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Old 03-09-2003, 08:13 PM
sophiestwin's Avatar
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4 yo with cavities

The dentist said my 4 year old has several cavities and is pushing for stainless steel crowns. Does anyone have any wisdom or experience to share?
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Old 03-16-2003, 08:57 AM
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I would say it depends on which teetht he cavities are in and how deep the cavities are. My six year just had two filled in two separate back teeth, but they were just surface cavities. Would just getting regular fillings be enough to hold the teeth together til your daughter looses them and gets her adult teeth? The pain and suffering may not be worth it if she is going to loose the teeth in a few years-not to mention the expense.
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Old 03-16-2003, 09:23 AM
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Make sure your dentist is a Peds Dentist. Get another opinion because this seems to be extreme for a child.
Also once you get the fillings done, request a seal to be painted on the teeth. This will protect them from further cavities in the future. The seal has to be repeated once a year but is the best and causes no discomfort to the child.
Whatever you do, do it quickly as you don't want your child in any type of pain.
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Old 03-16-2003, 09:35 AM
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My daughter, 3 1/2 , had several stainless steel crowns put on her molars a couple months ago. My kids are terrific eaters and always brush but she has horrible teeth in the back. Her dentist was great with her. He was very patient and always had something for her to do when he was working. The only part she didn't like was when they put the "jelly" on to numb her. She didn't like that because he had to hold her mouth open so he could get back there. They did one tooth at a time so she was only in the office for 30-45 minutes at most each time. She was fine after the numbness wore off. I didn't even have to give her anything for any pain afterwards. The dentist told me early mornings visits are best for young kids because they're not as tired and cranky as in the afternoon. It was also easier for the dentist not having me in the room when he was working. She would cry for me to hold her if I went back with her, but if she walked back herself and picked out what she was going to play with she was fine. Just make sure your dentist is very patient. Like I said, ours was wonderful. I hope this helps some. Let me know if you have anymore questions.

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Old 03-16-2003, 10:08 AM
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mt son's first teeth were "fried" due to high fevers as a baby when the first molars were being formed. his molars would just break off. we went to a peds dentist and he was sedated when the work was done so no bad memories. He keeps great care of his adult teeth but if the teeth were left to rot or had been pulled he would have had problems with the spacing of the second teeth or they could have rotted as well. A second opinion is never a bad thing especially if the work is not covered by insurance or you hasve doubts....many dentist will cap the front teeth if the kids are young but 4-5 they get ready to start to loose them anyway....I would have them pulled.
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Old 03-16-2003, 10:51 AM
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My daughter is only 7 and has had about 10 cavities. She eats well, brushes her teeth and pretty much only drinks water. We have added extra calcium to her diet but besides that the ped. dentist said it is probably a heriditary thing. I plan on having sealents put on her teeth and her ped. dentist strongly recommends that.
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Old 03-16-2003, 11:19 AM
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4yo with cavities

I have to toss out my two cents... My daughter is now 15, but when she was small the dentist tried to pressure me to have extensive work done on her baby teeth... She was also 4 years old... her baby teeth for whatever reason came in early... she cut her first tooth at 6 weeks old... so needless to say they were exposed to more than your average baby tooth... and I'm here to tell you, cleaning an "infants" mouth is no easy thing... At any rate it would seem that because she had them longer... they didn't fair so well... so by the time she was 4 we were regulars at the dentist office.. I had normal things done.. but drew the line at putting so much money in baby teeth... and GUESS WHAT! Only a few months after I changed dentist she began losing her baby teeth... The very teeth I would have spent thousands on.... It was a positive moment for me... it would seem I had made a good decision in sticking to my GUNS! I think the dentist was money hungry... ONE xray would have shown him that her permanent teeth were very clearly on their way in to have pushed out the baby teeth only two months later...
Good Luck with your decision...
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Old 03-16-2003, 12:17 PM
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My best friend had a son with the same problem. His came from drinking soda, and falling asleep with a bottle of soda in his mouth. Much of these type of problems are diet related. He had to have caps when he was only 3. Although prescribed medicine can be a problem diet is more likely.
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Old 03-16-2003, 01:31 PM
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In December my almost 3-year-old son had stainless-steel crowns, or caps, put on 3 molars, and had a 4th molar removed, in addition to lots of fillings in his very back molars and a few front teeth (under general anesthesia in day surgery at a nearby hospital).

Ever since his first tooth came in at 3 1/2 months, we thought we had taken good care of his teeth & provided a good diet -- we were shocked that they had so much decay. We now believe our care & eating habits weren't perfect, and we have come to the conclusion that dentists usually cannot tell why most childhood tooth decay happens (poor diet? bedtime bottles? poor dental care? fever? medicine? genetic malformation? ...?).

But we are sure we made the right decision for our child. We met with/had him examined by two different pediatric dentists, one of the PDs took full-mouth x-rays, we did a LOT of research online, and we talked with a lot of people who told us stories, good & bad. It was clear that crowns & general anesthesia were the right move *for the amount of decay* our son had and his age (too much repair to do when he was awake).

We were not willing to wait more than a few months. We learned that decay moves very rapidly in primary/baby teeth -- because the enamel is much thinner. If we didn't have a dentist promptly remove the decay & protect the affected tooth material, the decay would move into the root area and eventually affect the gums and permanent teeth that are waiting for their turn.

When my son's permanent molar starts moving into place above his gap (where the baby molar was pulled), it will be time to put in a spacer to maintain the gap for the several more years before the permanent molar pushes down into place.

Nowadays he never has chewy candy (mostly to protect the crowns); we are careful to have actual snack times rather than grazing all day; WE brush his teeth twice a day; we swipe his teeth with fluoride gel daily after the bedtime brushing; and he has dental checkups twice a year. And we say a little prayer that this will make a big improvement in his chances for good dental health for the rest of his life.

Good sites:
American Academy of Pediatric Dentists

Best of luck in your decision!

Mom to Joe (7) & John (3)
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Old 03-16-2003, 03:56 PM
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Hiya, thought I would add my 2 cents worth too. My son, now 8 has had 5 teeth removed and has 2 stainless steel crowns. He had the teeth out because he had abcesses (sp) underneath and they can cause a virus which goes to the brain. This was done under anaesthetic so he was none the wiser. I'm not sure if it's different in the States, but here we have a mobile dentist van which visits schools and as i'm a SAHM, I didn't have to pay for the hospital trip at all. My dentist told us that some kids just have these teeth, she advised me to put him on fluoride tablets and I also had to knock him off juice. My thinking about the juice was that if he wouldn't eat a piece of fruit, if I gave him 100% juice it would equate to the same, but obviously not so.

My suggestion (and i'm definitely no expert) would be to get a second opinion if you think it's necessary and if you can get fluoride tablets then that may slow down the process as it toughens the exterior of the teeth, to my knowledge anyway. We have fluoride in our water here but it isn't enough for children that have a high-caries rate. Also, see if you can have it done whilst your child is knocked out, I know it may sound severe for this problem, but at least the fear of the dentist might not kick in until a bit later, if it will. Just my opinion
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