3 and a half year old with 9 cavities.. - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 8 Old 10-04-2012, 11:36 AM - Thread Starter
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My son has shown signs of decay on his front teeth since around his second birthday, and I brought him in to the dentist last summer, but they said he was too young. So I took him again in January this year, they checked his teeth and said since he was still 2 months from his third birthday, to bring him again in the summer. So this July we went back, and they said he has 9 cavities but because of his age he will need some sedation, so they referred us to a pediatric dentist. We met with the dentist this Monday, and he told me that because of his age he recommends anesthesia in the local children's hospital while all the teeth are filled in one day. I asked about nitrous oxide instead, and he's set me up to see his associate next Tuesday to talk to her about that. But he said with nitrous he still may not be a candidate, plus he would need more than one appointment to get all the teeth filled. So, on Tuesday we will find out if he is even a candidate for the nitrous..


Now, I am so scared and I don't know what to choose. The nitrous would be done in the dentist's office, while the GA would be done in the hospital and monitored. There are clearly pros and cons to each, and I think the GA would be the easier option, but I am so scared of having my little guy put under. I have always been so careful with his health and his care, and the very small risk of brain damage or death scares me to no end... Please, anyone who's been there or has advice, please help me out?


I have called around looking for other dentists who will do the fillings for him without sedation, and they've all told me that they only do it without sedation if the child can sit and co-operate through the entire procedure. I know my son would not. All of the other places I've called also do not use nitrous on children at all, and only do GA...

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#2 of 8 Old 10-06-2012, 11:38 AM
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My daughter had 3 cavities at that age.  We found a dentist in the Chicago suburbs that would give her an antihistamine sedative and then do the work, in 2 sessions, as I recall.  This dentist also had a very firm no-nonsense manner that my daughter actually respected.  With other dentists, she would do her screaming tantrum routine and they'd all try to coddle her, which didn't work.  

I don't think nitrous was an option with anybody.


If she had 9 cavities, I'm not sure which way I would have chosen.   That's a lot.


We did see a pediatric dentist associated with our HMO, who wanted the anesthetic IV sedation, but I really didn't like him on an intuitive gut level, so I didn't take that path.    

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#3 of 8 Old 10-06-2012, 12:00 PM
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Dd1 had 2 deep cavities that needed 'baby root canals' and caps, 2 cavities that needed to be filled and 4 teeth that had shadows that he cleaned up and put a seal on (When she was 3.5 years).  All of this was done in 1 appt. with antihistamine sedation, nitrous, and local anesthesia, and a cleaning, all in one appt.  DD did pretty well considering and it was only a 30 minute appt.  


If I had to choose though, I may go the hospital route to get it all done at the same time.  It sounds like a scary situation either way, but I would prefer just to have it all done in one appt.  

SAHM to Chloe«- 6/2008 (10 lbs, 5 oz), Hannah- 9/2010 (9 lbs, 12 oz), Liam- 2/2013 (9 lbs, 6 oz)

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#4 of 8 Old 10-06-2012, 12:13 PM
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Too young? My daughter's pedi dentist did extensive work on my dd when she was 2 1/2, under ga at a surgical center. If we had waited she would have lost those teeth.


Eta...it was scary, but we had no complications. We were with her until they took her back and he updated us during, and then we went back again to recovery.

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#5 of 8 Old 10-06-2012, 12:27 PM
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Both of my sons have had terrible teeth problems.  :(  My little one is 3 1/2 now and is about to get 9 pulpotomies (hopefully they won't all be that deep, but our dentist doesn't do x-rays until the child is under, so that is worst case scenario depending on what the x-rays look like).  My older one had one pulpotomy and got six other crowns (so 7 crowns all together) when he was 3 1/2 (never had another cavity!  woot!).


Anyway...  my husband was so, so scared of the IV sedation.  We did it because there really wasn't a good alternative when there was so much and deep work to be done.  For some reason I was able to steel myself to it and just kind of not think about it until it was over.  I felt pretty sure that it was the right thing to do and was pretty comfortable with my decision.  Dh, OTOH, did not breathe for the 2 hours or so that the surgery was going on.  And he is now terrified of doing it again.  :(  


But overall it was a pretty good experience the first time.  Ds hardly knew that anything had happened and continued to LOVE going to the dentist after that.  Of course, when they have no idea, you can't later say "we need to brush your teeth so you don't get cavities like before...," because they don't care.  lol  But I am so happy that there was nothing traumatic about it for him.  Even though his teeth were in such horrible shape, I don't think he ever once felt any pain from them or from having them fixed.  The dentist did a beautiful job, too!  When I first saw his new teeth I was so sad!  They weren't his teeth, yk (though his teeth were not pretty teeth, of course), he looked so different from before, but within a couple of days I was totally used to them, and I really appreciated how nice they looked.  For the previous year and a half or more, I had felt sad and guilty whenever I looked at them.  


I'm really thankful that he was never scared.  I was able to hold him until he was out.  He did wake up without me, but he was very groggy and cranky (wasn't quite expecting that as he was rarely cranky at that age), and disoriented enough that I don't think he was worried about me not being there, and I think they came and got me pretty soon after he first opened his eyes.  


I really can't wait until our little one's surgery is behind us.  It's less stressful this time because I know how it goes, but ugh, it's pretty stressful.  Good luck in your decision!

Jayne, sewing up a storm mama to ds1 9/03, ds2 2/09, and 2 sweet furbabies.

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#6 of 8 Old 10-09-2012, 11:04 AM - Thread Starter
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Thank you. I am leaning toward the hospital GA one day procedure. It scares me a lot but I've read a lot of experiences here and spoke with a friend who went that route and they really are attentive and they know what they are doing in the hospital. I'm meeting with the second dentist today to discuss nitrous, but he may not be a candidate and the more I've thought of it the more I don't like the idea of having it done 3-4 or more times to him just to fix these teeth..

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#7 of 8 Old 10-15-2012, 06:11 PM
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Wow, that sounds so stressful.  I am taking my 4-yr-old daughter to the dentist tomorrow for the 1st time.  I just have not had the $200 for cleaning, x-rays and all that until now.  But people told me (including my neighbor who is a dental hygenist) that it was ok to wait until now.  I am sorry for what you are going through with your kid, and now a little stressed out about tomorrow to see what they find!  Best of luck to you!

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#8 of 8 Old 10-15-2012, 06:39 PM
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So sorry to hear you are having to deal with this!  I wanted to offer support as someone who went through a similar situation.  During a routine dental check up we discovered my 5 year old had 2-3 cavities.  He suffers from significant anxiety, so it was difficult to get a good look at his teeth at the time.  Our dentist was more than happy taking a wait and see approach, and possibly doing the fillings in her office.  After the appointment one of the cavities abscessed and he had to be on abx.  Because of his anxiety we fretted over just doing the general anesthesia at the hospital.  He was in quite a bit of pain because of his teeth and so we decided to do anesthesia and just get it over with.


I have to say, this was the best thing we could have ever done!  We ended up finding out that he actually had 8 cavities filled, and a tooth pulled!  By the afternoon of the procedure he was like a completely different kid!  The pain was gone, he was running around happy and totally fine.  It was stressful being at the hospital and thinking of my baby under anesthesia, but it was so much less stressful than a non-compliant child in the office.  Also, I did energy work with him after the procedure to clear his field of the effects of anesthesia.  Do you know anyone in your area that does energy work?  If not, I can share some things you could do to clear his field :) Hope that helps.  Feel free to PM me if you want more details :)

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