As a parent, you probably understand that pediatric dentistry is an important aspect of your child's overall health. However, you first need to deal with the teething process as the baby teeth emerge from the gums. It varies among babies, but teething typically begins around six months of age. Common symptoms include sore and irritated…
How a Pediatric Dentistry Treats Cavities
Cavities are a fact of life for people of all ages. Even with routine pediatric-dentistry care, most people will develop at least one cavity by the age of 20, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Children can be especially prone to cavities for reasons including:
- Diets high in sugar
- Inability to independently clean teeth properly
- Thinner enamel on baby teeth
- High activity levels that increase the risk of injury
- Habits that introduce more bacteria into the mouth, such as finger-sucking or chewing on foreign objects
If a cavity develops in a child's permanent tooth, a filling is usually the proper course of action. However, there are more options when it comes to tooth decay and baby teeth.
Treatment options for cavities in children
How a dentist treats your child's cavity will depend on a variety of factors, from your child's dental health history and home care habits to the severity and location of the decay. Fortunately, there are often several options parents can discuss with a dentist to develop a treatment plan that works well for everyone involved.
Monitoring decay progression
At the very first signs of a cavity, close monitoring may be all that is needed when coupled with a few simple lifestyle changes. Your child's dentist may recommend an X-ray at every visit to keep a close eye on minor tooth decay. Brushing more frequently, using fluoride toothpaste, trying a fluoride mouthwash, and limiting sugary and acidic foods can help keep the decay from progressing into a problem that needs treatment.
Silver diamine fluoride treatment
Many pediatric dentistry offices now offer a topical treatment called silver diamine fluoride. This brush-on product has anti-bacterial properties and can help slow tooth decay in many situations. This may be preferable if a child has developed a minor cavity in a tooth that is scheduled to fall out soon. It can also be used on children who may not tolerate dental work well. However, it is not often recommended for tooth decay in teeth that need to remain in a child's mouth for several more years.
If a cavity is severe enough to cause pain or risk damage to the teeth and gums, a filling will be necessary. Fortunately, most pediatric dentistry offices have plenty of experience keeping children comfortable and at ease during the procedure. Using nitrous oxide or laughing gas is a go-to for most young patients and helps them feel relaxed during the process with little to no risks of side effects or lingering symptoms.
Cavities that have progressed enough to weaken tooth structure may require a dental crown. This is common for children who have numerous cavities or serious decay. While dental crowns in adults are typically made from tooth-colored porcelain, most children are given metal crowns for improved durability, as kids tend to be harder on dental work.
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There are many ways a pediatric dentistry professional can treat cavities in children. Do not delay treatment; see a dentist right away and follow their plan for a healthier mouth.
The main concern of pediatric dentistry is the health of your child’s teeth and gums. A child’s oral health is so important that the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends that parents schedule a child’s first dental visit no later than the first birthday. During an appointment, the dentist can provide insight on how to…
In pediatric dentistry, dental professionals understand that parents play a big role in their children's oral health. You are a guide and model along the way, helping your children build healthy habits and routines. However, cavities in children are common. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 50% of children between…