As my kids get older, I decided to switch from their pediatric to a family dentist because I’m a single parent, and it saves us time to have one dentist. My 16-year-old daughter is proud of her teeth, takes good care of them, and has never had a cavity. She doesn’t eat lots of sweets either. Her pediatric dentist always praised her for being young but consistent with taking care of her teeth.
Our new family dentist found four cavities on my daughter’s molar teeth. She was almost in tears when the dentist told her that she needed four fillings. We let the dentist place white fillings. But since my daughter received the fillings in January, she has pain in the fillings when she chews. The dentist adjusted my daughter’s bite, and although the pain isn’t as intense, she feels it regularly.
I don’t understand how, between two dental visits, my daughter could have four cavities. And now that she is having pain in the fillings, I’m suspicious. I’m thinking about switching dentists again or accepting the inconvenience and taking my daughter back to her pediatric dentist. I am hesitant about contacting our current dentist, but do I need to ask for my daughter’s x-rays? – Brooke from Memphis, TN
It’s possible that your daughter’s pediatric dentist didn’t notice the four cavities. Depending on the angles of an x-ray, it is possible to miss a cavity.
Although Dr. Finley would need to see your daughter’s x-rays and examine her teeth, we understand why your daughter’s experience is causing concern.
Possible Causes of Pain and Discomfort in New White Fillings
There are two possible causes, depending on when your daughter feels pain.
Pain when only when chewing – Does your daughter only feel pain while chewing, or does she feel it when she clenches her teeth together? If chewing hurts, but clenching doesn’t, the dentist didn’t bond the fillings to the teeth correctly.
Pain when chewing and clenching – Usually, a dentist can resolve the issue by adjusting your daughter’s bite.
Preparing for a Second Opinion
Before you switch dentists or reinstate your daughter as a patient with her pediatric dentist, we suggest:
- Ask your current family dentist for a copy of your daughter’s x-rays and get a second opinion.
- Without talking about your daughter’s dental history and the fact that you don’t think she had cavities, present the x-rays, and ask for a second opinion on the fillings your daughter received. Unless you live in a large city, it might be best to get a second opinion from a family dentist in a nearby town or city, instead of a local dentist who knows your current family dentist.
- Look for a family dentist with advanced training in cosmetic dentistry. Look on the dentist’s website for indications that he or she participates in continuing education beyond dental school. It takes more time and skill to place white composite fillings than it does for amalgam (“silver”) fillings.
David Finley, DDS of Monroe, LA sponsors this post. Dr. Finley is an award-winning cosmetic dentist who has achieved fellowship status with the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry.