There are a few options available to dentists when it comes to treating kids cavities. A cavity is a hole that forms on a tooth's surface due to erosion from acids. These acids are created by oral bacteria that live in the mouth, while some come from the things a person consumes. Teeth are protected by an outer layer called the enamel. This is the strongest part of the body, but it can be eroded by acids in the mouth. When this occurs, the inner layer of the tooth called the dentin is exposed to the bacteria, food particles and acids in the child's mouth. Unlike the enamel, the dentin is not designed to withstand these irritants. Once a cavity reaches the dentin, the person will experience symptoms like:
- Tooth sensitivity
- Bad breath
- Sore gums
- Pain when chewing
- Food getting stuck inside a tooth
Treating kids cavities
The treatment options that are commonly used to address kids' cavities include:
Fillings are the standard treatment for cavities regardless of the patient's age. During the treatment, the dentist removes the decayed part of the tooth and fills it up with a putty-like material that is appropriately called a filling. This material hardens when exposed to air and saliva, and it closes up the hole created by the cavity. This prevents bacteria and food particles from getting into it.
2. Fluoride treatment
This is often performed when the cavity is still in its early stages and has not yet reached the dentin. The fluoride gel or paste is applied to a mouth tray and the patient bites down on it. It helps to remineralize damaged enamel and can keep teeth decay-free for months at a time.
3. Dental sealants
Dental sealants can be used to prevent and treat cavities. They are used to treat minor cavities by filling up the pit with this thin plastic coating. It is an affordable solution that is quite effective.
4. Dental bonding
Dental bonding is often preferred to traditional fillings since it matches the color of the patient's teeth. The composite is poured into the cavity and hardened with an ultraviolet light. When the treatment is finished, it will be virtually impossible to tell the tooth has been repaired with a composite.
Crowns are used to treat severe cavities, especially if they require a root canal. The crown helps to regain the function of the weakened tooth and improves its appearance. Stainless steel crowns are often recommended for children given their affordability. A crown will keep a milk tooth protected until it is ready to fall out.
Cavities require quick treatment
For the most part, cavities are a minor dental issue as long as they are treated early. They can lead to an infection or the loss of a tooth when ignored. Stop by our Richmond office and have your child examined if you suspect they are developing cavities.
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