Don't rush into conclusions about false teeth-experts warn

By Stella Naigino

Like Nalugwa most people believed that infants who are six months and below would suffer from this strange disease called ebinnyo 'false teeth. However,experts say there is no such a disease and the earlier parents get to know the better.

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When Aisha Nalugwa gave birth to her baby girl, she was very excited that she had become a mother and she vowed to deal with every situation that came her way.

She was breast feeding her baby as instructed by the doctors and whenever she noticed any changes in her child's behavior, she consulted medical people.
However, when her child made three months, she noticed swollen/reddened gums which were very tender. Her child lost appetite for breast milk coupled with having a high fever.
When she consulted the old people around her, they said these were false/unwanted teeth commonly referred to as ebinnyo that needed to be removed for the child to get relief. They even warned her not to take the child to hospital because they believed that the condition could be treated locally by herbs.
"So they embarked on an extremely crude way of digging out the supposedly false teeth from the baby without any form of anesthesia or sterilized equipment, "says Nalugwa.
"I watched in pain but after some time they took me away, because they realized it was not good for me to watch them do this to my child, "said Nalugwa.
"I regretted accepting this but it was too late. Later, I researched and I was told this condition could be treated medically without exerting much pain on the baby. My next prayer was that my child heals, "she said.
 "Thank God she got better, "says Nalugwa. She advises mothers not to listen to people who are not doctors when it comes to health issues. "This will help keep your baby safe, "she adds.
Like Nalugwa most people believed that infants who are six months and below would suffer from this strange disease called ebinnyo ‘false teeth. However,experts say there is no such a disease and the earlier parents get to know the better.
Nelson Kalyesubula a dentist from Jubilee dental in Ntinda notes that false teeth do not exist and parents whose children's gums have been interfered with, instead remove their children's tooth buds in the process of removing the so called false teeth which do not exist.
He explains that tooth buds normally appear before the teeth grow so, when parents see something whitish on their children's gums, at an early stage, they imagine it's a sickness and have them removed.    
Kalyesubulaya explains that some children are born with teeth and these are normally referred to as natal teeth. These are normal teeth and a parent should not worry about removing them ,it is not necessary.
He further explains that some children also develop neo natal teeth 30 days after they have been born. These are the ones parents refer to as false teeth (ebinnyo) and they go ahead and remove them but that is wrong.
He adds that children whose natal or neo natal teeth get removed normally discover in their teens that they are missing some teeth. Canines normally fail to develop in such children simply because their parents confused their tooth buds for false tooth and simply removed the tooth buds.
Dr Charles Kasozi a dentist in Mulago hospital notes that normally when teeth are erupting in a child of whatever age, the gum tends to swell causing a lot of discomfort to the child. Other things like diahorea, fever and loss of appetite among others are prone to happen during tooth erupting process.
"When this happens, it's important that a parent consults a medical person especially a dental surgeon to be sure of what she is dealing with, "says Kasozi.
"If it's the issue of teeth erupting that is causing discomfort to your child, the dentist will handle the case at hand and in less than a week the child will be ok,"he explains.
He adds that for cases of teeth that parents refer to as false teeth, a dentist, might carry out a diagnosis especially to find out if there is a cyst (swelling) above the area where an erupting tooth is forming.
"When he realizes that there is a swelling, he will carry out a simple anesthesia and a small incision (opening) is done and the fluid is drained, "he notes.
After this, the child will be given anti biotics like amoxicillin and a pain killer like paracetamol. Within three days the symptoms will begin to subside; and that way, a child will be ok in the shortest period possible.
Sabrina Kitaka a pediatrician from Mulago notes that parents should take keen notice to tell the different changes in their children as they grow and consult medical people in case of any health problem.
She notes that oral hygiene in the child is very important and should be maintained. Washing the mouth with cotton dipped in salty water every after a meal is sufficient. But also remember it is never too early to visit a dentist to discuss your child's oral condition.