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Old 01-17-2009, 10:09 AM   #1
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child's infected tooth

Help! I'm trying to decide what is best for my 10-year-old daughter.

We recently moved to a new area and she complained of molar pain so we went to a new dentist. Turns out her baby molar has a cavity and is infected. To complicate things she will be getting braces in about six months. Dentist said we could perform pulpectomy (child root canal) and put in a large filling to buy time and make her pain free. But...we saw the orthodontist today and he said he would pull the tooth when it is time for braces anyway so we could do pulpectomy and buy time for six months, pull the tooth now and put in a spacer (I'm not sure what that is), or he recommends just leaving it and keeping an eye on it - watching for more severe pain or swelling.

I'm really uncomfortable with just watching it. It doesn't bother her now as long as she chews on the other side but it's already infected and while it might not get worse in the next six months, what if it does? Hate to see my child suffer with a badly infected tooth. I'm not sure which of the other two options makes sense. I don't know if pulpectomy would be a lot of money invested in a tooth that's going to be pulled soon anyway or what putting in a spacer involves. Anybody have any experience with this? She's always gone for 6 month cleanings and never had any other tooth problems. I'll be calling my dentist back on Tuesday but as he's new to me I'm looking for other's experiences/opinions. Thanks!

 
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Old 01-17-2009, 01:52 PM   #2
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Re: child's infected tooth

Infections in the mouth are always something to take care of immediately. The warm moist environment of the mouth, and the bacteria that comes with eating, are a perfect place for infections to set in. With the jawline being so close to the brain, these infections can turn ugly fast.

About the braces, they have many solutions for "holding" space, or whatever is required to achieve the desired result. My son just got out of braces, and he had a childhood root canal on his front tooth. They kept the tooth there while the braces were on. Then they pulled it, and it is now being held open with a fake tooth right in his retainer. He has to wear the retainer anyway, until time to have a permanent implant done.

Get that infected tooth out first thing...The rest will take care of itself. I hope that helps..

 
Old 01-17-2009, 02:01 PM   #3
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Re: child's infected tooth

Without seeing the radiograph it's hard to know what the level of infection is, but if your orthodontist was planning on having the tooth extracted in 6 months anyway, I would pull it. I would not just leave it and keep an eye on it. The last thing you want is for the infection to spread. If your dentist or orthodontist are concerned about losing space they can place a simple appliance called a space maintainer to hold the space. Only you and your dentist can make the final decision though. Good luck

 
Old 01-17-2009, 02:24 PM   #4
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Re: child's infected tooth

I had one more thought for you...

The chance are that the infected tooth will become painful and swollen in the middle of the night, on a holiday or weekend is inevitable.

That's how we remember all of my childrens emergency visits...what holiday it happened on. Not to be funny, but that's what my 25 years of mom experience have taught me. You also don't want to teach your daughter that dentistry should be put off.

Best to you...

 
Old 01-18-2009, 10:26 AM   #5
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Re: child's infected tooth

After a lot of thought last night we did decide what to do. Can't see the sense in restoring an infected tooth that's going to be pulled in less than a year anyway and I'm just not comfortable leaving it there and watching it so we're going to have it pulled. If the orthodontist wants to put in a spacer that's fine. I just want to have it out! (She's been sick with low-grade illnesses for the last two months - don't know if it is related but having the tooth out will be one less thing to worry about.) Thanks for all your advice!

 
Old 01-18-2009, 07:25 PM   #6
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Re: child's infected tooth

That's a wondeful choice! I hope your daughter finds immediate relief-

 
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