Cavities in a Two Year Old! Need Advice

Updated on February 14, 2012
L.P. asks from Dallas, TX
20 answers

I have a two yr old daughter and recently found out she has cavities I'm not even sure how many because I did not like the office I went to and just wanted to leave. My baby was crying and was shaking so much I just could not handle being there and watching her go through it. Now, I am worry I don't know what to do I dont want her to go through it again but I also don't want it to get worse. I called offices and they said they can put her in a pappose (which I hate that idea I don't want her to be traumatized) or lauging gas or oral sendation. What should I do?? I just want whats best for her and the safest way. Has anyone gone through this and how long does it take?

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So What Happened?

Thanks for the advice and I am still looking for a new dentist. The first one I saw was not a pediatric dentist but I did call my doctor's office they said they are going to refer me to Children's Hospital for general anesthesia. I am not really sure about that because I feel like that is too serious. I feel like oral sedation is safer and quicker. Do anyone know how long the process take?

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answers from St. Louis on

My younger son had to have cavities filled. He had a genetic condition that rendered his enamel useless. We knocked the poor thing out.

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answers from Dallas on

My daughter's dentist is fabulous, and they will do "modeling" appointments with the child to help get them used to the dentist. I took my daugher at age 2 because of a concern about a front tooth. They are great with the kids. The office is Frisco Kids Dentistry, and the dentists are Dr. Kelli and Dr. Ty. ###-###-####

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answers from Houston on

Laughing gas or sedation is going to be necessary for her, but she may need the papoose to put get it going. Be sure you are at a pediatric dentist that specializes in dealing with young children. Also, she will mirror the way you react, If you act scared and pull her out of it, then she will panic even more. Be strong, she needs those cavities taken care of!

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answers from Dallas on

Try dr Robert Morgan. He has an office at 75 and Campbell or one in Irving on MacArthur close to 183. My son had a root canal at age 3 and again at age 6, he came out smiling!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from San Diego on

Just last month I took my just 3yr old to her dentist and did the "sleepy juice" and papoose and she did great. Within 15mins she was tired and drunk like. She didn't even notice the work being done i dont think. We did xrays and the work 1/2 hour all done. The year b4 when she was just 2yrs we had to put her under completely at Childrens hospital for other oral surgery and she came out perfectly. Find a good pediatric dentist, you could meet with them before bringing the kiddo maybe to sooth your own fears? and for sure and control your own anxiety. They feed off of you positive or negative! I do not allow my husband to go with us to the dentist because he has intense fears. Good luck! Think of a fun treat for later in the day when they are all better.

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answers from Washington DC on

Was it a pediatric dentist? Do they specialize in little kids or special needs children? If not, I would call around until you find one. Our pediatric dentist has been treating DD since she was 10 mo. old. Now, her cavity was small and could be treated without anesthetics but I understand how hard it is to see your child cry. My DD did cry but it was fear, not pain. When she was a little under 2 and they told me they wanted to do a full cleaning, I cringed, but DD was fine. Hang in there.

I urge you to keep trying to find someone you respect, who respects you and your child. Untreated, it could damage her permanent teeth, cause her pain and, etc. A dentist you trust is invaluable. If you didn't like them, then find someone you do. There are good pediatric dentists out there.

If, even though you like the office, you find can't take her yourself, have someone else (your husband, your mom) that she loves and trusts be with her.

I know someone whose son didn't get seen when the cavities were small and had to be put under general anesthesia for some serious dental work. That would be more traumatic, I think.

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answers from Minneapolis on

What's best for her is to get those cavities treated as soon as possible. The health of her baby teeth can impact the health of her adult teeth. Try to read reviews and ask other moms if they know of dentists who specialize in treating kids who are afraid of dental visits.

As for the papoose, that is probably the best option if you are leary of sedation and she is just simply unable to settle down long enough for them to treat her. The key is to find a dentist who is willing to start without one as the first course of action. Sometimes kids are just sensitive to the atmosphere, the people vibes the doctor and nurses give off etc. If you find someone who is just really good with kids, you may luck out and not need the papoose.

Just remember, they're for the child's safety, not to traumatize the child.



answers from Dallas on

Before you get the "cavities" fixed have a second opinion on your girls teeth. Since she is only 2 I bet most of her teeth are baby teeth. The dentist may be able to "paint" over the teeth to protect them until they fall out.


answers from Richmond on

WHOA, first of all, she's feeding off YOU mama... chill out!

Second, some cavities are just genetic, no matter how awesome her oral health is, she's going to get them. That's normal.

Third, BE CONFIDENT! I LOOOOOOVE going to the dentist (probably the minority there), but my kids get super excited about it because *I* am excited about it.

I'd say NO to the papoose, but get her stoked about it! Nothing better than seeing your kiddo get excited about the dentist. My 2 girls each had one cavity in the SAME TOOTH (if you can believe that), and because I acted like it was a cool deal, they did JUST FINE.

Breathe mama :) Get it taken care of before it IS a big deal. Everything will be okay! Most kids flip their sh!t because they don't like being held down, that's all. My son was 9 months old when he had a fish hook go through his upper pallet, out through his gum right between the teeth. Was he freaking because he hooked himself? Heck no! He was pissed I was holding his arms!

Everything will be FINE :)



answers from Dallas on

My daughter who will be two in April started to have cavaties. She is fairly calm so seeing a dentist was no problem. The problem was that the cavaties were not related to a sugary diet. She has a condition called Hypo-plastic enamel. The enamel on her teeth comes off which leaves her teeth subseptable to cavaties. I am glad we had it looked at when we did because the damage although bad could have been much worse. She had to have surgery and now with 4 stainless stell crowns and 3 venners she is doing wonderfully. She was in surgery for almost 2 hours. Each child will react differently coming out of anestesia, mine was calm and tired. But I would assume if your child is naturall frightfull and highstrug this will be exasberated after surgery. My advice would be to toughing up when you see her crying and afraid of the dentist as this is something that can lead to tooth loss of worse and Needs to be addressed. Do you want it to get worse and pay $5,000 to $10,000 in surgery cost? Let them strap her down and get it over with for her sake. Her anxiety and fear my be a reflection of your emotions while at the dentist. So relax, be calm, firm, and strong. Good Luck :)


Also there are a such thing as toxic fillings. They are called Amalgam fillings which are make of mercury. If you do not know the negative health effects of mercury, I suggest you do a simple google search. Most Dr.s as far as i know will use titanium crowns, and resin fillings for children.



answers from Dallas on

Since you weren't comfortable in the first office definitely get a 2nd opinion. Little ones as small as yours need a pediatric specialist. The one my dental practice recommends is Dr Joel Shields in Sunnyvale ###-###-####). He also has a website with lots of good info at Also check out the website for the Academy of Pediatric Dentistry

Don't act like it's a big deal or you'll scare her. My experience is the kiddos whose parents don't make a big deal out of it do great. She'll feed off of your anxiety and be scared. Dental visits can be a lot of fun for kids! We've had many, many kids leave and ask their parents when do they get to come back again because it was fun.

You've gotten some not so great advice here from people who do not work in the dental field so I want to set a couple things straight - there are no such thing as "toxic filings" and fillings CANNOT make you sick - igoring decay CAN. Papoose boards are not commonly used anymore, either. Sedation dentistry is the norm these days. You can't "paint" over decay and make it go away, but you can put sealants on healthy teeth to help prevent future decay. And primary teeth are very important in helping eat, for speech, and to help hold the spaces for the for the growth of the upcoming permanent teeth. Baby teeth aren't completely shed until around 12 years of age.



answers from Oklahoma City on

I can honestly tell you my grandkids want to go to the dentist more than the twice a year regular appointments. If you were in OKC I would recommend Dr. Jason Lee on North Portland, he also has offices in Midwest City. He practices out of Children's Hospital and Midwest City both. He puts the kids out with general anesthesia.

They go into the room for a bit, then go to the out patient surgery room. They put them under with gas then put in an IV to administer the anesthesia. It is pain free and they wake up a bit later, all work done, and they don't have the side effects of an oral sedation or laughing gas. This med is out of their system in minutes while they sleep it off. They do not even know they had work done.

I will never take the kids to anyone else until Dr. Lee tells me they are just to darn old to see him anymore. He is the best I have ever seen. We can go back with the kids, he plays with them, talks to them like they are important, lets them have pictures taken with him, shows them how to floss, everything. He is awesome and so are the other staff.

I think letting a child go through what yours went through again without trying to find a different dentist that will do this differently would be wrong. If she even sees this dentist again it will upset her.

I would find a pediatric dentist that puts them to sleep via IV anesthesia and get it all done at once in just a few minutes.

You do know that the kiddo's tooth decay is most likely hereditary and not anything that can be done to fix? They did not get this because the didn't brush enough or they ate the wrong foods, she got weak enamel from someone and will most likely have cavities every year or two regardless of how many times per day she cleans the teeth.


answers from Dallas on

Please get a second opinion.

I had something similar happen to my first child 10 years ago. Second opinion told me she was fine and that the first dentist was looking to make a buck.

Good luck!


answers from Dallas on

I didn't read all of your response but here is my experience, first finding a good dentist and letting them know what happened at her last appointment will help a lot. My son was also afraid sometimes more and sometimes less, one of the times he was less co operative it turned out that he had strep throat and the dentist couldn't do much because he was crying so much, and so the next time he was really scared again. so we had to work through that and he is better now (he is 6) but a good dentist office will help you work through it but it is a slow process since they only go 2x a year.

my son has soft tooth enamel so he gets cavities easily, but some of them were small enough that we could "watch them" till he was older, and last year we did have to do 4 fillings, we had them all done at one time with sedation n the dentist office, I was very nervous, but everything went fine. I recommend finding if your daughters cavities will need to be fill right away or if they can be "watched" till she gets a little older. then I would do some modeling of what will happen when you go, maybe even find a good book or video about going to the dentist, I know we had one that was Sesame Street or something like that. have her take a favorite stuffy with her, you can even have her play dentist with her doll or with you or her dad. talk to her so she will know what to expect. Some Dentist office will let you have a quick simple "practice" appointment where you come in sit in the chair and have the hygienist count her teeth with the dental tool and that's all, so she has a positive experience for no charge. I don't think I would like the papoose, but I do understand that good dental hygiene is important for proper development and sometimes you just have to do what you have to do, but a good dentist is the first key to dealing with her fears. I'm personally phobic about the dentist, so a good dentist for my kids was very important because I don't want my kids to be like me. I'd recommend my dentist but he is in Roanoke so it would be far for you.



answers from Detroit on

I am going to second the recommendation for a 2nd opinion, and to see a pediatric dentist, since they specialize in kids and are used to handling kids this young.



answers from Dallas on

My daughter has several autoimmune illnesses so I have turned to dietary changes and trying to remove as many toxins from her life as possible (the ones I can control) to get her off harmful medications. In my research, I learned that dental fillings are a big issue. I had one filling growing up and it always caused me problems, but I had no idea how much it was off-gassing. Makes sense now looking back at the issues I had with it (I had it removed a few years ago). If your child will be prone to cavities, I highly recommend looking for a holistic dentist who uses non-toxic fillings. Read up on the various types of fillings that are used and find the least harmful ones. Hopefully for this current situation, it is nothing and the first dentist just wanted to make a quick buck. But if she does have decay, I wanted to mention there are some fillings that are less harmful to the body.



answers from Dallas on

Check out the book, "Cure Tooth Decay."


answers from Dayton on

Please get a 2nd opinion. And a 3rd if you need it.
Find a dentist who you feel comfortable w/.
Don't be bullied.
And if they won't allow you to be w/ her during the procedure run like a bat outta hell and don't look back.
I've been through it, but my child was 4. No papoose, no gas.
Seek out a new dentist, ASAP!


answers from San Diego on

Due to genetic problems with 2 of my 3 children's teeth we've been here, done that.
My daughter before the age of 2 had 2 teeth come in with defects and had cavities in them before she was even 2. My oldest got misdiagnosed (such a long story) and ended up with an infected tooth. I DO NOT recommend having to go through that!!
We found a pediactric dentist that specializes in special needs children.
They judge what things to use based on how the child is. The papoose is to keep them from getting hurt. They have had to use it on my children before though not every time. It keeps them from being able to grab at stuff or move causing them to be hurt by the drill etc. They have have only used laughing gas and do not use full sedation except for the most extreme cases. None of mine have ever needed that. They all did fine. My oldest has all but had his mouth rebuilt when he was little. He is now 11 and does not need anything, not even laughing gas. They treated him as gently as possible given the circumstances and he is fine.
It is important to get the work done. Some of those teeth are in there until they are 12 or older such as the molars. They need those baby teeth for their jaws and faces to grow properly so adult teeth will fit later on. It can effect their speech if they are not there. They can damage the adult teeth that form underneath them. The opinion that they are only baby teeth and will fall out anyway is so wrong and extremely outdated! If you are not comfortable with the dentist you saw. by all means see another. The first one we went to we actually filed a formal complaint against after the way they treated us when we went in with my son'd infected tooth. We did not let them treat it, we went somewhere else. They just wanted to pull it under full sedation a month later! The one we see now saw us immediately drained the tooth that day, did the temp filling then scheduled he root canal for after the antibiotics course was complete which is standard. They did all the work with a papoose, a local and laughing gas. My son did amazingly well considering the trauma he'd gone through because of the run around from the insurance and a misdiagnosis.
The dentist we go to does not allow parents in the room. They have found that the children actually stress more and act out more if they are in the room. The head of the practice is an older man with many younger associates. This does not traumatize them. The nurse will come in and out of the waiting room a few times during the work and always says they calm down a couple minutes after going to the room. The laughing gas helps with that.
After bring her somewhere for a special treat and you'll be good. We always took them to their favorite store to pick out a Thomas the Train toy :)



answers from Dallas on

Dear L.,

My youngest boy had cavities and to get caps at 2 and 3 yrs so I can relate. I have taken all my kids (8) to Pediatric Dental World ###-###-#### in Highland Village, TX since 2002. They are great and they will not do anything you don't want them to do. Dr. Clapp treats the kids like they are his as far as deciding course of treatment. Baby cavities sometimes don't even need anesthesia, it depends how bad is her situation. I would go somewhere else if I were you. Mommy usually knows best, and if you don't like that office for a check up, why let them treat your daughter? My son had to go in the papoose because we did not want him under general anesthesia as that can bring complications that include death. If they drink the "magic potion" that makes her drowsy she'll be asleep and wake up with everything done. It did not traumatize my son to be in the papoose, she'll be fine. Just make sure you sell her well on drinking the teaspoon or so of magic potion... The first time he would not drink it, so he fought the doctors the whole way. The second time, I came up with the "magic potion" idea and my son didn't like it (he doesn't like to take ANY medicine) but he knew it was best and took it. He fell asleep, woke up, and everything was all done! Best wishes and God bless!

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