When your child goes to the dentist, they don’t want to hear the words “You have a cavity.” While cavities are common during childhood years, they can also be prevented.
Cavities are holes in teeth that develop when the enamel breaks down, thus leading to decay. They have many causes and can develop even in a child’s baby teeth, but there are a variety of treatments available.
Causes of Tooth Decay in Children
The main cause of tooth decay is bacteria that reside in the mouth. These bacteria feed on sugars and other carbohydrates that are left on the teeth. As the bacteria break down the carbohydrates and sugars, they create an acid that can eat away at your child’s tooth enamel.
Factors that increase the risk of cavities in baby teeth include the following:
- High amounts of bacteria in the mouth
- High sugar and starch diet
- Lack of fluoride in water
- Low flow of saliva in the mouth
- Poor oral hygiene
Symptoms of Cavities in Baby Teeth
Symptoms of cavities vary from one child to another. While some children won’t be aware of a tooth cavity, others experience sensitivity and pain depending on how deep the cavity is. Some telltale signs of cavities include:
- White spots on the tooth surface: This is often the first indication that enamel is breaking down, and the tooth is decaying due to mineral loss. At this early stage, the degeneration of enamel may lead to tooth sensitivity. It’s important to note that white spots are caused by several factors including poor dental hygiene, enamel hypoplasia and fluorosis. Eating sugary and acidic foods may also cause white spots to develop on the surface of the teeth.
- Light brown spot: This is a small hole that comes after a good portion of enamel has been broken down.
- Dark brown to black spot: The cavity changes color from light brown to dark brown and eventually to black as it gets deeper into the tooth.
In most cases, we can tell the extent of damage on the tooth through a visual exam. However, at other times, a dental X-ray may be necessary, especially if the cavity is located in between two teeth.
A child’s cavity treatment options are dependent on a number of factors. These include:
- The symptoms
- The child’s pain tolerance
- The severity of tooth decay
- A child’s medical history and overall health
- The parent’s preference
Dental sealants are used for minor decay. The sealant is an acrylic coating that’s painted onto the tooth, and it works to protect the tooth from further decay. Sealants stay in place for years, and they take a short time to install. However, they’re mostly recommended for children whose adult teeth have already grown in.
Usually, when a good part of the tooth has decayed, the decaying part of the affected tooth is removed. The material that’s removed is then replaced with a filling. Fillings come in two main forms. There’s the amalgam dental filling that’s silver in color and the white composite filling. This procedure is also quite simple and straightforward.
Pediatric Dental Services at Alpen Dental in Blackfalds and Rimbey
Regular dental exams are important for good oral care in kids. Our caring and compassionate team at Alpen Dental is happy to provide pediatric dental services to young ones.
We believe that a good first dental experience helps kids develop a positive outlook on dental care for the rest of their lives. We’ll examine your child’s teeth to ensure there are no cavities, and then give you helpful tips to prevent cavities from forming.
Pay Our Alpen Dental Team a Visit Today
Take the first step in preventing the formation of cavities. Contact us today to schedule an appointment for your child.