Tiny mouths found filled with rotting teeth

Pre-School kids pack dental operating rooms

The operating rooms at Children's Hospital Colorado are packed with preschool kids needing dental procedures.

"We're booked five months out in the OR, and that's three days a week, two rooms a day. And it just keep increasing," said Janine Costantini, ambulatory practice director at Children’s Hospital Colorado. "The more we do the more we need."

The hospital staff is seeing more tiny mouths riddled with big dental problems.

“There were over 3,000 OR visits last year just for pediatric dentistry,” said Costantini.

7NEWS was there when a 4-year old boy went under anesthesia for treatment.

“Out of 20 baby teeth we’re treating 16,” said Children’s Hospital Colorado Pediatric Dentist, Mark Koch.

The pediatric dentistry team at Children's Hospital Colorado mapped out the boy's treatment including extractions, baby root canals and crowns.

“His mouth is in very bad shape. This is not unusual. This is the fourth case today, in this room,” said Pediatric dentist, Mark Koch.

The boy ended up on the operating table for treatment nine months after pediatric dentistry staff recommended treatment.

“It is a very safe and comfortable treatment, but it is very expensive. That is the problem," said Ulrich Klein, DMD, DDS, MS Chair of the Pediatric Dentistry program at Children's Hospital Colorado.

The average cost of treatment is $3,000.

"Eventually the more they delay the worse it’s going to be. We just had a child yesterday every tooth in his mouth needed treatment -- every tooth," said Costantini.

Costantini and Klein said that 80 percent of the problem is coming from 20 percent of the population.

Bottom line, "These cases are preventable, but we're dealing with a host of factors," Klein said.

"Primarily, I think its education," said Costantini.

They recommend regular visits to the dentist starting at the age of 1, and more brushing and flossing -- even when kids are fussy.

"It is, too, in large, a parenting issue because the parents, they give in to the desires of children," said Klein.

Klein said the main cause of cavities is, "certainly the consumption of large amounts of sugar containing beverages."

Go easy with the candy, especially sour candy. According to the Alabama Birmingham School of Dentistry, the acid levels in Wonka Fun Dip Powder and WarHeads sour Spray are close to that of battery acid.

The Power of Sour On Your Teeth

Other Resources for Parents:

 

 

 

 

  • Cavity Free at Three

     

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  • The Dental Center at Children's Hospital Colorado

     

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  • Sip All Day, Get Decay

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