As with everything else preemies have risk in developing dental problems.
My son was almost 10 months before he got his first tooth. Delayed teeth is common in premature babies especially if they are very sick and have poor nutrition.
His front teeth were discolored. This is usually less common on permanent teeth, although not for us!! He also has some discoloration on his permanent teeth. I was told that the cause was from mechanical ventilation and poor nutrition.
His back teeth are worn down a bit, from reflux and he developed a horrible overbite (or overjet) when his front teeth came in. and he needed four braces in his front teeth for about 6 month when he was 7. "Phase One Ortho". When he's 13-14 he will need a full set of braces and then possibly a headgear. REALLY?
It hasn't been confirmed for me but I can't help but wonder if his overbite had to do with the ET tube? He never sucked a pacifier he always sucked his ET tube!!
If your premature child has oral aversions its important to work with your OT or Speech Therapist to desenatize your child before a trip to the dentist or find a pediatric dentist that specialized in children with oral aversions. Some kids do have to be sedated for dental work. We haven't been there yet.
A great tool for brushing and to desensitize is an electric tooth brush. What has been our savior is the Philips Sonicare for Kids. When brushing my sons teeth, he won't allow me in the back of his mouth without gagging and the Sonicare helps without having to fight him.
Always remember to:
- Bring your baby for a dentist's appointment around her first birthday (or around the time s/he gets the first tooth. This is a recommendation from The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry.
- Develop good toothbrushing habits as soon as the teeth break through the gums. The teeth should be cleaned two times a day — first thing in the morning and before bedtime.