My son is 5 years old and already has problems with cavities. I am a single parent working full-time, and although I do not give my son many sweets at home, his caregiver gives him plenty of sugary snacks. I have talked to the caregiver about it, but she ignores me. I can see that my son’s teeth are not in good shape. After a dental exam last month, the pediatric dentist said that my son has three small but deep cavities in his upper molar teeth. He also lost tooth structure on two other teeth. My son complains when he chews on the right side of his mouth. Unfortunately, something about the dentist we saw makes my son nervous, so I am concerned that he will panic when it is time for the dental work. Should I ask the dentist about sedation? Deidre from KY
We are sorry to hear about your son’s teeth complications and that his caregiver is not cooperating with you. It might help to speak with your caregiver and your son regularly about the issue. If you haven’t tried it yet, maybe you can prepare healthy snacks for your son to eat while with the caregiver. Still, frequent snacking promotes tooth decay. If your circumstances permit, you can also consider switching caregivers.
Tooth Decay in Primary Teeth
Tooth decay in primary teeth can affect your child’s oral long-term oral health. Although primary teeth are replaced with permanent teeth eventually, they are essential for chewing, pronouncing words correctly, and helping permanent teeth erupt correctly.
- Frequent snacking – Tooth decay and loss of tooth structure often result from regular eating or snacking throughout the day. So, if your child has a caregiver that provides snacks throughout the day, it will further damage your child’s teeth.
- Effect of primary tooth decay on permanent teeth – An article on tooth eruption published by the Journal of the American Dental Association states that Infection from decayed primary teeth can damage permanent teeth developing beneath them.
Dental Care for Children with Anxiety
Dental anxiety in children is affected by a child’s experience at the dentist. Positive experiences help a child enjoy visits. But if a dentist is rough or gives painful treatment, your child’s fear can develop or increase. And the anxiety can continue into adulthood.
As a parent, you can decide whether to continue with your child’s pediatric dentist or if it is better to switch dentists. Many parents who see family dentists bring their children to the office to become patients of the family dentist. If you have a family dentist you like, consider if your child will be more comfortable with them. You can schedule a visit for your child to meet your family dentist and observe their interaction.
Sedation dentistry for children
Helping your child recover from tooth decay is a priority. If your son requires sedation to complete dental treatment, ask a dentist about their sedation options for children. A dentist will preserve your child’s teeth with filling and crowns, as needed.
David Finley, DDS of Monroe, LA, sponsors this post.