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Is it necessary to fix/fill cavities in "baby" teeth? - Page 2

post #21 of 64
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post #22 of 64
I thought I had made up my mind about what I wanted to do with my 1.5 yo son's teeth, but I am so torn.

Apparently his enamel never formed well in utero, so now he is more suseptable to decay. I've seen 3 pediadontist so far. #1 didn't tell me squat and wanted to cap all his teeth (the top ones). #2 said that he has enamel problems and needs GA which he doesn't do. #3 said she couldn't tell what caused it, but the cavities seem very hard but wanted to do a flouride treatment (covering the teeth with a very high flouride mix). I was not okay with that so I left with the advice to have my son sedated in their office with an anest. present.

I was guessing that is what I need to do as I don't seem to have an option...but we always have choices right?

I also have not been able to get ANYONE to give my DS an xray, they won't do it until he's under. He is not at all cooperative and even though I do like the pediadontist I most recently saw, I'm still not completely happy. I have a consulatation with the anesthesialogist in a few weeks so I guess I'll see how that goes.

What gets to me is no one can really tell me how bad things are or how much of an ergency it is to fix them right away.

My sister works at a regular dentists office and offered to do an xray, I am now considering that.

The added alkalizing minearls me and ds have been taking I belive to be helping. I need to get some xylitol though.

Kim
post #23 of 64
It's no longer true that dentists will not see kids until the age of 3. Dentists now recommend the first dental visit come BEFORE a child turns 1 year old, even if they have no teeth. They should see a pediatric dentist, NOT a regular dentist.

And those dentists who are choosing to do nothing about a child's tooth decay....when were they trained? Nowadays to do absolutely nothing is almost unheard of. Studies show that decay in baby teeth can affect the permanent teeth. losing baby teeth too soon can affect speech and eating habits and can also make it more difficult for the permanent teeth to come in properly.

I agree there's often not a pressing need for extractions or even fillings, but to just sit and watch baby teeth progressively erode from decay seems unconscionable to me.
post #24 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by MCatLvrMoMof2 View Post
Nursing actually helps prevent caries not cause them. There is a excellent article here about that. http://www.hpakids.org/holistic-heal...ities/print/20
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I had to comment on this because I wrote her second reference! LOL. I used to freelance for NIDCR and helped write that piece (well before I had any kids).

BFing and decay is a controversial topic. It's hard to study because so few kids nurse long enough to have enough teeth to study.

My DD had decay on her 1-yr molars by the time she was 17 months old (and still nursing day and night). I firmly believe the night nursing contributed to the decay (coupled with food particles from solids). Exclusive breastfeeding may prevent decay, but once you introduce other types of sugars, IMHO all bets are off.

It's also a genetic crapshoot. My younger daughter is 15 mos and I have an eagle eye on her 1-yr molars. So far they look fine, so it's possible her teeth are just better, or her molars don't have the deep grooves in them that can trap food and bacteria.
post #25 of 64
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by nancy926 View Post
It's no longer true that dentists will not see kids until the age of 3. Dentists now recommend the first dental visit come BEFORE a child turns 1 year old, even if they have no teeth. They should see a pediatric dentist, NOT a regular dentist.

And those dentists who are choosing to do nothing about a child's tooth decay....when were they trained? Nowadays to do absolutely nothing is almost unheard of. Studies show that decay in baby teeth can affect the permanent teeth. losing baby teeth too soon can affect speech and eating habits and can also make it more difficult for the permanent teeth to come in properly.

I agree there's often not a pressing need for extractions or even fillings, but to just sit and watch baby teeth progressively erode from decay seems unconscionable to me.
Nancy926, it sounds like you have a lot of great information! Thank you for sharing that, I had no idea that dentists saw such young children (babies I should say ).

I did want to say though (I guess in an effort to defend myself, as I am a parent that watched as her son's teeth kept looking worse and worse) that I don't feel that my choice was "unconscionable". There were (and are) a LOT of factors surrounding this for us. Ignorance (on our part), a really bad dentist who shared bad advice with us, and no access to a pediatric dentist (until now that we have moved). Also, and I think that this led mostly to Dh and I avoiding the issue, was the thought of such a small child being asked to go through a dental exam. Even now at 2 1/2 it was so traumatic for my son that I doubt that he will willingly enter a dental office for quite a while. While I do understand that I may have made a mistake in waiting as long as I did, I also don't think that I slighted my son in any way, nor did I not have his best interests in mind.

I definately appreciate your opinion, and am hopeful you won't take offense to my response here

And on another note:
Quote:
It's also a genetic crapshoot. My younger daughter is 15 mos and I have an eagle eye on her 1-yr molars. So far they look fine, so it's possible her teeth are just better, or her molars don't have the deep grooves in them that can trap food and bacteria.
This is so interesting isn't it. My oldest nursed the same way and for as long as my youngest. They are saying my youngest's decay is likely due to night nursing....yet my oldest's teeth look pretty good. I know each child is unique, why shouldn't their teeth be too, but it still amazes me how different each one is (in all sorts of ways), though they came from the same 2 parents!!
post #26 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by nancy926 View Post
I had to comment on this because I wrote her second reference! LOL. I used to freelance for NIDCR and helped write that piece (well before I had any kids).

BFing and decay is a controversial topic. It's hard to study because so few kids nurse long enough to have enough teeth to study.

My DD had decay on her 1-yr molars by the time she was 17 months old (and still nursing day and night). I firmly believe the night nursing contributed to the decay (coupled with food particles from solids). Exclusive breastfeeding may prevent decay, but once you introduce other types of sugars, IMHO all bets are off.

It's also a genetic crapshoot. My younger daughter is 15 mos and I have an eagle eye on her 1-yr molars. So far they look fine, so it's possible her teeth are just better, or her molars don't have the deep grooves in them that can trap food and bacteria.
Our ped dentist hinted that five-year-old ds's 23 mths of breastfeeding (without me wiping the milk off teeth and gums after) contributed to his six cavities. However, two-year-old dd, who breastfed for 27 mths and much more often at night than ds, just went in for her first check-up and the ped dentist said her teeth are great, no concerns at all. I really didn't do anything different with her. The only difference is that ds used to hold food in his mouth for hours. I just don't think the breastfeeding had anything to do with his decay.
post #27 of 64
My two oldest had cavities at 4 years old. They both got them filled. : They have since gotten coverings over permanent teeth to protect them from getting cavities in them. When it comes to their teeth I don't want them to have aches and pains. I know the cavities had to hurt back then, baby teeth or not, and so we got them filled. I didn't think twice about it. I was also told that it could possibly mess up the permanent teeth, although not definitely.

My youngest who is 4 now had a cavity earlier this year and I was told that it was because she still drank from a sippy cup before bed and that she shouldn't be given milk that way anymore. I don't feel that's what it was. I think it was just the fact that we weren't brushing her teeth good enough since the cavity was in a tooth further back in her mouth. I think dentists sometimes just say something and don't really know what they think they know. They use bottlefeeding, breastfeeding and sippy cups as an excuse when they can't possibly know what caused it. They just go by what the parents tell them they do at home.
post #28 of 64

Still confused

It's amazing how many of us in similar situations get such completely different advice. With my DS we have gone to 6 dentists so far (in 2 different countries - Netherlands and Ireland), 2 of whom were ped specialists. There was large variation in opinions as to the cause of the issue, but the only thing that all of them agreed on was that there is no need to 'fix' the teeth at the moment. DS's teeth condition seems to now be stabilizing but we will keep a close eye on it with our new ped hygenist - he is not in pain, the worst affected tooth still has a decent sized stub before the gum and there is no sign of abcesses.

One of the specialists is a professor in a leading ped research dental hospital. He was the one that put it down to in utero enamel development issues. In fact he said that there was no plaque or bacteria on my DS's teeth at all. Therefore a flouride seal (which I requested) or adding flouride to his diet or toothpaste would not help - he said that too much flouride would make the condition worse! This is why he also says that capping/filling the teeth now would be purely cosmetic.

Here many of you have different opinions and experiences on this subject, but I am still not convinced that work is required now to protect his adult teeth. I don't want to subject the little man to any kind of treatment unless it is absolutely necessary. Would anyone have recommendations for further reading on this matter - preferably nonbiased research-based information? I really want to feel that I have made a totally informed decision on this and not just based on a small number of opinions - dentists or mothers (even if they are of the mega knowledgeable MDC variety ).
post #29 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by eleanorm View Post
Would anyone have recommendations for further reading on this matter - preferably nonbiased research-based information? I really want to feel that I have made a totally informed decision on this and not just based on a small number of opinions - dentists or mothers (even if they are of the mega knowledgeable MDC variety ).
I would think that the most important reason for having a cavity filled would be for the "pain" factor (I've had them, they hurt off and on but they hurt). A child feels pain in the tooth just as an adult would. I've had cavities before and I've been told that cavities do in fact lead to worse things for the teeth if not taken care of in a timely manner. Why chance it if there's a chance it could affect their perm teeth? But most of all why make them have pain in their tooth when something can be done about it?
post #30 of 64
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by mommy68 View Post
I would think that the most important reason for having a cavity filled would be for the "pain" factor (I've had them, they hurt off and on but they hurt). A child feels pain in the tooth just as an adult would. I've had cavities before and I've been told that cavities do in fact lead to worse things for the teeth if not taken care of in a timely manner. Why chance it if there's a chance it could affect their perm teeth? But most of all why make them have pain in their tooth when something can be done about it?
Thats the thing though, my little guy doesn't feel any pain. He doesn't say he does without me asking, and when I do ask, he says "Nope". So, while I'm waiting for his appt with a pediadontist (she isn't there till March and I have yet to find anyone else in our state), I'd also love to read up on this more and see really what are the benefits and drawbacks of getting the work doen vs waiting. I understand about the effects that the decay may (or may not) have on the permanent teeth. But I'm just so curious, especially after reading elenorm's reply what the "science" is behind the different recommendations we are getting.
Also, no x-rays were done on my son, so I'm also wondering now how can they tell he has 3 abcesses without x-rays?? Anyone know if they would be visible from the outside (he has no abnormal looking areas on his gums, but I'm also no expert ). I'm just getting more and more curious, as I evaluate all that you all are saying, and get a bit farther away from my MIL's dental office (not to say the DDS isn't good there, just saying there was no room for argument at ALL!!)
post #31 of 64
Add me to the list of mama's that feel guilt over their child's teeth. I too didn't like how she cried when I brushed her teeth. She hated strangers so much I didn't want her traumatized by the dentist. I don't like going to the dentist myself and I didn't want my DD to have the same experiences. While my intent was good, the result wasn't.

My oldest DD went to the dentist shortly before her 5th birthday. She was ready and did great. I had researched and found a good ped dentist near my home. However dental results were not good. She had at least 8 cavities in her back molars. I could even see one. (I don't know how I missed that.) I cried in the office I felt so bad and responsible.

We elected to do 2 treatments, with medication and her being tied down by a board. It didn't keep her out the whole time and she woke and screamed, but she doesn't remember it. It was pretty traumatic for both DH and I though. I was really impressed with the density. She did a great job. Pediatric density is not easy. I was so guilty I was ready to give the poor kid anything she asked for when we were done. She never felt any pain from it (the cavities or the fillings.)

Now she says DD has slight decay on the back of her 2 top teeth. Since they should come out in the next 2 years we have decide to keep an eye on it and are letting her chew sugar free gum (I need to get more.) and use fluoride treatments on it.

My youngest I was good and brought her when she was around 20 months old. The density said it appears she has had some trauma to her top teeth. When I talked with a friend she said almost every kid has, (with falls and all.) So we are "keeping an eye on it."

Still I have learned my lesson. Prevention is better. In the end even with good insurance it cost us over $600. It would have been a lot less if we used sliver fillings, but they aren't as good and don't look good. That is the only reason I can think of why the OP dentist wanted to do silver, $ or insurance reasons.

Hugs to all the guilty feeling mama's. I am right there with you. Get them fixed though. The sooner the better.

Both of my girls nursed long term, (27 moths and now 28 months old and still nursing.) By 14 months old both had stopped night nursing and nursing to fall asleep though. They mostly nursed when they woke up.
post #32 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by Earth Angel View Post
Thats the thing though, my little guy doesn't feel any pain. He doesn't say he does without me asking, and when I do ask, he says "Nope".
My 4 yr old daughter would tell me that her cheek was sore every now and then and that's how I knew it must be a cavity and sure enough when I took her (without me telling the dentist first) they said they saw a small cavity. They said her's was very tiny, just beginning to get noticeable when they took care of her's a few months ago and she was already telling me she could feel it. Her cheek pain went away shortly after it was filled. When my next to oldest son had a cavity at age 4 he didn't seem to feel his and he had 3! Maybe some kids feel pain better than others.

Quote:
Also, no x-rays were done on my son, so I'm also wondering now how can they tell he has 3 abcesses without x-rays?? Anyone know if they would be visible from the outside (he has no abnormal looking areas on his gums, but I'm also no expert ).
I'm no expert as far as "how" they see the cavities without doing an xray but I've had dental hygienists tell me I've had them in the past when they didn't do an xray first as well as my children. In fact, I was told that the xray just confirms the fact that they've seen a cavity and tells them how deep it has gone at that point.
post #33 of 64
Thread Starter 
For the cavities I do understand that they simply use the x-ray for confirmation, but for *abcesses* I just don't get how they would know without an x-ray because it would be in the root of the tooth (he needs at least 3 root canals they are saying due to trama he had when he was a baby). I'm just curious if there are other signs, or they are just assuming and since he wouldn't let them do x-rays they will confirm exactly what needs doing once they get at him when he is under.

Re the pain. That is really interesting how that all worked out for your daughter. I'm glad it all got taken care of when it was small....that is always so much better. Thank you also for the suggestion to watch out for things like this too. He hasn't said anything like that, but I definately didn't think about the pain presenting as anything else but a tooth ache!
post #34 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by Earth Angel View Post
I did want to say though (I guess in an effort to defend myself, as I am a parent that watched as her son's teeth kept looking worse and worse) that I don't feel that my choice was "unconscionable".
Ack, I didn't mean you!! I meant dentists who didn't treat advanced decay!

I can understand parents being afraid to take children to the dentist, and figuring that as long as they didn't seem to be in pain that it might even be better to just wait and see. But a dentist just watching decay get worse and worse is like a doctor watching a skin infection spread and doing nothing about it. At some point, ya gotta DO something, yk?

I can see the decay in my older DD's molars- it's little gray spots. Without an X-ray they find decay by looking for those spots, and by sticking a little ice-pick-like thing into the teeth. If it sticks, there's decay there, and the stickier the tooth is the worse the decay is.

Xylitol (a sugar substitute) has been shown to reverse early decay and help prevent it. If you're not into fluoride, xylitol would be a good alternative. It's in some gum, a few hard candies and should soon be in toothpaste if it isn't already.
post #35 of 64
We are in a similar situation. I first took ds to the dentist last spring when he was about 20 months old. The dentist noticed some deterioration in his front four teeth but suggested we work on it over the summer with lots of good brushing and limited sugar. We did this, and ds continued to nurse during the day and night. We went back for our follow up appt and were immediately referred to a pediatric dental surgeon as ds will need to have treatment for all of the reasons others have listed in this thread (concerns about infection, affect on adult teeth, pain etc). The two treatment options we have for the four cavities are a) no sedative and strapped to a restraining board and b) GA in the hospital.
I have been restling with this for months now and am not able to come to a decision. The risk of complications while under GA, coupled with the no food or nursing the night before surgery (I would have to sleep away from ds - in another house - for this to work and then likely not see him before the surgery as I don't think he could see me and not nurse if he wasn't allowed to eat etc) vs the obvious trauma of being strapped to a board for 40 minutes while the dentist goes about his work. I just don't know. My little boy is now 28 months old and is a very sensitive and cautious kid. I am very concerned about the short and longterm effects the restraint board experience would have on him. Not just in terms of his feellings about the dentist but the overall trauma of the experience. As an example - ds frequently play acts a game where his toy animals run and hide only to be found "crying" because they have to go to the dentist. He has only been twice and both times he sat on my lap crying and screaming while the dentist talked to me and hardly went near his mouth other than a brief 20 second overview... I just don't know what to do. Typing this out I am leaning towards the restraint board because with that option I can be there with him and the situation does not have the scary possible complications of GA... I just don't know. And I would welcome any friendly and respectful input/discussion.

Thanks
post #36 of 64

netherland health

quite frankly, i lean more towards what eleanorm says bc she is in the netherlands. As an ap parent, the studies coming out of the netherlandsseems the best for mortality and health. the us's are some of the worst for developed countries and i think that this has a lot to do with how the whole industry is enslaved to the biomedical shareholders. we have some problems but we're trying to help with nutition.

Some weeks ago i read an article on yahoo news. it was about how medical scientists have discovered a new disease where the subject is so lazy they don't breathe. In the same article, it mentioned a new drug that it would be introduced to treat this new disease.
It would be wishful and ignorant to think that american dentistry would not be a system based on meeting its own ends as well.
post #37 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by nancy926 View Post
BFing and decay is a controversial topic. It's hard to study because so few kids nurse long enough to have enough teeth to study.
Yes, but you can look at prehistoric skulls of infants and young children, which almost never have caries - less than 1%, IIRC. I think Brian Palmer is the dentist who's analyzed all that. They nursed for an extended time and they ate food. They also didn't brush their teet. Their kids still didn't have cavities. It's easy to blame nursing, but it absolutely MUST be something else. If nursing was the problem, then prehistoric infant and toddler skulls would have decay. It could be that our own diets degrade our milk to the point that it isn't as easy on the teeth, but even that would just mean we need to change our own diets, not stop night nursing.

I really have a hard time understanding why that isn't clear. (And I don't mean that in a snarky way at all!!! ) Could you explain to me why you believe that night nursing toddlers did not cause cavities 10,000 years ago, but it does today?
post #38 of 64
plummeting, that's kind of scary. Could processed junk be as bad for us as our unborn children? is seems all too reasonable to think so, bc if they tell us to start a prenatal before trying to concieve it means that they get important nutrients from us and mainly our store.
My third is the one with the teeth problems. I found out I was pregnant with her while I was nursing and dealing with all kinds of infections. My stomach and urinary system was rot, so I couldn't even tolerate vitamins. Thank God she was fine but she was also my smallest and most fragile like. I could only nurse 14 months bc I had to have my wisdom pulled (pain, pain, pain!) and after she drank soy milk. She just didn't like cow milk. But now, I have to wonder if my mineral stores were difficient all along.
post #39 of 64
That's too bad they told you that you had to wean for that. We nursed right through having my wisdom teeth removed. Well, I mean, not through the procedure, but it was done over a year ago and we're still nursing.

I do think processed junk food is that bad for us. They find trans-fats in the milk of mothers who eat them and we all know how bad those are for us. God only knows what other crud that we eat passes through our milk. DD's dentist also said that toxins in the environment and poor diet can make our milk more acidic, which can have negative effects on the teeth. (She's a really pro-extended nursing dentist who is just finishing her PhD in holistic nutrition.)
post #40 of 64
i got sedation and I was taking high doses of pain killers, and I didn't want her to get that in her system. And I was taking them for a while.
Wow, you really scored with your dentist. Thank God!
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