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requesting help for a 3 year old boy dental problem

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Old 01-11-2006, 04:42 PM   #1
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requesting help for a 3 year old boy dental problem

brought my son of 3 years and 2 month to his first pediatric dentist. He has experience of 28 years. He suggested 10 areas of dental decay to be restored by silver amalgam, plus 3 stainless steel and 3 nerve removal. My son would need to have two surgeries. One surgery would treat the upper teeth, and another treat the lower ones. Each surgery would need 1 hour sedation. I am afraid those amalgam filling and sedation would do any harm to my son's brain, although the sedation would last for only 1 hour. The dentist said the sedation carried the risk of death. After 2002, there has been 3 deaths in California due to this. Before 2002, there was 7 deaths in CA each year. But he has been practicing for 28 years, no any claims happened. He did this kind of surgery 2-3/day and 5 days a week.

I don't have any cavities. My daughter (will reach 6 next month) sees a general dentist, also no cavities. So I am really concerned about the suggestion of so many fillings, crowns, sedation, nerve removal to a 3 year old boy. He is really smart, smarter than his 5 year old sister. I am just afraid the tooth surgery would have any negative impact on his brain.

Any suggestions or sharing of experience would be greatly appreciated.

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Old 01-11-2006, 05:46 PM   #2
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Re: requesting help for a 3 year old boy dental problem

With so many fillings etc. that seem to be required, if it were me, I'd see another dentist just to be sure. Also do you know why there are so many cavities or dental decay? There might be some preventative ways to avoid them in the future. Sodas, a person's diet and other sweets sometimes can affect teeth. If you find that some changes like that could help, it might help prevent the same problems to the adult teeth that will be coming in, in a few years.

With baby teeth, some dentists might suggest something different. I don't like mercury-silver dental amalgams, and have porcelain fillings instead. I've had them for over 11 years with no problems. But you have to find a good dentist that understands how to use those porcelain materials, and find someone that would try to avoid any major reconstruction of baby teeth, if it really isn't necessary.

That's how I view it, although others might have different opinions or ideas of what to do. I think you're right to question that extensive bit of work on a small child. I hope that helps.

Old 01-11-2006, 06:19 PM   #3
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Re: requesting help for a 3 year old boy dental problem

Thank you very much for your helpful suggestion and sharing of your filling experience. Two things might contribute to the decays. First, my husband was responsible for helping my son with tooth brushing. I help my daughter. Maybe daddy did not do a good job. Many times when the child was too tired, he skipped tooth brushing. Second, my son likes cookies ( we buy low sugar organic ones), and once a week eats small amount of raisins in the restaurant. We never gives him candies or soda. I will improve these two things in the future.

I asked about white fillings. But the doctor said the white one is plastic (my husband's dentist said the white one is resin) which is not strong enough. In the long run, the white filling will make the tooth crack when the kid bites hard, especially for the bigger fillings. I also hate amalgam filling. I don't know if the resin one is similar to the porcelain filling.

Also, while he is performing the surgery, he needs to finish all the upper teeth or the lower teeth in 1 hour when the sedation is effective, so the parents are not allowed to accompany my 3 year old son. We would wait in his waiting room.

I called another pediatric dentist in the local area, but he's off on vacation until 1/16. I am posting here for help, since I need to take those pediatic dentist's suggestion with a grain of salt.

Old 01-12-2006, 11:18 AM   #4
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jectac HB User
Re: requesting help for a 3 year old boy dental problem

Amalgams are the preferred restorations for primary teeth. Many insurance companies will not pay for resin (the white fillings) in posterior baby teeth. As time has passed, the amounts of mercury in amalgams has been decreased and has been determined not to be a health hazard.

The reason why the dentist wants to sedate your son is due to the amount of fillings he needs, it is less traumatic and more effective to sedate him and have all of the work completed in 2 appointments. With the child sedated, he will be able to complete the work quicker than trying to wrestle with a scared 3 year old. Also, you don't want to frighten him, as future dental appointments would become a nightmare.

With any anesthesia, there is always a risk of death, be it slight. I would imagine that they wouldn't be putting him "fully under" as in a true surgery, but more of in a twilight. If you are truly apprehensive (you have every right as parents to be) you may want to ask the dentist about trying an oral sedative for the first appointment. This may be all he needs. You can always break the procedures into 4 appointments. If it doesn't work, and he does need sedation, try again. No harm, no fowl.

As far as the amount of decay your son has, you may want to ask the dentist about oral fluoride rinses. I myself always had a much greater amount of cavities as a child than my brother. We ate the same things, drank the same juices, and I always had cavities. He didn't have his 1st until he was 26yr. I started out at 6yr with 13!!!!

Hope this helped.


Old 01-13-2006, 11:17 AM   #5
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Re: requesting help for a 3 year old boy dental problem

Thank you so much for your suggestion, which are really helpful. I found some pediatric dentists just use nitrous oxide so that during the operation the kid would be conscious. Unlike the dentist I have consulted, who would put my son to sleep for 1 hour, which might carry some risks. The operation with conscious sedation might take 4 visits instead of 2. It's fine.

I googled the internet and found the amalgam is controversial. Some doctors would take parents' suggestion and use the white one, although it is not durable as the silver one. The dentist I consulted insisted on amalgam.

As for fluoride treatment, my daughter's (age 6 next month) 2 new adult teeth are not as white as her baby teeth and the first adult tooth. She went to have fluoride treatment twice last year. She always uses non-fluoride toothpaste at home. I wondered if the fluoride contribute to the mild discoloration of her new adult teeth.

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