Visiting a pediatric dentistry office with your child ensures his or her future relationship with oral hygiene and dentists, in general. Whenever your child suffers from oral injuries, consider making an appointment with your pediatric dentist to uncover any underlying problems. For instance, injuries to the tongue and teeth could indicate a deeper jaw or…
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.
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