What To Do If Your Kid Has a Cavity
Cavities aren’t ideal, but they are common. According to the CDC, about 20% of children ages five to 11 have at least one, untreated decaying tooth or cavity. Are you wondering what to do if your kid has a cavity? Keep calm, and call your Chattanooga pediatric dentist. When it comes to cavities, the worst thing you can do is nothing. You don’t want to leave a cavity untreated or unfilled, because it will progressively get worse, and cause pain and more problems if you don’t address the issue early on.
Cavities in Children
Several factors can make children susceptible to developing cavities including poor dental hygiene, improper diet, lack of dental care, and even genetics. Though a lack of regular brushing and flossing is often the culprit in the presence of dental caries, it’s not always the problem. Some people are just more genetically predisposed to tooth decay than others. That said, it’s important to teach your children to brush regularly and do what they can to prevent tooth decay.
Cavity Signs and Symptoms
There are several warning signs that your child may be developing a cavity, and when you notice them, it’s best to make an appointment with your pediatric dentist straight away. The earliest sign of developing tooth decay is the formation of chalky, white spots on the tooth due to calcium loss and the presence of plaque. As the cavity begins to form, the area will become light brown, and as the spots deepen, they will darken in color.
Symptoms of a cavity often include:
- Sensitivity to hot and cold and/or sweet foods
- Pain from the affected tooth
- Pain in the mouth surrounding the affected tooth
Treating Cavities in Children
If your child does develop a dental cavity, your Chattanooga pediatric dentist will present you with the treatment options that make the most sense for your child. Treatment will depend on the size and location of the cavity, as well as whether it’s in a baby tooth or a permanent one.
Dental Filling Types:
- Amalgam Fillings– Often used to treat cavities in kids, amalgam fillings are silver-colored, less expensive, and more durable than composites. They are also a faster treatment option so the child spends less time in the dentist’s office. If the cavity is in a baby tooth, this option makes sense while you wait for the permanent tooth to replace the affected one.
- Composite Fillings– This filling type is made from white resin made to mimic the look of real teeth. Though composite fillings are not as durable as amalgam fillings, they are a good option for addressing cavities that are more visible in a child’s smile, or cavities in permanent teeth.
No one wants their child to have to deal with the discomfort or the aftermath of having dental cavities, but they are very common and very treatable particularly when caught early. Still, there are steps you can take to help reduce the risk of cavities for your children including:
- Teaching great dental hygiene habits early on
- Maintaining a schedule of regular dental visits including cleanings and exams
- Make sure your child receives fluoride treatments to strengthen teeth
- Consider dental sealants to safeguard molars against tooth decay