Tag Archives: space maintainer

Help! My Five Year Old’s Teeth are Rotting!

I have a five year old daughter. Three of her molars are decayed. I brush her teeth twice a day and floss. I do take her to the dentist but she is remarkably uncooperative. Every appointment is embarassing. First, what is going on with her teeth? Second, how do I get this necessary work done with her being so difficult?


Dear Edith,

Little girl smiling in a dental chair

I can tell that you are a caring mother and are doing your best to take care of your child. Let’s start with the most urgent issue first. She needs this work done on her molars for two reasons:

  1. If left untreated, this can turn into a dental emergency. When those are left untreated, it can become life threatening.
  2. Molars need to be kept until the child is about twelve years old. Otherwise, the other teeth will drift and it will lead to crowding when her permanent molars come in. That will mean expensive orthodontics. If a molar is so far gone that it cannot be saved, make sure your pediatric dentist places a space maintainer there in order to prevent that issue.
papoose board
Papoose Board

If she is uncooperative, you will either need to have the dentist use a papoose board or dental sedation. The work has to be done for her own good.

As to the second issue of why. Some of it may be genetics, but you didn’t mention this problem with your teeth. My strong suspicion is that she either snacks a lot or has lots of drinks thoughout the day that are not water.

Most people don’t know that one of your biggest allies in the fight against decay is your saliva. It contains bacteria fighting minerals. However, if someone is snacking often or having lots of sugary/citrusy drinks throughout the day then it doesn’t get the time it needs to do its job.

My suggestion is to limit her to one snack a day and make sure she is drinking lots of water instead of juices and sodas. This may be a tough adjustment for her, but if you hold the line, she’ll adjust to the new rules.

I hope this helps.
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