I’m looking to find a pediatric dentist for my son’s teeth, but he’s only four years old. I saw a dark spot on one of his back teeth, and I don’t know why it is there because I brush his teeth twice a day. He hasn’t mentioned it so I don’t think his tooth hurts. I’m just worried if it is a cavity it will get bigger. Is four years old too early for x-rays and a filling, if they are necessary?
I can already tell you are a caring mother who is taking care of her child, including the oral health. Catching a dark spot on a back tooth, like a molar, is hard to do so you are truly on top of it. Fantastic job on your part?
When Should a Child First See a Pediatric Dentist?
Most dentists who enjoy working with children will recommend you have them seen by their first birthday. It does not have to be a pediatric dentist. General dentists are qualified. Just be aware if they say that they don’t see children until they are five to eight years old, that is not an office truly ready to see children. I would look elsewhere.
An x-ray is perfectly safe for your son. Not only is the equipment child-sized, but the x-rays these days are digital with hardly any radiation exposure at all.
It is always best to have their first dental appointment before there is an actual issue so that they can associate going to the dentist with fun appointment, so in most cases, the earlier the better for their first appointment.
Why a Cavity if You are Diligent?
I can tell that you are taking care of his teeth. Brushing twice a day is great and you’ll want to floss once a day as well. There are a couple of things that could contribute to a cavity if this is one. First, frequent snacking is one of the biggest causes of cavities. Our saliva has decay-fighting minerals, but if your son snacks a lot, even with just juices, it will not give his saliva the time needed to do the job.
A second possibility is the crevices and fissures found on the back molars. They are great at trapping food and bacteria. It sounds like your son hasn’t been to the dentist yet, so he will not have had sealants placed on those teeth. If that is the case, I would recommend moving forward on that after his first cleaning as long as that back tooth is healthy and doesn’t require treatment. The sealants are simply painted on the teeth so there is nothing frightening about the procedure at all.
I recommend taking a deep breath and scheduling his first appointment to see what you’re dealing with before we worry about anything else.
This blog is brought to you by Hoffman Estates Dentist Dr. William Becker.