My five-year-old daughter has large cavities in all of her upper molars. For some of them, about 1/3 of the tooth is gone. I have taken her to several dentists, and she hasn’t let any of them work on her teeth. What can I do?
If you see 1/3 of a tooth gone, the decay is usually considerably more extensive than that.
When children that young have that many large cavities, it can be because of their eating patterns. Does she have frequent snacks all day long? Extensive tooth decay requires frequent feeding. Food passes through the mouth, and a meal will cause the activity of tooth decay bacteria for about twenty minutes. For that much decay, it requires feeding all day long.
For right now, you need to get her the dental care she needs. Your daughter may end up requiring sedation to get this work done. But get it done. If she loses these baby molars and nothing is done, her permanent molars will drift forward and block out her other permanent teeth, and her mouth will end up being a mess with teeth pointed in all directions because of the crowding that will happen.
Then, for the long term, I would try to encourage better eating patterns. These can be tough habits to break, but I would encourage you to tackle this. You may have to let her go hungry for two or three hours in order for her to build up enough appetite for a meal. Somehow you have to get her out of this pattern of constant snacking. It’s not only bad for her teeth, but snack foods are also not very nutritious, so this will help her in several ways.
Cleveland pediatric dentist.