Toddler with Cavities

Updated on February 25, 2010
H.C. asks from Luther, OK
16 answers

I really don't have a question so much as I just need some comfort and support. Today was my daughter 1st dentist appointment. It went really well and she did awesome. But she has 3 soft spots, basically cavities in the making. And her the groove in her teeth is shaped so that she's prone to cavities. The dentist wants to put her to sleep and go in and shave out those grooves to make them rounder and fill them with a white filling. I'm supposed to call tomorrow and schedule the procedure. I don't even know if her Soonercare will cover that. Plus I have to take her to her doctor and get a physical exam to make sure she's healthy for "surgery". They keep calling it "surgery" and that scares me. I don't want her to have to be under anesthesia for fillings. I know they need to be cleaned out and filled but she's never had to have anything like this done before. And I can't be in there while they do the procedure. I'm very anxious about this whole thing, but I can't freak out because I need to be strong for her. I can't even imagine how scary it may seem to her come surgery time. Somebody please say something comforting to help put me at ease with this. :)

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So What Happened?

After speaking with Soonercare I tried to make an appt for a consult with Dr Jerome Miller. His receptionist told me that there is no such code to bill a consultation and that I would need a referral from the first Dr to see Dr Miller. So I call Dr#1s office and the receptionist tells me that Dr Miller's office is basically saying that they want to do something that will get them more money. But she would fill out the paperwork for the referral anyhow. I decided to call Soonercare again just to be sure. After being transferred to about 6 different people I finally got a very knowledgeable woman who said that YES there is a consult code and she gave it to me. She also spent some time on the phone with me discussing what Dr#1 wanted to do and she recommended another pediatric dentist to do the 2nd opinion. I was very angry that Dr. Millers office lied to me. I don't really know if she was lying or is she just doesn't know anything about billing, either way I don't care to go there. Plus she was super rude on the phone. After talking to a coworker about what was going on she said that her bff was a pediatric hygienist for Dr Theresa White. So I made the appt and she saw us yesterday. They went ahead and did bite wing xrays of the molars, DR#1 didn't do xrays of the molars. it turns out she has more cavities in between the teeth. Dr White says they need to be fixed and offered us the option of conscious sedation but that would take 2 visits to do all the work. She always said that general anesthesia was an option to do it all at once so that is the one my husband and I chose. The procedure isn't until the end of March so we have some time to get used to the idea, if that's is possible. Thank you to everyone who offered the opinion, advice, and comforting words.

Featured Answers



answers from Baton Rouge on

I was wondering also, if there are no actual cavities yet, why wouldn't they just seal them? I would get a second opinion.

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answers from Spokane on

I wish our dentist had done this for my son...we were told at his first appointment (when all his teeth were in) that his teeth were so scrunched tight together that he would have problems....they shaved all the front teeth to help prevent deterioration...but didn't offer any suggestions like that for his 4 years down the road and last year (when he was 5) he had his scheduled check up and EVERYWHERE his molars touched was a cavity...some were so rubbed off they required metal caps!!! He now has 2 metal teeth and a filling "bridge" (dont know how else to describe it) between the other molars.

It sucked! He was put on the laughing gas stuff but never all the way under...

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Tulsa on

Hi H.,
As a dental hygienist, please allow me to give you my opinion. I believe (not sure, though), that the anesthesia that they do for dental is not too bad, they are semi-conscious and don't remember anything. They keep them this way so that the kids can follow simple instructions, like 'open wide', or 'turn toward me', etc. I don't think they even need a breathing tube. I know that's how they do wisdom teeth surgery, just like if they need tubes in their ears. So that's not nearly as scary. Another thing...please take care of these teeth, even if they are her baby teeth. If they need fillings, get fillings. Yes, they will eventually be lost, but right now they are there for a reason. If they get infected, that infection can affect the permanent tooth growing behind it. Plus, those baby molars may not come out until she's 12 or 13 years old. They hold the space for the permanent teeth behind them and guide them into place when it's time for them to come in. If she loses them too early, she may need a space maintainer.
If you're not sure if this procedure is really absolutely necessary, get a second opinion. And look for a pediatric dentist that will let you be present during the procedure. However, be prepared that you may not find one. I think most of them would prefer that you wait elsewhere, especially if the procedure is done in a hospital.
In my opinion, if you do get the fillings done, anesthesia would be great, that way she won't be traumatized about the dentist like so many are these days. Why not make things more comfortable for her, if possible?
Good luck, I hope you can get some comfort from some of these awesome Moms!!

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answers from Erie on

Well..I havent actually gone through dental surgery with either of my kids, but I have been through sugeries with my son (kidney stone and stents). I'll be's scary, BUT kids are so strong and resilient. I think it's actually harder for us as parents than it is for the child. Youre right though, the best thing you can do for her is just be strong. Anytime one of your babies gets put under for anything is scary, but she'll be better off having it done, right? So, be strong will be hard, but worth it...and once its over you can treat her to something fun for being so brave! Hang in there and good luck!!

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answers from Seattle on

Honestly it sounds like money making to me.

So she doesn't actually have cavities, just soft spots, spots in which the enamel is softening... I would get a second opinion and see if you can have them sealed or even just flouridized and wait/see approach.
Another thing is the General for me, I have never heard of kids going under for simple, superficial fillings before I moved to the US. I have been to the dentist with my nieces when they were toddlers, and they had actual cavities filled with simple local anesthesia. It was NEVER an issue. the dentist simply took his time to explain everything to the child, show them the instruments and how they work, told them what kind of noise and sensation to anticipate... they were scared sometimes, but it was never terrible...
I would look at some other dentists and get another opinion... and just one more thing, if your dental insurance won't cover it, chances are there are alternatives to this treatment that they will cover...

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answers from Oklahoma City on

Oh honey it is stressful on you!! I know because my baby was just 18mo when he went under GA for his first dental "surgery". He was nearly 3yrs old when he had his second one. Make SURE you get a pediatric specialist!!! We didn't the first time and it all had to be redone. Kids are resilient, my son hardly seemed to notice or complain. I was a wreck though! Make sure you have good support at the hospital or even at the pre-op appointment to ask questions and keep track of instructions. HTH & GL!!

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answers from Little Rock on

I can't imagine how you must feel. Well, maybe a little. My son is giving me a hard time when it comes to brushing teeth, so I want to tell you that you have my support and thanks for bringing to my attention just how important it really is. It's so easy to forget about the teeth or to just give up on it when there is just so much else going on. I'm sure your little girl is tough enough, but it's still scary. It's going to be okay.

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answers from Fayetteville on

My child had his first cavity not too long ago. I was very nervous about this as I hate the dentist myself! He went in and was a big trooper! They did everything without even giving him a local anesthetic. He didn't move or cry and the dentist said she'd never seen anything like it. She attributed a large portion of it to the fact that his father and I didn't act scared or nervous. Is there a way to know whether or not her permanent teeth are going to be shaped the same way? If she is going to lose all these teeth that this procedure is being done on, I would probably wait and have it done on her permanent teeth so it doesn't have to be done twice. Stay strong and don't let her see you upset. Keep brushing and flossing and doing everything you can to keep the cavitites at a minimum. It will be ok. Good luck!

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answers from Honolulu on

Ask them if shaving her teeth will affect her "bite."
Ask them if she can have "sealants" put on her teeth. I know many Ped Dentists apply that for children.
Get a 2nd opinion.
Tell them, you need to evaluate their recommendations... so you can't schedule the appointment yet.
Ask them what is used to put the child under for Anesthesia... etc. And ask your Pediatrician for an opinion on it. ie: is it under GENERAL anesthesia... or just a local anesthesia???? You NEED to know that... and the Dentist is supposed to explain that to you.
ASK them any questions you have, don't be shy about it... the Dentist is supposed to explain things to the Parent.

Brush her teeth with Xylitol products... it prevents decay/cavities in children and adults. Its a natural product. Here is a link: Amazon sells these tooth wipes as well. I use them on my kids and even for myself. It is good tooth care.

If you are at all feeling "rushed" about the procedure... then wait. Unless her condition is regarded as an "emergency." And... you need to see if your dental insurance will cover it.

All the best,



answers from Montgomery on

I was in the dental field for a long time and I would not recommend it. First of all they are not cavities yet and if she takes care of her teeth with your help she will be ok. Second of all remember she will lose all her baby teeth and get her perm. teeth. You have to watch dentist especially with you having insurance they will try anything. I remember taking my daughter to her dentist and them telling me they wanted to do all this work and then I let the dentist I worked for looked at her and her x-rays and he said she didnt need any work done. Needless to say we found another dentist. My child had all of these problems she even had cavitiesthat her dentist would not fix for the simpy reason they were baby teeth. My daughter had no problems with her perm. teeth came in. However, we did have the dentist fill in her molars to prevent caities.



answers from Little Rock on

Get a 2nd opinion. I have heard many horror stories of dentists wanting to do unnecessary work on children, especially when they have insurance. I am not saying this is unnecessary, I am just saying that you need to educate yourself just in case. I have had a dentist tell me in the past that I needed a root canal & when I got the 2nd opinion, I found that I did not need it ( & I had no insurance!!!).



answers from Des Moines on

Always seek a second opinion in the case of a child and surgery. Ask about a paste which strengthens the enamel. Our son who is now 10 had crowns on all of his teeth by age 4 because he had a genetic problem with soft teeth. He is now using a paste to make his adult teeth stronger, and our 3 year old daughter was just put on the same paste.
I don't allow anyone to do any proceedures on my children without me present, and that includes the dentist. Let them know this is non-negotiable and if they do not comply walk out! I recently found a new pediatric dentist for exactly that reason. Your child needs you in times of anxiety, even if it makes things harder for the dentist. I don't allow my children to cling to me in the exam room, I sit in the corner, but I will not be shut in another room. They should not go into pediatric dentistry if they cannot understand the need for the parent to be in the room. The only exception for me would be if they had a glass wall I could watch through.



answers from Enid on

To start with mom Your Mom instinct is what you should listen too, sounds like you know she is too young to go through that, teach her to brush, make sure she does watch her teeth, and give her a chance to grow, I wouldn't do it myself, not until she has her permanent teeth. Her teeth may change by then, make sure she gets the calcium for strong teeth, I wouldn't do it, good luck. follow your heart, and trust your connection with her.



answers from Oklahoma City on

Soonercare will cover it 100%. Also my daughter (who will be 10 in a week) had to be put under when she was 6 for a root canel and a crown. Let your daughter take a favorite toy, blanket, or something familiar, they will or should let her have it the whole time. It is scary for you as a parent but will be fine. They should give your daughter versaid (not sure how to spell it) and your daughter should not remember anything after thhey give her the medicine until later on in the day or the folowing morning. If you have any questions, email me.



answers from Oklahoma City on

I took my niece when she was 3 it was super easy. They do have to put them under but it's quick. They wake up very easy, and she had no problems if they don't put them under then the children have a fear of the drill and dentist. You do have to toto the surgery center. We chose MWC because of where we lived. Jason lee (I think was the dentist). He did a fabulous job. They call it a surgery because of the anesthesia. My son recently had tubes and was put under. It really wasn't a big thing to him we just explained he would be going back with the nurse so the dr could fix his ears. And u are right if u make a big deal of it so will she.



answers from Tulsa on

K fell at her mother's apt. and broke her front tooth off, she was 3. It had to have a cap. Sooner Care referred us to Ocean Dental in Stillwater who took one look at her mouth and gave me a list of Pediatric Dentists who took Sooner Care. I called every one of them and decided I liked Dr. Jason Lee in OKC. We went to the appointment and I couldn't have been happier with the atmosphere and attitude of the staff and Dentists in the practice. There are several dentists in the practice and we went with Dr. Lee because he uses white filling where most Older dentists use the silver. Dr. Lee is young and plays with the kids like he's one himself. I will never take the kids anywhere else until he tells me they are just too old...LOL.

Anyway, Dr. Lee works out of Children's, Baptist, and MidWest City Hospital's in OKC. We were lucky to get in to Children's the first day they had the new children's surgery center open. It was awesome. The kids waiting for proceedures, of course, were hungry and thirsty and a bit cranky. They had to get up early and go with out nutrients and then their whole schedule was messed up. K ended up having 4 fillings and a cap done that day, one trip, she wasn't aware of the proceedure, she recovered without issues about dental work, it went well and she loves going to the dentist.

I am going to be on my "soapbox" about this. PEDIATRIC DENTISTS ARE SPECIALISTS, REGULAR DENTISTS ARE NOT. Yes, all dentists work on the same thing, teeth, gums, etc...but a specialist knows everything about a certain area.

My friend decided to stay in Ponca and take her 5 yr. old to a regular dentist, "her" daughter was a "big girl" and didn't need to be put to sleep and have the work done, well she saw a regular family dentist, all 3 times,
she had the same tooth filled over and over. And then the dentist just decided to pull the tooth because he didn't know why it wasn't holding the filling!!!

J, who just turned 3, has been to see Dr. Lee 3 times for 6 month check ups now and he sits perfectly still for them and opens his mouth and lets them do anything they want. His first time he wasn't even 2 yet.

I have huge issues about going to the dentist because of horror stories from my childhood and dental visits. Regular dentists don't have the patience, they may say they do, but they are used to working on bigger kids and adults.

Go, have the dental work done, quickly and efficiently, one stop dental work. No left over issues, no memory of the drilling, feeling the vibrations of the drill, the smell of the tools taking layers of teeth off, YUK.

The ONLY reason they call it surgery is because of the general anesthesia. As you know every proceedure has possible side effects. She could have a reaction to dental medication in the office just as easy as at the hospital, but I would rather those things happen in a hospital than in a dental office. It is natural to have fears when you baby is going through something like this but you have to look inside and see what YOU think is right. I would rather go the way I did. I didn't even think twice about it. You have to make your choice too. It may not be right for you but I hope it is because it is way easy on the kiddos.

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