32 answers

4 Year Old with Cavities

I am looking for other mother's experiences with the filling of cavities in children. I took my son to have it done and the whole experience to me seemed ridiculous (with a plastic nose with laughing gas, a metal thing that held open his mouth, a plastic "sheet" that covered the entire inside of his mouth). He did not have it done because he was too upset with everything.
He is normally very good and calm when it comes to the dentist and Drs.
Now his dentist is recommending sedation or being put to sleep for it. I refuse to believe the only way to have my son's cavities filled is to either drug him or put him to sleep in the hospital. He has weak enamel and may have to go through this again. I am in search of what a "normal" child's cavity filling visit is like. If this is the only way so be it but I felt that an adult would have a hard time with the way his pediatric dentist was doing it! Please help with experiences!!!

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

Thanks so much to everyone that responded. ESPECIALLY moms and professionals that took time to tell me cavity fillings do not have to be done this way! I did my research and found a local dentist with the same philosophy (it did not take long either!). I am thrilled to say my son had 4 cavities taken care of with no laughing gas, no novacaine,no sedation!! No drugs, imagine that!~ If your dentist says that is the only way, look around. Thanks again everyone!

Featured Answers

I agree with the doc on the sedation. I had three crowns put on around age 4 (I'm 25 now) and I think that is the single most terrifying moment in my whole life. (and i have been robbed at gunpoint) It was so painful to have that plastic "window" thing in my mouth. I remember like it was yesterday

Hi C.,

We had a similar experience with a ped. dentist, he wanted to sedate my son, put him a in straight jacket type restraint, use gas and do it all without us present...yikes! We said NO WAY and found Dr. Dean Kent in VA Beach near Mt Trashmore, he and his son Matthew are both wonderful!! My son has had many fillings done and even a few root canals and they are great, they just use the gas and novacaine when needed. Give them a try if they are near you, their number is ###-###-#### and you can tell them I sent you, S. Wheatley.

Good luck, its scary when the little folks need stuff done!
S.

My daughter has had cavities since she was three years old. We struggled with the family dentist for years. The pediatric dentist really did make a huge difference. At eight, she was able to have her first set of bite wings. I love the laughing gas. It really helped my daughter to relax. I would give the laughing gas another try. Maybe try another dentist. The dentist we used had my daughter so distracted, that the cavities were filled before she even knew what was happening.

More Answers

C.:
I've had my son at the dentist twice since he was 2 with a suspicion of weak enamel and possible decay. The Ped. Dentist told me that the issues with children that young are managing cooperation and fear. So until they can fully follow instructions like "Open, hold your mouth open, keep still, etc" that they have no choice but to use gas or completely sedate.HOWEVER - it's how the Dr. handles those things with your child that makes you feel OK about it or makes you seek out a dentist with a better bedside manner. Sounds like you need to find someone else. I asked a bunch of questions; "Is it necessary to fill these now? Are they bad enough? Can we halt any further decay until he's older and we don't have to sedate? At what point does this decay affect the permanent teeth that will come in later?" Our plan was to visit our Ped. Dentist every 3 to 6 months and have a SUPER dose of fluoride swabbed on. (very inexpensive - as we have no dental coverage)We brush with kid fluoride toothpaste 2 to 3 times daily, limit sweets, juices and he gets no soda. He is now 3 1/2 with no decay progression. I think our plan has halted the problem so that his permanent teeth will not be affected. When he is older if the problem arises I will prepare him for the office visit so we can get his cooperation. But like you - It was unacceptable to me to either restrain or sedate my toddler for this procedure - we did our homework and prevented the need for it now - and possibly for good! Blessings, S.

My son was a bit older (about 9 or 10) when he got his first cavity filled, but it wasn't that elaborate of a process. They simply used a shot of novacaine and then asked him to keep his mouth open during the drilling, etc. I suppose they might have wanted to do the laughing gas because of his age (they might not think he would cooperate with just novacaine), and if he is medicated, then they might need some of the extra equipment to help them get the procedure done. However, I also think that some dentists are quick to suggest medication. It is hard to tell which of the two options this particular dentist is going with. I would recommend that you call another dentist or two and ask them what they do when giving a 4 year old a filling so that you can tell what is considered normal for that age.

Hi C.,

We had a similar experience with a ped. dentist, he wanted to sedate my son, put him a in straight jacket type restraint, use gas and do it all without us present...yikes! We said NO WAY and found Dr. Dean Kent in VA Beach near Mt Trashmore, he and his son Matthew are both wonderful!! My son has had many fillings done and even a few root canals and they are great, they just use the gas and novacaine when needed. Give them a try if they are near you, their number is ###-###-#### and you can tell them I sent you, S. Wheatley.

Good luck, its scary when the little folks need stuff done!
S.

Dr. Edward Ginsberg is fantastic. My dental insurance didn't cover him so I paid out of pocket and it was worth every penny. He cares about the children's emotional well being as much as he cares about their dental health. Sedation was not successful for my son with the first dentist we went to and I was not willing for him to have to go to the hospital and have anesthesia at that point so I searched and found Dr. Ginsberg. I cannot recommend him highly enough.

We LOVE "Dr. Niloo" at Children's Dentistry of Oakton!!! She uses laser technology in stead of a drill and my 6-year-old thought it was so much fun he asked to have more fillings!!! She does uses "happy gas" but makes it truly seem happy instead of scary. You can find more info at www.oaktonsmiles.com

It sounds like you need a new dentist. You really don't want your child to be frightened-- he might end up avoiding dental visits for years, like I did.

I recommend Dr. Skordalakis, a pediatric dentist in Sterling. When my son was 4, he had several cavities, and the first dentist we saw wanted to sedate him. We were told that sedating a child turn a basic dental procedure into a serious medical procedure. We were also informed that they can only sedate small children for a limited amount of time, so it's possible that the child would wake before the dentist's work is completed. We went to Dr. S. for a second opinion, and had a great experience with him. I think he does use the metal thing to keep children's mouths open, but he's very gentle and warm, and somehow gives the novocaine in a way that doesn't hurt (most of the time). My son had to go a few times to have all of the cavities filled, but each time he left the dentist with a hug. Dr. S. also offers a ceiling-mounted TV, which does wonders to distract the kids while the work is being done -- and tells me that he's focused on their comfort, not just making it easy on himself. Hope that helps.

My daughter was knocked out completely when three of her teeth got fillings. It was a much better experience then if she'd been conscious. It was done in the hospital.

Get a different dentist...we have had cavities and never had all that drama.

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