How We Treat Your Child’s Tooth Decay
A cavity can form in the smiles of babies and toddlers, as well as older kids and teens. Without treatment, cavities are linked to discomfort and even infection or premature tooth loss. But we have treatment to stop discomfort and protect your smile! In today’s blog, your Dallas, TX, pediatric dentist talks about treating tooth decay in little smiles.
The Causes of a Cavity
How does a cavity form in a little smile? When children consume foods and drinks with lots of sugar, and don’t brush and floss properly, this could leave behind particles for harmful oral bacteria to break down, which elevates oral acidity and coats the teeth in plaque, weakening enamel to cause cavities. Tooth decay is also linked to babies and toddlers falling asleep with a bottle of milk or juice. To help fight cavities, you should make sure your children brush and floss daily. For babies and toddlers, you may need to brush for them, and floss gently between teeth once they sit side-by-side. For older kids, you can monitor them to make sure they’re cleaning their teeth. Their smiles need to be brushed in the morning and at night for two minutes, and floss before they brush that second time. Be sure they cut back on the sugar in their diets too! Offer healthier snack alternatives.
The Warning Signs of Trouble
If your child attends checkup and cleaning visits every six months, then our team will have the chance to examine the smile and watch for the earliest signs of demineralization, so we can treat cavities before your little one experiences discomfort, and before the tooth becomes infected or lost. Otherwise, you may not know your child needs treatment until he or she reports tooth sensitivity or toothaches. Once the tooth erupts, this means that decay is advanced and the risk of infection is much higher. Don’t ignore these symptoms and risk the premature loss of baby teeth, a major factor in the onset of discomfort, talk to our team about treatment for your child’s tooth decay.
If we discover your child has a cavity, we will likely treat it in one visit with a dental filling. Instead of metal, we use a composite resin that is safe for kids of all ages. The material is metal-free and biocompatible, bonding with the tooth structure. We can also shade it to better blend with the tooth and the smile, so your child has a lifelike restoration. Placement involves numbing the tooth so your child is comfortable as we remove decay and clean the tooth. We then apply the composite resin in multiple layers and as it cures beneath a light, we sculpt and mold the tooth. The last step is to polish it for a brighter appearance. In one visit, we bring relief from toothaches!
What if the decay is simply too severe to be treated with a filling? In these cases, we again numb the tooth and remove decay. But we also remove structure from the tooth to make room for a crown, a restoration that covers the entire visible portion of your tooth. The crown could be made from stainless steel, which is helpful for rear teeth since these ensure greater bite forces and pressures. We also have NuSmile zirconia for the front facing ones, as this material is not only durable, but more lifelike appearance too. Remember, even baby teeth need treatment because weeks or months, or even years, could elapse between the onset of decay and the time the tooth falls out eventually. Without treatment, in that time infection could cause the tooth to be lost, leading to poor alignment.
Our team could also discuss preventive treatments to help lower the risk of cavities in the months to come. During each exam visit we can coat the teeth in fluoride to help strengthen the enamel and limit the risk of erosion and cavities. This is also why we recommend fluoride toothpaste when your kids brush, a rice sized blot for kids under three, a pea sized amount for everyone else. We also have dental sealants, an acrylic coating we add to the rear molars, which are hard for kids to reach when they brush and floss. The sealants can stay in place for up to a decade, and prevent food particles from being stuck on or between the teeth, limiting tooth decay in that region.
Schedule an Appointment for Cavity Care
Our team is ready to help kids enjoy healthy and comfortable smiles with the placement of a dental filling. Contact your Dallas, TX pediatric dentist, Dr. Marr, by calling (214) 321-4880.
filed under: Children's Dental Services