How We Treat Tooth Decay In Children’s Smiles

dallas kids tooth decay

When kids develop a cavity, this could cause painful symptoms and over time, an infection or even a missing tooth. But our team can offer treatment for cavities to preserve the tooth, even if your kid develops an infection. In today’s blog, your Dallas, TX, pediatric dentist talks about our treatments for childhood cavities.

The Causes and Symptoms of a Cavity

Tooth decay occurs when harmful oral bacteria reach the dentin, the sensitive structure that makes up most of the tooth. The outer enamel prevents this from happening, but poor oral hygiene or injury could weaken the enamel and expose the dentin, so a cavity can form. If your little one attends checkups and cleanings every six months, then our team will likely identify the decay in the early stages, before discomfort occurs. Overwise, you may not know your child needs care until he or she reports tooth sensitivity during meals or a toothache that doesn’t subside after a day or two. Without treatment, this could become an infection and care is then necessary to avoid premature tooth loss and misalignment!

Dental Fillings

The most common treatment option for a cavity is a dental filling. Instead of using metal materials, our team will opt for a metal-free composite resin that is safe for babies, toddlers, and children of all ages. The material combines glass-like and acrylic-like particles, and will bond with the tooth. We will treat the cavity by numbing the tooth and removing the decay. We clean the tooth and apply the composite resin in multiple layers. We sculpt the tooth as this cures beneath a light. The last is to polish the tooth. In one visit, we protect the tooth. Remember, baby teeth could fall out months or even years after a cavity forms, so don’t assume you can wait out the cavity, as this just increases the risk of worsening pain and tooth loss.


What if the issue is more advanced and widespread? In these situations, we may instead place a crown over the tooth. Again, we numb the tooth and remove the decay, but we also remove more of the structure to make room for the crown. For the side and rear teeth, which endure greater bite forces, we can use stainless steel. For the more front facing teeth, we have NuSmile zirconia, which looks more natural. The crown caps the tooth and provides quality repair and restoration.

The Pulpotomy Procedure

What if a tooth has become infected? If so, we can offer a root canal for kids. This is a more conservative alternative known as a pulpotomy. Essentially, we will again numb the tooth and may recommend sedation to help your child stay calm and comfortable as we open the tooth and remove infected tissues from inside it. We then clean the interior of the tooth and add a special medicated filling to the inside of the tooth. For some, this completes the procedure. For others, we may cap the tooth with a dental crown.

Preventing Cavities

Our team can also offer treatments to help prevent the onset of cavities! During their checkup appointments, we will apply fluoride in a varnish form to the teeth, which strengthens the outer enamel and prevents the onset of tooth decay. Application takes seconds, and kids need to avoid meals or drinks for about a half hour. We also urge kids to use fluoride toothpaste when brushing, a rice sized amount for kids under the age of three, a pea sized amount for everyone else.

We also have dental sealants, which are designed to protect the rear teeth that kids have difficulty reaching when they brush and floss. These sealants are a layer of acrylic that takes seconds to apply and coats these teeth, so cavities don’t form since food and drink particles are no longer trapped between them. Following the application, kids just need to avoid food and drink for about 30 minutes. They can stay in place for up to ten years and wear away with time gradually, sticking to the more vulnerable parts of the teeth the longest.

If you have any questions about how our team can treat tooth decay or infection in little smiles, or if you want to schedule a visit for your little one for a cleaning or a preventive treatment, then contact our team today to learn more.

Do You Have Questions About Restorative Dentistry for Children?

Our team wants to prevent cavities from developing into an infection or a lost tooth! To learn more about how we treat cavities in little smiles, then please contact your Dallas, TX pediatric dentist, Dr. Marr, by calling (214) 321-4880.


filed under: Children's Dental Services