I was taking my son to our regular dentist, who thought he saw the start of a cavity but couldn’t tell with certainty because my son isn’t the best at sitting still. He’s five, so I understand the struggle. I decided to take him to a pediatric dentist wondering if that would be a better fit for him. They were able to get him to sit still and examine him. They did confirm there was a cavity there. We scheduled a follow-up appointment for the filling and they used dental sedation to keep him still during the procedure. I was a bit surprised after the appointment when they told me the decay was more extensive than they expected so they had to do a pulpotomy. How could they have missed something so big? Or did they just do unnecessary work on him?
I am glad you wrote. Bear in mind that I haven’t examined your child, but I can give some guidance here. There is one thing that concerns me about this but before we go into that I wanted to go over what your dentist likely did right.
Did they miss something? Possibly, but it may not have been preventable. Your general dentist had limited information to draw from because he was having trouble with a wiggly wee-one. While the pediatric dentist did get to do an examination and x-rays, sometimes x-rays don’t tell you enough. They are two-dimensional images for a three-dimensional space. It may not have been possible for them to get an idea of the depth of the decay.
If the pulpotomy was done on a back tooth, it was probably necessary. Those baby molars have to stay intact until your son is around twelve years old, so it is important to do as much as possible to save those teeth.
They Should Have Consulted You
The thing that is off here is that they should have consulted you and obtained your approval before doing an additional procedure on your child. Consent is an important principle in dental care. My recommendation is you have a frank talk with them about making sure from this time forward they have your informed consent before doing any work on your son. If they have a problem with that, you will be better served finding a different pediatric dentist.
This blog is brought to you by Parma Ridge Dentist Dr. Gecovich.