noxious odor returns. In order to truly combat bad breath, dentists feel it’s best to brush and floss.

11 There's No Need To Sanitize A Toothbrush

When I was growing up, my parents taught me to clean off my toothbrush after I used it by letting running water from the faucet pour over it for a minute or two. Nowadays, parents are very conscious about germs and there are all sorts of gadgets designed to completely sanitize their child’s toothbrush by using UV rays and things of that sort.

Reader’s Digest writes that most dentists privately believe that these sort of devices are extremely unnecessary and that parents are getting too worked up about germs. You don’t need to be concerned about sterilizing your child’s toothbrush unless they share it with a friend or another family member.

10 Toothpaste Isn't All That It Is Cracked Up To Be

When it comes time for parents to purchase new toothpaste for the whole family to use, they are inundated by all the different types and brands. There’s some that claim to be “all-natural,” others that purport to strengthen the enamel of your teeth and others that boast that their product can turn your teeth from a dull yellow color to the pearly white of a Hollywood starlet in no time at all.

Reader’s Digest adds that dentists know in the back of their mind that there’s only so much that toothpaste can do. For example, a new whitening formula can get rid of surface stains, but if you want the real deal, it’s better to go see your dentist so they can use bleach to truly whiten your teeth.

9 You Need To Supervise Your Child's Brushing Habits More

As mentioned earlier in this list, dentists highly recommend that both adults and children spend at least 10 minutes when it comes time to brushing their teeth and flossing in the morning and at night. Ideally, this should also be done every time an adult or child eats something like lunch or even a snack to prevent plaque build-up.

Reader’s Digest adds that dentists secretly wish that parents would spend more time supervising their children when they clean their teeth because on average, adults spend two or three minutes cleaning and the numbers for children are even more hair-raising, so it’s clear that the kiddos need a bit of nudging in this department.

8 Poor Dental Hygiene Can Affect Your Infant

Most breastfeeding mothers are very conscious about what they eat or drink because there are some items that could negatively affect an infant, but they don’t think twice about sharing food with their infant.

Reader’s Digest points out that it is not a good idea for moms to take a taste of baby food and then give it to their infant because the bacteria that can wreak havoc and cause cavities in teeth can be transferred via the saliva on the spoon or form from you to your infant. It’s best to use your own spoon if you want to take a bit of a taste.

7 Kids With Dental Problems Might Act Up In School

Some parents are quick to blame common ailments such as the cold or even a stomach bug if their normally well-behaved child starts acting up in school, but there could be another reason that most moms and dads wouldn’t even think up to explain such a drastic personality change.

Reader’s Digest notes that whenever dentists hear from a parent that mentions their patient hasn’t been themselves recently, they immediately wonder if they have a toothache and make a mental note to check for any issues. Toothaches can cause a child to feel distracted and irritable, which could lead to a decrease in grades at school.

6 Stop Underestimating Baby Teeth

As mentioned before in an earlier entry, many dentists privately feel exasperated when they see that parents are letting their child slack off on cleaning their baby teeth and they wind up having the beginnings of tooth decay at a young age.

Reader’s Digest adds that dentists wish parents would stop being so blasé about baby teeth because if a baby tooth falls out before it should have, that means the other teeth are going to crowd around the empty space and that can cause a huge mess inside of your child’s mouth that will require big bucks to fix.

5 Don't Fret About The Fillings In Your Child's Cavities

There are some parents that are uneasy about the fact that their child’s dentist uses silver fillings to treat their little one’s cavities because of the rumors and hysteria surrounding the ingredient mercury, but Reader’s Digest notes that dentists feel that such concerns are totally blown out of proportion.

Sure, silver fillings do shed a bit of mercury thanks to the natural wear and tear of teeth in your child’s mouth, but there is no need to fret about any kind of health risk to your child. In fact, they’d need approximately 300 silver fillings in their mouth that are all worn-out for mercury to have any kind of negative effect.

4 Veneers Don't Solve Everything

Some parents mistakenly believe that getting their child veneers can fix a wide variety of dental issues that range from straightening their teeth if they have an overbite or underbite or even giving them whiter teeth.

Reader’s Digest adds that most dentists can’t stand the idea that veneers are a cure-all for dental issues in both children and adults. If parents want their children to have whiter teeth than they’re going to have to take them to the dentist so they can bleach the stains off. If their child has misaligned teeth, they need braces to fix the issue, not veneers. The only thing veneers are really good for is making teeth appear longer.

3 Dentists Aren't Miracle Workers

Dentistry With TLC notes that there are some parents out there that feel as if their child’s dentist should be able to wave a magic wand and be able to fix all sorts of issues such as crooked teeth or making a toothache go away ASAP.

In reality, there is only so much that a dentist can do, especially if neither the parent or their child wants to step up to the plate and follow good dental habits, such as making sure to brush and floss their teeth 10 minutes at a time. If your child slacks off on their part of the bargain, that’s on them, not the dentist.

2 Your Child Doesn't Need A Deep Cleaning

When I was a little girl, I don’t recall my dentist or my mother and father ever bringing up whether or not I needed a deep cleaning in order to get all of the tartar off of my teeth and my gums. My dentist would do a basic once-over at each appointment, but that was it.

Reader’s Digest writes that there’s no need for a parent to insist on their child getting a deep cleaning to make their teeth bright and shiny. A standard cleaning will get the job done; any dentist worth their salt knows that a deep cleaning is only if an exam shows that their patient has an extraordinary amount of tartar on their teeth.

1 Don't Put Off Removing Your Child's Wisdom Teeth

My childhood dentist was pretty good, but I do wish he hadn’t played it safe and had pushed me to get my wisdom teeth removed because they wound up causing a lot of issues for me now that I am an adult. My two wisdom teeth have partially erupted on the bottom of my mouth and I now have gum flaps that often get irritated if I’m not careful. So annoying!

Capital Center writes that unlike the outlier I went to, most dentists nowadays feel that parents should not put off having their child’s wisdom teeth removed. Not only can it cause a gum flap that leaves you more prone to irritation and infections, but the sooner they get them removed, the easier the procedure will be for your child.

Sources: Dentistry IQ, Dentistry With TLC, Reader's Digest, Capital Center, Colgate

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