Tooth decay and cavities are common enough that most people recognize the threat they might pose to their teeth. They may even recognize the threat it can pose to a child’s long-term oral health if it’s allowed to progress enough. However, the time-sensitive nature of addressing tooth decay isn’t always obvious until the condition has already become severe. One of the most important reasons to treat your child’s cavity as soon as possible is the fact that it will grow worse over time, and that time can often be much shorter than you expect.
The progressive nature of cavities
Cavities and tooth decay aren’t the same thing, but they describe the same problem – the infectious erosion of your tooth structure. Tooth decay is the name of the infection that develops when oral bacteria weaken your child’s tooth enamel and begin to erode the main tooth structure. The growing depression in your child’s tooth that results is called a cavity. The more severe tooth decay progresses, the larger the cavity will become, due to the greater amount of tooth structure that the decay is eroding. All it takes for this erosion to progress is time, and the longer wait to treat your child’s cavity, the greater the chances that your child may need more extensive restorative treatment.
How filling a mild cavity works
When tooth decay is still mild or moderate, the cavity and decay are still highly manageable. To fill your child’s cavity, we’ll first clean away the harmful oral bacteria that are driving the decay, as well as any remaining tooth structure that has become infected. Then, we can place a tooth-colored, biocompatible resin in the cavity to replace the structure that has decayed. This reinforces the health and integrity of your child’s tooth so it can once again take the full force of your child’s bite. It will also prevent any more bacteria from reaching the part of your child’s tooth that has already decayed, and is no longer protected by healthy, natural tooth enamel.
What could happen, given enough time
Because of the progressive nature of tooth decay, there is a limited amount of time between the formation of a cavity and the point at which the decay is too severe for a filling to address it. We often recommend children receive cavity treatment as soon as possible to help avoid the need for more extensive treatment, though such treatment is available should your child’s tooth become more severely infected. This involves the decay reaching the inner pulp chamber of your child’s tooth, infecting the nerves, blood vessels, and other soft tissues that are housed within in. Through a procedure known as pulpotomy (a scaled-down version of root canal therapy), we may be able to address the severe infection and preserve what remains of your child’s healthy, natural tooth structure.
Treat your child’s cavity as soon as possible
The tooth decay that causes your child’s cavity won’t wait on you to treat it, which is why we recommend filling your child’s cavity as soon as possible. To learn more, schedule an appointment by calling Pediatric Dental Care at Casa Linda in Dallas, TX today at 214-321-4880. We proudly serve patients who live around Casa Linda and all surrounding Dallas communities.