Dr. Hall, I had a question for you. I was doing research for my 5 year old daughter and her dental needs. She has 4 upper molars that need work done. Her two first molars have small cavities, but they are pretty deep. The two se! cond molars have both lost some tooth structure due to decay – I believe about 30% of the tooth is lost. My first question is: What is your take on this? I wanted to know what what I can do for this. I don’t want her two second molars pulled unless that is my only choice. She has stated that the 2nd molar on the right side hurts when she chews down on it. I want to thoroughly do my research before I send her to a pediatric dentist. Every single dentist she has had, she has not let them do any work on her mouth, which is why its escalated to this point. She will most likely have to be put under sedation to get this done. I am not sure if she needs white fillings, bonding, or onlays. How should I proceed? Thank you and have a great day.
Colleen from Brooklyn
At the age of 5, she has only baby teeth in her mouth, but those teeth are needed to help her eat now, and also to hold the spaces for the permanent teeth. If those teeth are lost, she will need space maintainers or her permanent molars will drift forward and crowd out her permanent teeth, and her mouth will end up being a huge mess.
So go with the sedation, if that’s what it takes to get this done.
Your care and concern for your daughter shows in your questions. Your daughter now has gotten to a point where she needs some tough love, maybe tougher than you’re used to. The reason children at this age get so many cavities is because of their frequency of eating. Decay of the type you are describing, at her age, requires constant feeding all day long. If you give in to every request for food or treats, this is the result. But if you let your daughter go hungry for three or four hours so she can build up enough appetite for a regular meal, and do that consistently, you will guide her into a more healthy eating pattern, and you won’t have to deal with recurring dental disasters like this. Otherwise, plan on going through this ordeal on a regular basis.
Dental work on baby teeth is usually geared toward short-term maintenance of those teeth, because the teeth will fall out around age ten to twelve. So when a large portion of a baby molar is missing, a dentist will usually place a stainless steel crown or some other type of prefabricated crown, which will cost considerably less and take much less time than the precision crowns that are made for adult teeth.
Preparing your child for a dental appointment
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