Hi, I’m Lindsay. I’m looking for a pediatric dentist for my son Lewis. He’s only 4, but I think I see a dark spot on one of his molars. I don’t understand how he got a cavity, because I brush his teeth every day. He’s not complaining that it hurts or anything, I’m just worried about it getting bigger. Is four too young to have x-rays and a filling?
I am glad you wrote. It’s great that you’ve noticed the spot on your son’s tooth, those can be easy to miss. Sharp eye, Mom! It’s clear you’re paying attention to his mouth, and are involved in his oral health.
Is four too young to have x-rays and an exam or fillings?
The short answer here is no, four is not too young to have a checkup and x-rays if possible. Dentists who treat children see four-year-olds all the time! It is always better to get a child to the dentist as early as possible so that their experiences are positive and not shrouded and scary from a dental emergency.
I see a dark spot, is it a cavity?
It is a possibility. In baby teeth, as in adult teeth, there are grooves in the biting surface of the tooth which are part of the normal anatomy. this is especially true on back teeth. There are a couple different types, and depending on the size, location and shape they may be called pits, or fissures. These assist in the breakdown of food during chewing. Some patients may naturally have deeper grooves than others, which might appear dark, or may trap food debris and bacteria. So, those dark spots could be a hard to clean area that has something trapped or it could be decay from bacteria that was trapped there.
This is one of the reasons dentists recommend sealings on children’s back teeth. It is a painless procedure and is great protection for children’s back teeth. My suggestion is to take him in and have it evaluated sooner rather than later. The earlier something is caught, the less invasive the solution is.
If it is a cavity, how did he get it?
It’s great that you’re brushing his teeth daily; it’s an important part of his oral care and it’s modeling and establishing healthy habits he’ll need throughout life. As you know, it’s best to brush twice daily, and floss them for him as well. However, one of the biggest causes of decay is frequent snacking. If your son snacks a lot throughout the day or drinks a lot of juice, it will contribute to decay even with superb oral hygiene. I would limit snacks to no more than two a day and make sure he is drinking more water than juice.
This blog is brought to you by Decatur, AL Dentists Drs. Drake and Wallace.