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Dentistry/Recent dental exam of my son

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Question
Hi,
 Last week my son had a dental cleaning and X-rays.  The X-rays came back fine and his cleaning went very well.  His hygienist said he had beautiful teeth.  He is 12 years-old and has not had a cavity.  So the dentist comes in.  First I must tell you that I had a bad experience with him when he put a crown in my mouth.  He got started and I told him I needed a second shot for numbing.  He was already upset with me because I was extremely anxious about the procedure.  When I told him I needed a second shot, I know that what he did was he turned around and grabbed the same syringe that he used for my first shot and did a phony injection with an empty syringe.  I knew I was not as numb as I should be and I knew in my heart what he did.  So after that I told the office people that my son and I are not to see that doctor again.  Well, the appt my son just had was a spur on the moment one because of a earlier opening.  I did not think to ask to be sure he does not see that dentist, so he ended with him.  So he came and is looking in my son mouths and says "oh look here, there is some decay."  I asked why it didn't show up on the Xray.  He said it was too small.  It was only the size of the tip of those instruments they use to check for soft spots.  So is this legit?  And if so, do I really need to be drilling a hole in my son's tooth for a cavity that small.  Can this decay be reversed?  I just don't trust this dentist and feel like he is trying to make money on a tooth that doesn't really need work at this point.  I can't afford to take him to another dentist for a second opinion.

Answer
Hi Beth,

I am sorry to hear about your experience.

I hope that the dentist is telling you the truth. I can't imagine a dentist saying a tooth has a cavity if it really doesn't. However, with that being said, every dentist has their own threshold for which cavities need to be treated.

If the cavity is very tiny, and the patient has overall good oral hygiene, most dentists will inform you, but then 'watch' it for a period of time. Other dentist like to be more pro-active and treat it so that way it won't get any worse. Both dentists are correct, and both are looking out for their patients.

If you feel uncomfortable, and the cavity is small, if you keep the area clean, it probably won't get too much worse in 6 months time. At that time, you can ask another dentist if it needs to be treated. I am not promising anything, but I am basing this on what you described.

I hope this helps!  

Dentistry

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Benjamin Schwartz, DDS FAGD

Expertise

I can answer a range of questions in dentistry, ranging from cosmetic dentistry, fillings, root canals, and comprehensive treatment. Specifically, my fields of interest are in CEREC technology, Invisalign (Invisable braces), and Endodontics (root canals).

Experience

Full time practicing dentist in New York City, treating all phases of adult dental needs. Specific focus on Invisalign cases, Endodontic (root canal) treatment, and CEREC single visit restorations.

Publications
Schwartz Benjamin, Boczko Fae, McKeon S. Oral Care For The Elderly. Perspectives in Gerontology December 2006

Education/Credentials
New York University College of Dentistry - D.D.S.
Woodhull Medical Center, 1 year post-graduate residency program - GPR

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