Tag Archives: Pediatric Dentist

Planning For a Child’s Dental Care

I spent 10 years trying to get pregnant unsuccessfully. So, we applied for adoption. I just found out we’ve been approved and we’re flying to pick up our new son next week. So, now I’m in a mad dash of preparation for my new son. I can’t believe I can say my son. I want to do everything right. He’ll be 5 soon. What age should he start seeing a dentist? At what age should I switch him to a regular dentist?
What else should I know?

Laura A.

Dear Laura,

Boy smiling and holding a toothbrush
Dental Care for Children Should be All Smiles

The first thing I want you to do is to take a deep breath. This is a tremendous moment for you and I know you must feel thrilled and terrified simultaneously. I also don’t want you to get disappointed by unrealistic expectations.

I know you want to do everything perfectly, but like everyone else, you’re human. You’re going to make mistakes. You’ll make incredible sacrifices for your son, but you’ll also have selfish moments you’ll feel bad about the moment it’s done. Don’t beat yourself up about it too much. Just learn from it and move on.

As for what age he should see a pediatric dentist, I’d start him immediately, especially if he hasn’t been much in the past. Too many parents wait until there’s a dental problem and they need an emergency appointment. Then, the child’s first experience with the dentist is a negative one.

You can take him to a pediatric dentist or a general dentist who enjoys working with children. Both are qualified. Both have their pros and cons.

Pediatric Dentist or General Dentist?

A true pediatric dentist has done extra schooling and can handle certain more unusual issues that come up with children but not on adults very often. Additionally, their office is designed for children with little chairs and lots of colorful walls and toys. They usually go into the field because they love children and are great working with them.

A general dentist is still qualified to treat children, but have not had the additional schooling. That means there could be a tricky issue come up where they’d have to give you a referral to a specialist. However, that happens no matter what field someone is in. Many parents find it convenient for the entire family to go to the same practice. Though their office isn’t always designed with children in mind, if they enjoy treating children they will have things on hand for them.

When your son is with a general dentist, there won’t be any worries about having to switch dentists when he reaches a certain age. He’ll already be with a “grown-up” dentist.

I hope this helps and congratulations on being a mom.

No White Fillings for Children?

I’m not sure what to do. I noticed that you see children and you do white fillings. Do you give the white fillings to children? My pediatric dentist says that’s not possible. I don’t fancy the idea of putting mercury in my son’s mouth and he has his first cavity. We’re just watching it right now, but want to be prepared. If it were your son, what would you do?

Lori

Dear Lori,

Boy smiling and holding a toothbrush
Can Children Get White Fillings?

I’m very sorry about your son’s cavity. To answer your question, yes, children can get white fillings, but it’s not always easy. The biggest problem is they have to sit very still because the composite resin has to stay free of moisture during the placement process. But, it can be done. Usually, just some nitrous oxide is all that’s needed to keep a wiggly child still during their filling process. In fact, most of them sleep through the procedure.

It sounds like your pediatric dentist prefers to do things the way he’s always done them and isn’t that interested in keeping up with the advancements in dentistry. In your place, I’d find a new dentist, one who keeps up with the newer technologies and studies, especially when it regards putting a toxin in a child’s body.

Can General Dentists Treat Children?

Yes. Many general dentists love working with children. One way to know if they’re good with them is the age they first agree to see them. If they’ll see them in their toddler/preschool years, they love working with children. If they ask to wait until your child is about 8 or older, I’d look elsewhere.

Parents find it convenient for everyone to go to the same practice. You can book everyone’s appointments and get things done in one day. Plus, a dentist knowing the parent’s dental history knows what to look for in the children. It helps prevent issues that their parents may not have been able to avoid.

This blog is brought to you by Dr. Mike Malone.

Dentist Refuses to Fix Son’s Tooth with Veneers or Crowns

I’m really frustrated. My 9-year-old took a bad fall. When he did, he lost half his front tooth. I want his repair to be stable. My first thought was a porcelain veneer but my dentist said no. Then I suggested a crown. The dentist said no. I don’t know what to do. Why won’t they treat him?

Laura K.

Dear Laura,

Porcelain Veneer being placed on a tooth

I know you’re frustrated. You want the absolute best for your son and it seems like your pediatric dentist isn’t cooperating. He may not be explaining things well, but he’s not wrong. Though, he should have told you what solutions would work.

With a child, their jaws and bite are in an almost constant state of flux. He will outgrow both the porcelain veneers and dental crowns so fast it could mess up a lot of things about his bite. Not to mention the fact that it would cost you a fortune to constantly replace them.

Alternative to Porcelain Veneers for a Child

The best solution at this point would be to have dental bonding done to make the tooth look completely natural. It’s much less expensive than veneers or crowns anyway. Then, when his jaw has fully developed you can look for a more permanent solution.

I’m assuming at this point the dentist checked for trauma to his nerves and such and that the tooth is safe. If he hadn’t, I’d go see an emergency dentist just to have his teeth looked at and make sure no permanent damage is done where he’ll need a root canal treatment.

This blog is brought to you by Dr. Mike Malone.

My six year old son’s teeth are in bad shape

My son is six years old. I’ve just started to research dental information to address some serious problems with his teeth.

He has at least four cavities that I can see. Two of them are small in diameter, but seem to be quite deep, and two other teeth have actually started to chip away from the decay. I’m afraid there may be more, but he won’t let me get a really good look in his mouth to tell.

What are my options with these kinds of problems? I really don’t want to have any teeth pulled if we can possibly avoid it. They are all molars, and from what I have read so far that could really screw up the alignment of his teeth later on. Can they do some kind of porcelain crowns or white fillings? I don’t want them to look bad and make him embarrassed, either. I’ve read that with kids they often do some kind of metal crown, but those are so ugly!

I also wanted to ask about sleep dentistry (also called sedation dentistry). I think I am going to have to locate someone who does this kind of dentistry, because my son just will not open his mouth for the dentist or the hygienist. We’ve tried three different dentists with no luck. I was hoping he would mature enough to cooperate, but we just can’t wait any longer.

I appreciate your help,

Maranda in New Brunswick

Dear Maranda,

You’ll want to find a pediatric dentist who also performs sedation dentistry. I think you are correct in saying that you simply cannot put of your son’s dental care any longer.

You are also correct that removing the molars without also putting in some kind of space holder will cause a lot of problems down the road. Those molars are also important in helping him eat, so ideally your dentist will try to salvage the teeth rather than extracting them. In pediatric dentistry, much of the work is often geared toward short term maintenance and temporary fixes, because those teeth will not remain in place forever. Usually they will place a stainless steal crown, but if you are adamantly opposed to the steel, your dentist can work with you to find a suitable material.

Another issue that must be addressed is the eating pattern that probably produced this kind of severe decay in such a young child. The kind of decay you’ve described is caused by constant eating. If you want to put a stop to these kinds of serious dental problems, you’ll have to put a stop to the eating habits that produce them.