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4 year old with extensive dental work needed- so scared

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 

My four year old just got back from the dentist.

This is his treatment plan:

extraction of back two molars.

3 crowns (back top and one beside)

and two small fillings in front.

THey want to do GA in an outpatient clinic. I am wrapping my head around the fact that he has to go under and I won't have any choice in the matter and it's what's best for him. But I am still so, so scared. Neither of my children have ever been under.


This is so much worse than I thought it would be. I would have guessed he needed the crowns and fillings, but not the extractions. We knew he had two cavities but never knew it would be this bad. I am devistated and feel like such a failure.


I know I am sounding like such a cry baby and feeling sorry for myself, but I am scared to death about him going under.

I'd appreciate any words of encouragement or helpful stories. Specifically if your child went under in an outpatient setting. Thank you so much!

post #2 of 18

We went through a much less intentsive procedure and I feel you pain, I was shocked and saddened that our son had to get work done.  I will share our experiences as well as some from a friend who had a very similar situation as yours.


Our regular dentist had referred our son to a pedi dentist when he discovered a cavity as well as two other areas that were on the cusp of needing attention.  I was not happy, at all, with the pedi dentist or his treatment plan.  GA was tossed around but ended up not being needed.


I went back to our family dentist and discussed it with him and he gave me valid reasons on why going with the pedi dentist was the right course of action.  Much of his reasoning is that it was very important that our son have a good experience with the dentist and part of that good experience was being as pain free and relaxed as possible.  I can't remember the type of drugs they gave him but it was stuff to put him in a very relaxed state.  


Our family dentist is very bare bones, he only does what is necessary, never pushes extras, is the first to take a wait and see approach so I was sort of surprised by his recommendation and told him so.  He said adversion to dental care is a huge problem for adults, that he sees adults every day that delay treatment until very serious (and expensive) problems arise because they had bad experiences at the dentist as children.  I became more accepting of the treatment plan after he told me this.


Can you get a second opinion?  I have a friend whose 5 yo daughter had horrible dental problems.  Her first dentist said GA was the only option, period.  She got a second opinion and that dentist worked out a treatment plan that didn't require GA.  It did take several office visits but she was very happy with the overall experience.  


Why are extractions needed?

post #3 of 18

DS1 had to have a GA for a simple operation he needed when he was about 3. It wasn't an outpatient setting, he was in hospital, but I totally hear your fear. I was absolutely terrified about it. Also, where we live, they don't let the parents in at all, so he was taken away and given the GA without us there. We fought hard on that, but to no avail. Anyway, he was absolutely fine and there were no problems at all. They were also very gentle with him and he doesn't seem to have any bad memories of the experience. He talks quite happily about when they put the mask on and his stay in hospital. I certainly did lose a lot of sleep over it though. Everything will be just fine - and don't be so hard on yourself. I needed a lot of dental treatment when I was seven. Since then, I've had very strong teeth and very little work needed.


But yes, having said that, totally agree with Caneel on getting a second opinion.

post #4 of 18
Thread Starter 

Thank you for your replies.

They said that the back two teeth are infected and that is why they need extracting (he has never complained of pain). To be honest, the look horrible. I had noticed some brown tinging to them about a month and a half ago when we made the appointment to get in. THen just last week I looked in and what had been a small line before was a gaping hole. I had no idea how quickly that could happen.


I did night nurse him until he was almost 2. He is 4 and a half now. We have an 11 month old and I am already freaking out about his teeth.


I have had a lot of dental problems in my life as well... we are starting some of the regimens I found on here to try to make sure this doesn't happen to our youngest, but it's far to late for the older.


I am shocked they want to do the crowns on the other teeth because the only visible cavities are the back two bottom. However, the front two teeth he has a very faint staining and they said that those are "mini cavities" and they will fill those while they are in there. Which also surprised me given that they aren't noticeable and will probably fall out soon (he got his first four teeth at four months, so I'm just guessing).


That being said, the dentist was extremely kind, helpful, etc. I am also scared about the cost.... we have dental that pays for i believe 50% of each crown, but I think we have a maximum benefit of 1500 per child. Plus our medical will have to kick in for the outpatient which is a 500 deductible since he hasn't used it this year and then 20%. Holy moly....


THere aren't that many pediatric dentists here, and I know the other one in town is a quack. However, thereis one about an hour away in a small town that I have heard great things about. I think we will take him in for a second opinion. Cant hurt.

post #5 of 18
Thread Starter 

Oh and where we live they do not let you accompany them back which is also just ridiculous If myself or dh could go bck with him i wouldn't freak out nearly as much. That is a lot to put on a four year old.

post #6 of 18

My youngest had to have work done under ga last year, she was 2. It was scary but we had the nurses and anesthesiologist explain everything to us and we stayed with her until right before the procedure. The dentist also came out once to let us know how things were going with her. As soon as he was done we were taken to recovery with her and I held her while she was waking up. She was a little grumpy for the rest of the day but we had no complications. 

post #7 of 18
Thread Starter 
Thank you ladies for your help and storied. We are seeing another dentist tomorrow. Its an hour drive, but I need a second opinion for my own sanity. I just feel like such a bad mom. And I was a teacher before I was a stay at home mom! How did I let this happen to my little one? I am so afraid of something happening to him while he is under :-(
post #8 of 18

You are definitely not a bad Mom!! There just isn't much knowledge about this happening to kids. At least I wasn't knowledgeable about it at all! My son was put under at 23 months old. He had started having cavities just after his 1st b-day. We were in no way doing GA because we were scared, and we thought we could prevent any further damage by proper oral hygiene. I was wrong.. by the time he was 22 months, his top 4 teeth were so far beyond fixable (they were infected), that they had to be pulled and his top 2 molars were bad enough, that they had to be capped. It was scary. I cried when he went to sleep because he cried and fought the gas mask and I had to hold his hands so he would not grab it away. My DH was also crying. The nurses and everyone were looking at us like we were crazy.. It was just hard to put the safety of our son in their hands.


Then when it was over, I was definitely not prepared for how he would be when he woke up. He was so disoriented, couldn't even hold his head up. And I didn't know there would be blood in his mouth, and an IV still in his hand.. It was just horrible to see my son like that. They gave him apple juice and freezie's and he eventually became about half normal after 25 minutes or so. We had a long drive home and he slept the whole way. Then as soon as we got home, he was completely himself. He was happy and in no pain whatsoever. It made me think that he was in pain while he had his teeth. It was like he was relieved that they were gone. I was expecting for him to be down and out for a day or two, but he was completely normal. I was so happy to see him like that! Now we've been brushing 3 times a day, flossing every night before bed, and at 30 months, he's got completely no problems with his teeth. Other than the fact that he's missing a few ;) lol. 


All in all, It's a scary thing, and I wouldn't wanna do it again. But it was necessary due to the infections. And I keep thinking that if i did it sooner, it would have been easier for him, and he wouldn't have had to deal with bad teeth for so long. But I was so happy with the pediatric dentist that we used. She was friendly and eased all our worries. They were very good about letting us be there when he was put to sleep and be there when he woke up, so that he didn't know we had to leave. I would stress that you find a good dentist to do the work! That could ease a lot of worry. I'm sorry that you have to do GA with your son. It's hard to trust your kids with anyone other than yourself. 


I'm hoping that my story doesn't scare you even more, but prepares you a little. I wish someone would have told me what to expect. I think it would've taken a bit of the shock away.


God bless, and hope everything turns out great! :)

post #9 of 18
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the story. I am so much of a planner that I need to know wha tto expect! I have been wraacking my brain thinking what we have been doing wrong. I just wnat to ensure that this doesnt' happen to DS2.

Two things come to mind. First is that earlier this year he had a "mystery illness". He threw up in his sleep for a month straight after a stomach flu. When I was just llooking at "safe teeth drinks for kids" I read that stomach acid is the absolute worst thing for teeth! Ped GI said DS's stomach had basically become paralyzed and he was on a course of prevacid for months which cleared up the vomitting.

Second thing: the child LOVES "just jelly" sandwhiches. Apparently probably the worst thing he can eat.


I know that I am to blame too... we do allow treats, I let him drink two cups of milk a day. But, we have never allowed juice except for at birthday parties, and he doesn't walk around eating gummies all day. I had no idea that carbs were so bad for teeth.


This is so horrible :( I am goign to be a mess until we get this whole thing taken care of. I wish I could just wave a magic wand and make him feel better :( The worst part is that they won't let us go back with him when they put him to sleep. I hate to think of my little sweet boy so scared by himself. I can't take it!

post #10 of 18
Oh Mama. That is so hard. I wish they would just let you come back with him! Is it the hospital policy? Or the dentist's policy? You said you are getting a second opinion. Hopefully they will be better all around and make you feel more comfortable. We ended up seeing 3 different dentists until we found the one that we were comfortable with.

Hugs to you and I hope this is all over with soon!

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post #11 of 18

My son had GA to have all his cavities filled and 8, yes 8 Caps.  

We knew he needed extensive work around 4, but weren't able to get it done until 5. (he never complained nor did his teeth effect his eating/talking etc...)


He did fine.  We talked a lot about what was going to happen.  He doesn't remember much except playing in the play room prior to going back with the dentist.  The hardest part was afterwards when he was coming out of the GA.  Luckily all he wanted was to nurse, so that calmed him down.  


What helped a lot was the Anesthesiologist came out before and talked me through what was going to happen, what their back up plans were/are, and the fact that he's never had to use his back up plan.  (the procedure took place at the dentist's office)


Also, i knew that prior to the appointment I could get the number for the anesthesiologist and the dentist and talk to them about any questions and concerns I had.

post #12 of 18

I also wanted to say that Night Nursing had nothing to do with your child's teeth.


I think part of our problem was that his very early infant/toddler hood we were not good about brushing and flossing.  We've been VERY diligent for the past 2 years.  

He also would eat Raisins and organic fruit leather (sticky things are NOT good for teeth, makes sense NOW)


There's a chart at the dentists office about good treats v. bad treats. One of the bad treats I remember was goldfish.  yup, goldfish (not that we eat those anyway) and Raisins.  


Now, i try and remember to brush right after sticky treats.  


I think getting a second opinion is a very good idea.  It never hurts.  We went to 3 different pedi dentists before we found one my son was comfortable with. I also like them a LOT better and they encourage parents to accompany their child (not during the GA procedures, but for everything else).


I'd make sure to start brushing and flossing from the get go.  I'd also read up on re-mineralizing teeth and reversing decay.  I have some links if you like. 

post #13 of 18
Thread Starter 
I would love the links, thanks! I have been reading on here but there is so much information its overhwwelming! I wish I had started chewing xylitol gum at the birth of my ds2 but I will try now andmaybe it will still have an effect. I have been reading that night nursing can react with sugar already in the teeth at bedtime so I need to be more dligent about wiping down ds2's teeth before bed. We have always been diligent about brushing but not flossing. We were brushing ds1's teeth at morning and night but we are starting to brush after every meal and snack. Which is now like 5 times a day. I will let you guys know after the dentist today if his treatment plan is any different. Thanks again for the support. I don't even want one to tell anyone bc I feel so awful!!
post #14 of 18
Thread Starter 
Our second opinion was today. My husband took him and he loved the doctor. Dr said that there is a 75 percent chance he can save the worst tooth and a 90 percent chance that he can save the other one. He doesn't want to extraxt them unless its the last resort. He also said we can do it under ga at the hospital or sedate him with demoral and versed? We are researching further and calling our ped ect. I will be posting for opinions on that soon :-) I am just so happy that this doc seems to have our little ones best interestat heart.
post #15 of 18

I'm really glad you guys got a second opinion and he's a good fit for your family!  YAY


My friend visited more dentists then I did looking for the right one for her family.  So, know you are not alone.


Here are some of my dental links:



Okay, i thought i had more ... hmmm... i'll keep looking for you

post #16 of 18
post #17 of 18
Thread Starter 

UPDATE.... had first round of dental work done today... we were afraid the bottom tooth was starting to abcess (it was not, thankfully!) Had both pulp treatments done on molars on bottom and neither had to be removed (soooo happy about this!) He said even if the molar that was the worst ends up only lasting a couple more years, that will give us time to get his six year molars in and make it better for spacing, etc.


We ended up going with the sedation and it was actually wonderful. My LO did SO great, I am so proud of him. He was really conscious and not even that out of it. The doctor said they just mildly sedate them.


The dentist "contoured" his bottom teeth and I am having a hard time coming to terms with my LO's mouth now. He basically put spaces in between his bottom teeth where there were cavities beginning to form. His teeth were super close together and overlapping (dentist said he would probably need braces on his permanent teeth). I guess with the spaces it will keep things from between there and stopped whatever decay was happening. HIs teeth now resemble the teeth of a lot of children I know... as he explained you want them to look like picket fences in children. But it's still hard for me to come to grips with. He has two silver crowns on his molars and a white crown on one side in front of his molar where there was a cavity in between the teeth.


Now he needs one more appointment next month to do the top. This will include fillings in the back two molars, and fillings in the front three teeth. I am super nervous about getting his front teeth done and how it will look :( I am already upset about the bottom, so if the top front look al ot different its goign to be hard.


Thanks for all the moral support. I am so happy that he did not have to have teeth extrated as I know it would'vebeen bad since his back molars are not in yet especially. Now, he and my 12 month old (who I suspect has hte begginings of a cavity :( I have now night weaned double :( ) go bac kin July for round 2. we have time to decide whether to sedate him again. It will take two to three visits if we do not as opposed to one if we do. However, with the pulps done we have options as all the top teeth are minor.  

post #18 of 18

My 41/2 year old son was just put under.  he had a really big whole in his back bottom tooth. he was taken to rainbows babies and children hospital in downtown Cleveland. he ended up having a baby root canal done on the tooth with the hole, 5 stainless steal caps and some fillings. i didn't think they would be able to save the one tooth it had an infection but they did after the root canal they out a cap on it. i was sooo scared to see him be put under its now two days after having all that done and hes not complaining his mouth hurts anymore. the hard part is now he can not eat alot of foods that he used to like snackies those fruit snacks  and gum he always chewed on gum. but hes doing great now. 

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