Tag Archives: Pediatric Dentist

Should I Take My Son to a Sedation Dentist

I’m sort of kicking of myself for how my son’s last dental appointment went. He’s been going to my dentist for all his check ups. This last appointment didn’t go so well. He’s six year old and normally does so well. This time, however, he was a bit fidgety. Our dentist said he had a cavity and mentioned that he could take care of it right then. My son melted down and slid out of the chair and started crying. He didn’t let anyone touch him. Now I’m wondering if I should have not tried to bring him to a sedation dentist. Now I am afraid he’ll never cooperate at the dentist again. Did I ruin his view of the dentist by not planning ahead?

Callie Anne

Dear Callie Anne,

Children in a line smiling

I’m glad you wrote. I don’t think you’ve completely ruined your son. Hindsight is always 20/20 so don’t judge yourself too harshly. You obviously care about your son and have been careful to take care of his oral health. It is equally obvious that your dentist is not used to working with children. Had he been familiar with children, he would not have just sprung a new procedure on your son like that. Children need a little bit of preparation for the unfamiliar.

My suggestion to you is similar to what you’ve already figured out. It would help him adjust back to the dentist by having sedation for this filling. I don’t think he would need anything strong, such as oral conscious sedation. Just some nitrous oxide would be enough to relax him enough to be calm and allow the dentist to do the work.

However, I am also going to suggest you look for another dentist for your son. It does not have to be a pediatric dentist. Instead, you could see a general dentist who is good with children. One way to know if they enjoy children is to ask what age they are first willing to see them. If they first see children around two years old, you can know that they enjoy working with children. If they want to wait until they are around five years old, then I would look for someone else.

This blog is brought to you by Lafayette, LA Dentists Drs. Foreman and Thimmesch.

Can an Infected Tooth Cause a Fever?

My daughter has a fever and thought it might have to do with a tooth that was bothering her. I asked her pediatric dentist if we could come in for an urgent appointment and he told me he would schedule a regular one, which would take two weeks, but that a dental infection does not cause a fever. I’m confused by that. Am I misunderstanding something?


Dear Lisa,

Mom holding her two children

Raising children is hard, isn’t it? We worry about them all the time.

I wonder if there was some miscommunication here. Of course a dental infection can cause a fever. Any infection can cause a fever. Maybe he meant to say that it does not always cause a fever.

If your daughter is in pain, then I think she needs to be seen sooner. I would find a pediatric dentist who would be willing to schedule an emergency appointment.

If she is not in pain, then you are safe to wait for the appointment your dentist is offering.

This blog is brought to you by Lafayette, LA Dentists Drs. Foreman and Thimmesch.

Is Every Toothache a Dental Emergency?

I’ve been reading about toothaches online because my daughter is complaining about a back tooth. Everyone seems to indicate that any time there is a toothache, it means a dental infection. Is that ALWAYS the case? I’m in a tough spot. At the moment there is only $35 dollars in my bank account. I don’t want to leave my daughter in danger, but I don’t know how to pay for the appointment. The tooth she is complaining about is in the back of her mouth. I would be surprised if it developed an infection because I had those teeth sealed and her last checkup had an all-clear.


Dear Cassie,

child getting teeth attended to

While in most cases a toothache can indicate a tooth infection, it is not so in EVERY case. You didn’t mention how long it had been since her last check-up. So it is hard to tell if it was close enough where you should not be too concerned.

I recently spoke with someone in a situation such as yours. Her daughter was complaining about a back tooth. Like you, this mother was responsibile and caring, so she worried about the potential of an infection. However, when she took her daughter in, the tooth was perfectly clear. The conclusion was that her daughter, who struggles with anxiety, had been clenching her teeth. This lead to the pain her daughter was experiencing.

In her case, the solution was to get a mouth guard. She couldn’t afford a custom one at the time. So, as a temporary solution, they purchased a one-sized fits all one at their local pharmacy for just a few dollars. While not ideal, it will do in a pinch while she saves up for the better device.

Because there is no way to know without checking, I would simply recommend calling your dentist and explaining the situation. Most dentists are compassionate and went into their field because they wanted a job that allowed them to help people. As you already have a working relationship with this dentist, they may be willing to just take an x-ray and peak in order to see what is going on and allow you to pay off the appointment a little at a time. This is especially true of dentists who see children.

At least this way you will know what your daughter is dealing with. If it is a tooth infection, then it would be considered a dental emergency. This is simply because these infections will continue to spread until the infected pulp is physically removed by the dentist.

Many people don’t realize that these infections can become life-threatening because of their proximity to the brain, heart, and lungs.

This blog is brought to you by Lafayette, LA Dentists Drs. Foreman and Thimmesch.

Thumb Sucking

I sucked my thumb until I was in junior high school and was finally able to quit. Now I’m an adult with a huge overbite. Is it possible to fix this without metal braces?


Dear Cami,

Invisalign aligner
Invisalign: The adult solutions to braces

I’m glad you wrote. It is never too late to repair and improve the appearance of your smile. Plus, because of the advancements in orthodontics, you no longer have to wear ugly and uncomfortable braces with their metal wires and brackets.

My suggestion is you see a dentist who offers Invisalign. These use clear aligners. No one will even know you are wearing them, even at a conversational distance. One of the hidden benefits is the aligners can double as teeth whitening trays. This will enable you to straighten and whiten your teeth at the same time, though you don’t have to.

Thumb Sucking

I’m saying this for the benefit of parents who have a thumb sucker. Don’t panic! Most children give the habit up by the time their adult teeth start to come in.

If you make a big deal out of it, there’s a good chance it will backfire and make it harder for your child to quit. If they get to the point where their permanent teeth are coming in and they can’t seem to quit, let them know you can help.

You don’t have to take them to a pediatric dentist and do anything expensive. The simplest solution is to purchase Thum. This is a bitter-tasting liquid you can “paint” on their thumbs. Most of the time they stick their thumb in their mouth without even meaning to because it’s a subconscious habit. This liquid will help them realize it.

This blog is brought to you by Lafayette, LA Dentist Dr. Mike Malone.

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?


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.