Should I Get a 2Nd Opinion???

Updated on August 04, 2016
A.M. asks from Glendale, AZ
21 answers

Hello everybody. So today I took my 1 1/2 year old to the dentist for her first checkup. Everything was going good until the very end when the dentist was checking her teeth and said "she has two cavities." I was so shocked and embarrassed! It isn't her front teeth either. He did not show me the cavities or say he seen them in the x-Ray. He said she's too young to be put under BUT he can drill both of her cavities in less than 15 minutes without shots. He suggested we could try laughing gas. I'm a mess and have been crying since we left. I feel like such a bad mom for letting this happen! I feel like I did everything right.
Do dentist often lie about cavities? Or has anybody else experienced this? Thank you
Yes she went to a pediatric dentist :)

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answers from Chicago on

My older kids didn't go to the dentist until they were 4. The dentist found a cavity on one of my girls back teeth. But we were told to wait and see since it could go away. The next visit, no cavity. We have had this happen a few times. The abrasion from brushing pretty much takes care of the tiny ones. Whenever my kids have had cavities, the dentist always showed me where it was and how bad, regardless of whether there are xrays.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Pittsburgh on

I have found there to be quite a few dishonest dentists out there that want to drill and fill teeth that are perfectly fine. I believe you can typically see cavities up until a certain age when the teeth begin to calcify. If you don’t see them while brushing, I wouldn’t hesitate to get a second opinion next time. Although I’d probably shop around for a new dentist in the meantime.

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answers from Miami on

Oh, please stop crying! Pick yourself up and get a plan.

First of all, is there fluoride in your drinking water? You need to supplement if you don't. If you have well water, if you use bottled water at home, if your municipality doesn't fluorinate, your child needs fluoride supplements. It makes a huge difference. Find out now and start the supplements.

What is your evening routine with her? Does she eat before she goes to bed? Does she breastfeed still or have a bottle? Do you brush her teeth before bedtime? Does she feed in the middle of the night?

You need to make sure her teeth are brushed before bedtime and no more feeding in the middle of the night. Make a game with the brushing. You don't want there to be a fight over it.

Finally, is this a pediatric dentist? If not, you need to go to a pediatric dentist. My own children had laughing gas and did well on it. My younger one slept through removing two baby teeth. My older son was very stressed out, and it helped him manage. I would say that unless these teeth really have to be drilled on, I would wait until she is older. I'd also find out, again from a ped dentist, if you can have sealants put on her other molars before there are any visible cavities. Along with fluoride, sealants make a great difference.

People of my generation got cavities starting young and we all have mouths full of dental work. When they figured out fluoride (the safe kind, not the kind that anti-fluoride people try to scare everyone with and should be discounted), dentistry started to change a lot. Instead of filling cavities all day long, dentists started learning ways to do cosmetic dentistry. My younger son didn't have a cavity until he was in college. It took a long time for the dentist to decide to fill it, it was so slight. This is thanks to the fluoride supplements I gave him until he was 12 years old. My older son had 4 baby molars with very little enamel, soft molars, which the doctor said could have been caused by a high fever when he was a tiny baby. They were so soft that sealant couldn't even stick to them. Fluoride couldn't help them. We just had to fill those teeth until the permanent ones came in. And in his 20's, he STILL doesn't have any fillings.

Some people do have poor genetics where cavities are concerned, but how you deal with feeding issues, brushing and fluoride, along with twice a year cleanings will make a huge difference in your child's dental health. Now find out about your fluoride situation, about sealants. If you don't have a ped dentist, find one. Write down questions - don't be so upset that you forget to find out if the dentist saw the cavities on an xray. Ask to see those cavities. This is just one of many things a doctor will give you not-so-good-news about. It's important to manage your fears and move ahead, not only for your sake, but for your child's sake. It can be the difference between her getting through a procedure without fear and her having a huge meltdown.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

1. You are NOT a bad mom. STOP any negative thoughts about yourself as a mom.

Are you going to a pediatric dentist? Is this dentist someone you know from experience and trust?

I advise a 2nd opinion.

Why? Because a few years ago we needed to switch dentists. I was trying out dentists that had been referred or had decent ratings. We don't carry dental insurance, we pay cash so I was not looking specifically for someone on a plan. My daughters pediatric dentist she had seen regularly since age 1 died.

I took my then 17 yr old for a routine cleaning and check and received a diagnosis of 6 cavities. I immediately thought BS because my child has been seen with preventative care since her teeth started coming in and with a pediatric dentist.

I balked at the estimated $1600 worth of work, my daughter was devastated.

Fast forward 4 months, she had a toothache. We went to a new dentist we found. He called me back to the room because she was so upset saying her teeth were rotting and we blew off the other dentist. He did not know the back story.

Diagnosis... NO cavities. Unless you take some serious X-rays that call super minor issues cavities. All she needed at this time was wisdom teeth removal due to the pressure they started.

I do not know, to this day what the referred dentist was going to do to my daughters good teeth!!

Get a second opinion.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from San Diego on

Some kids do get cavities that young. I have 3 kids. 2 of them were born with very weak teeth. Nothing we did helped. We got sealents, went in every 6 months. My oldest hit a point where he started hurting himself brushing and flossing so much and so often because he didn't want anything else to happen to his teeth. He became obsessive and we actually had to hide the tooth brush and floss until it was actually time to use it and we had to supervise. My youngest had 2 teeth come in damaged. You couldn't miss the cavities at just 18 months. Meanwhile my second kid has only had a couple of cavities his entire life. We have flouride in the water. We brush, feed them healthy food, they never got a bottle even a single time in their life. We did everything right. There was nothing else we could have done to prevent the cavities from happening.
We never did full sedation. I do not trust that at all! We do always use laughing gas though and they did just fine. If she does have decay you absolutely need to get it taken care of! Do not listen to the outdated and incorrect information that they are "only baby teeth" and they will fall out anyway. Some of those teeth are in their mouths until they are 12 years or older before they fall out! They need those teeth for proper development of their jaw, palate and to make room for their adult teeth. They need their teeth for proper speech and for eating. Decay left unchecked can lead to infections that can cause damage to the developing buds of adult teeth. An infected tooth IS NOT something you want to ever deal with in your child. I speak from experience. Thanks to crappy insurance BS red tape and a dentist we filed a formal complaint after and a series of misdiagnosis found us on a Saturday morning with a 3 year old screaming in pain with half his face swollen because the tooth we were trying to get taken care of became infected,
If you aren't seeing a pediatric dentist then find one. Get a second opinion if it will make you feel better but if there are cavities there get them taken care of and don't beat yourself up over something you can't control as you would like.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Boston on

Take a breath. Gather some info first.

So, did he take X-rays? You say you don't know if he saw the cavities on the X-rays or not. So do you know for sure that he took them? Ask to see them. You paid for them, they are yours. Also ask why the cavities need to be treated in baby teeth which will fall out. I'm not saying they don't need to be dealt with - but I'm saying you don't seem clear.

I wouldn't be surprised that it's not her front teeth. I'm not sure why you are. Usually it's the molars where most of the chewing occurs and where there are crevices where food accumulates. But I'm not clear on why you think the location matters.

I think you need to ask more questions about pain, laughing gas, and more. But it's a problem that you don't trust your dentist - so perhaps you should trust your gut.

I think you are beating up on yourself unnecessarily - kids get cavities sometimes and no one blames their moms. You cannot make reasonable and rational decisions for your child's health if you're going to go right to the Blame Game and get so upset.

Certainly there is no reason to panic or make a rash decision. This is not an emergency. Gather some info. And you can certainly get a second opinion. If you don't know another dentist, ask your friends (particularly those with older kids who have had more visits than you have) and your pediatrician. You don't have to tell your friends why - just say you aren't sure you are happy with your current dentist and you want to be sure you aren't getting pushed into anything unnecessary. Take the existing X-rays to any new dentist - don't pay for a second set.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Pittsburgh on

I would definitely get a 2nd opinion. First off, I first took my daughter to the dentist when she was 2 and they didn't take x-rays for at least 3 years. They have to ask you first if it is OK.

Second, did he tell you what teeth they are in?

Third, yes, like every profession, there are less than ethical people out there who will lie. I had a dentist tell me that I needed to have 4 fillings replaced (my mom wasn't diligent with my dental hygiene unfortunately) and two crowns. She replaced one filling, ruining my bite permanently. Her office lied about confirming my dental coverage, and tried to charge me the whole price AND bill my insurance. I left for a 2nd opinion, was told the fillings were fine! The filling she replaced unnecessarily ended up giving me problems, requiring a root canal and I am still having issues.

Go get that 2nd opinion and know that you are NOT a bad mama!

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Philadelphia on

I would get a second opinion. I believe your dentist told you they are cavaties but that doesn't necessarily mean they need to be filled. I have had 2 dentist lie to me!!! BTW...My kids didn't go to the dentist until they were 3. You are hardly a bad, neglectful mom.

If the dentist took X-rays, take them with you to your next appointment.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Pittsburgh on

Oh, please don't be so upset. You are not a bad mom, and it happens. Actually, in kids this young, basically, it means they developed with a weakness in their teeth and so it's not caused by anything you did or didn't do. It is actually fairly common.

I would, however, get a recommendation to a pediatric dentist. My son needed some cavities filled, and my regular dentist told me to go to a pediatric dentist to get their recommendation. They did an exam and had the same conclusion as the regular dentist. To do the fillings, they gave him a combination of a 2 meds (1 was laughing gas, plus a sedative that they put in a drink). He wasn't "out" per say, but he basically dozed through the procedure. Because we were in a specialists office, they had equipment to monitor him throughout, etc. It is NOT something that should be done in a regular dentist's office.

So I do think you should get another opinion with a pediatric dentist who know how to sedate little ones for procedures.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Honolulu on

Get a second opinion, from a pediatric dentist who will be more informative, but DON'T do it out of guilt or because you feel like a bad mom. Don't be embarrassed.

These things happen. The best dental hygiene in the world and the most protective mom can't prevent everything, and a cavity is not a huge oversight or mistake or medical trauma.

Ask the second dentist if there are other things you should be doing, what he or she would do if this were his or her child, and what dental procedures are appropriate for kids that young. Write down your questions, and write down the dentist's answers.

Take this opportunity to become an educated advocate for your child, to learn to stay calm, to realize that there will be cavities, acne, sprained ankles, stitches, flu, lice, and all kinds of other maladies. You can certainly be an attentive parent, but don't be a panicking, over-protective one who is embarrassed by life's little bumps in the road.

It's obvious that you love your child and you're making sure she's getting good care. There is nothing to be embarrassed about. Instead, you should be proud of yourself for being a careful parent.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Wausau on

Sometimes littles do get cavities. Sometimes those cavities need to be treated and sometimes they can be left alone unless/until they get worse.

I would get a second opinion. I trust my dentist and my kids' regular dentist. They show and explain everything to the last excruciating detail if anything needs to be done, which is rarely. If your gut is telling you to fact-check, listen to it.

My son saw an orthodontist once a when his regular dentist was unavailable. He had a baby tooth that was not coming out naturally and the adult tooth was starting to go wonky beside it. The ortho said to leave it alone and that we should schedule braces after it fell out. O.o The regular dentist pulled it a few days later and the adult tooth straightened up on it's own. The dentist cut his professional connection with that orthodontist too.

We've stopped seeing certain doctors in the past. We've gone for second opinions when I didn't have enough information to be sure if my feeling was solid. I've even filed a formal complaint once.

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answers from Portland on

My kids see a pediatric dentist, and both have cavities. My daughter was born without any enamel on her front teeth, so she had brown spots on her baby teeth. My son has them on his eye teeth, and our dentist said not to worry about them. He did fill a cavity on my daughter's back molar because she is only 6 and will have it for many more years. She had nitrous oxide and a shot or two, but no big deal. He said he will need to put my son under to get one set of x-rays before he starts losing too many teeth, so that he knows what the adult ones look like. We're waiting till we have to do it, since I don't want to put him under. He is autistic by the way, so he is a special case. I would get a second opinion, but, it may be that its a molar that is going to be around until 12 or so, like my daughters.

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answers from Portland on

No! Dentists do not lie about cavities! They have more than enough business they don't need to lie. Instead of getting a second opinion, ask the dentist to show you where the cavities are located.if he did an x- ray ask to see it. It's trust the dentist.

Why are you ashamed? Having cavities does not mean you've done something wrong or that you could've.prevented them. Did you ask the doctor why she has cavities and if her having cavities is.unusual? If not,.tell him how you feel and ask for his help in understanding.

In my experience with bottle mouth it's.more common to have the front teeth decayed. Two if my grandchildren had cavities early on. Their mother did the best she could in keeping their teeth healthy. That's all any mother can do.

All of my grandchildren have had laughing gas. They come out of it sleepy and lethargic. They still ask to go to the dentist. Dental exams and work always leave them happy.

It's really difficult to care for a baby's teeth and remember they are just baby teeth. They will be gone after a few years. When I was a child, parents didn't take children to the dentist until.permanent teeth started coming in. It was very rare for babies and children to suffer long time consequences for the lack of care that we expect now. Relax! Ask your dentist questions. Know you have done the best you could. Your daughter will be OK. You are not a bad mother!

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answers from New York on

I sense your stress, you are a good, caring mother, just what your child needs.

Before I had children, a mother I met said to always get a second opinion on little teeth; her daughter's pediatric dentist pulled teeth like they were candy. :(

There is evidence that Xylitol toothpaste/products can reverse tooth problems and I have gotten rid of tooth problems by swishing apple cider vinegar regularly (throughout the day) (I realize that straight acv won't work for a child, but I might try a little in some juice if they are already drinking it.) Try small spoonfuls of coconut oil. You can mix it with food too. It has omegas that we don't get enough of and kills bacteria too. I know you already do make sure she gets plenty of calcium in her diet, keep that up.

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answers from Norfolk on

I always look at the xrays (and my dentists have always shown them to me).
I've been fortunate to have good dentists.
I've never had one that felt he needed to push for whitening or other procedures just for him to make more money.
I have heard some horror stories and I don't think 2nd opinions are a bad idea.
I don't think 2 cavities sounds like a made up thing (6 maybe, 2 not so much) and I'd want them to point them out to me on the xrays so I could see them myself.
Besides - I just love looking at xrays.
At any rate laughing gas isn't hard - they used it on me when I was a kid.
I had a mouthful of crooked teeth and got a lot of cavities - and even the dentist said it wasn't my fault - my teeth were at such bad angles they were very hard to brush and keep clean.
Braces took care of that.

I guess I can see how a few cavities might make you feel like you've done something wrong.
Do you let her sleep with a bottle of juice or milk?
That would be very bad for her teeth.
But if you don't do that and you brush/floss her teeth then it might be she just has weak enamel and that's nobody s fault and she's just going to get cavities from time to time.
See the xrays, get a 2nd opinion - she's going to have these teeth for awhile (baby teeth start falling out around 6 yrs old - the molars she'll have a lot longer) and you don't want anything to be rotting that might affect her adult teeth development.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Anchorage on

Did he mention anything about why or mention needing to seal her teeth? If not I would definitely think about a second opinion, often if they have decay that young it is because the teeth did not seal properly on their own. Also, there are ways to get rid of surface decay that is not deep without drilling, our dentist has this sort of sand blasting tool he used on my 3 year old before sealing his teeth to prevent further issues. My son is now 10 and we have had no further issues with cavities.

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answers from Boston on

OK, so it seems most folks are recommending a pediatric dentist and you did. So first you need to consider whether your Mom gut tells you this dentist is not a good fit for you. Did you get so upset you couldn't discuss the information or did the dentist not offer the information you needed? I'm a big believer that you need to trust your doctors or get a new one, so if you think the lack of information was from the dentist's style, move on to another dentist.

Whatever you decide, I would also recommend that you write your questions down and write down the dentist's suggestions during the appointment. Question what options are and what you can try at home for prevention.

As an aside, as a preschool teacher I had a few children with cavities found behind their front teeth. Dentists told these parents that they probably were caused by all day use of sipping through sippy cups.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Miami on

Was this a pediatric dentist? If not, than see one - not a general dentist. Beyond that, I would NEVER allow my 18 month old to be put under for cavities. Read below - the last one just happened recently - a 14 month old in Austin. Yes, there are crooked dentists. Ask your pediatrician for an opinion. If her teeth are not bothering her, I wouldn't worry. Also make sure you see the x-rays or have the dentist show you where they are. Give her fluoride treatments and move on Mama. Please SEE below.

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answers from Washington DC on

Absolutely get second opinion and a third! Don't let any dentist put your baby under.
Don't feel bad, you did nothing wrong, but befor you act on the dentist recommendations do more research. Coconut oil is said to reverse cavities. Brush with that and see what happens.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Oklahoma City on

Kids get cavities. It's not that big of a deal. She is young enough to put under. Please go to a pediatric dentist that has hospital rights so he can do the dental work in an outpatient setting.

I would never let a doc drill on a child without a sedative.

Our grandson had cavities at this age and the doc put him to sleep, IV sedation, and did all his work in a few minutes. He woke up and was coherent and happy, ready to go eat. But when we had tubes put in they used gas instead. He was out of it for at least half an hour, his breath was awful, medicine like, each breath expelled the gas a little bit more.

I'd never use gas anesthesia if I could help it.

I would absolutely see another dentist and I'd make sure they were specifically a pediatric dentist and NOT a family dentist. There is a world of difference.

Now, as for the teeth. Enamel is from your family. It has very little to do with oral care.

I know a young man that never brushed his teeth. His parents would take him from dental office to dental office, asking each dentist to simply tell the boy he had to brush his teeth because he'd get cavities if he didn't brush them. He'd examine the boy's teeth then look at the parents and say "This boy could never brush his teeth and he'd never have a single cavity. He has the strongest enamel I've ever seen".

So I did some research. Tooth enamel is something you're born with. Either it's weak and you get tons of cavities regardless of how you take care of your teeth or it's medium and you get an occasional cavity or it's really good and you hardly ever or never get a cavity.

Brushing teeth does help, they add fluoride and keep plaque from building up. But don't beat yourself up about this. It's probably something he's going to have and you just need to talk to the dentist about options such as sealing his baby teeth.


answers from Los Angeles on

Both of my kids have had cavities when they were little, despite the fact that we brushed twice a day, never let them go to bed without brushing first, never gave bottles or sugary juices etc. Fortunately, the dentist was able to catch them early enough that they could be filled with no shots or painkillers, because they were still just in the surface of the enamel. If you child sits nicely for a cleaning, she should be fine for the filling without any gas. I certainly had no reason to believe my dentist would lie to me.

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