More than 40 percent of children ages 2 to 11 develop cavities in their “baby” teeth, according to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research. So, if your little one has developed a cavity, they’re not alone. And while it’s always best to prevent tooth decay with good dental hygiene and preventative treatments, getting a cavity filled restores the health of the tooth.
At Dentistry for Children, we’re able to offer a more comfortable dental filling for your kiddo, thanks to our state-of-the-art Solea CO2 dental laser. Plus, we use tooth-colored fillings — never silver — that are natural-looking and safe!
Read on to learn more about tooth decay and cavities. Then, if you’re concerned that your child has experienced some level of tooth decay (or if you’re simply due for a routine checkup), give us a call! We have three convenient locations in the Murray, UT area.
Tooth Decay 101
Perhaps your own parents warned you that eating too much sugar would cause cavities, and that’s basically true. When you consume any kind of food — but especially those that are high in sugar — leftover food particles cling to your teeth. If that food debris isn’t removed with proper brushing and flossing, it breaks down into sugars that attract bacteria. The bacteria becomes a sticky film called plaque.
There are acids present in plaque that weaken enamel, or the hard, protective outer layer of teeth. Repeated exposure to these acids causes deterioration — or decay — of the enamel. When a tiny hole forms in the enamel, that’s what’s known as a cavity.
Left untreated, the decay will simply worsen. It can begin to affect the softer, nerve-filled inner portion of your teeth, which can lead to toothache and even infection.
The Signs Of Tooth Decay
Sometimes, you can see a cavity on the surface of a tooth. Other times, it might be more difficult to tell whether a tooth is decaying. Some of the common symptoms of tooth decay include:
- Tooth sensitivity or pain when exposed to heat, cold, or sugar
- Visible holes on the surface of a tooth
- Brown, black, or white stains on the tooth
Routine dental checkups increase the likelihood that the earliest signs of decay will be detected. Plus, these regular appointments include a thorough cleaning. Our hygienists will gently remove any tartar (or hardened plaque) that has accumulated on your child’s smile since the last visit! This will help keep bacteria at bay and prevent decay.
A Comfortable Way To Treat Cavities
At Dentistry for Children, we’ve invested in the latest dental technology to ensure your child’s comfort! With the help of a dental laser, we can simultaneously numb your child’s tooth and removes decay for a procedure that’s gentle, precise, and fast.
Plus, we’re able to relieve any anxiety your child might be feeling surrounding the procedure. We offer three forms of dental sedation:
- Nitrous oxide, which is more commonly known as laughing gas, and comes in scents like strawberry and grape.
- Oral sedation, which is administered in the form of a beverage that helps your child relax.
- IV sedation, which is usually reserved for cases of severe anxiety or extensive dental work.
Preventing Future Cavities
Even if your child develops a cavity, it’s not too late to renew your commitment to preventing future tooth decay. Our compassionate staff would be happy to help demonstrate proper brushing and flossing techniques for your child or answer any questions they might have.
We can also set your child up for future success with fluoride treatments and recommendations for fluoridated toothpastes. And as your child’s “permanent” teeth start coming in, we can protect them from decay with sealants. These thin plastic coatings are painted onto the chewing surfaces of teeth to prevent cavities.
And of course, proper brushing and flossing habits are key when it comes to preventing cavities. The American Dental Association recommends brushing twice a day for two minutes each time, using a soft-bristled toothbrush. For kids under the age of three, all they need is a smear of toothpaste that’s the size of a grain of rice. For older kids, have them use an amount roughly the size of a pea.
Need help getting your child to brush? Try putting on their favorite 2-minute song when it’s time to brush, or let them pick out their own toothbrush and toothpaste. You can also make it a family affair! Brushing together as a family gives you the opportunity to lead by example.
Excellent Care For Little Smiles
It might be tempting to ignore decay of “baby” teeth since children will eventually lose them anyway.
But unmanaged tooth decay can affect your child’s oral development and cause them pain and discomfort. So, if you’re worried that cavities might be robbing your child of a healthy and beautiful smile, call Dentistry for Children!
Call the location nearest you, or simply fill out our convenient online form to request an appointment.