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Cavities are a fact of life for many children. If your dentist discovers a cavity, there is no reason to panic, as they can usually treat the cavity quickly and without pain. Children’s cavities are usually caused by plaque buildup that begins decaying the tooth. Some causes, like eating sugary foods or not brushing and flossing regularly, are within your control. Other causes, like genetics, are not.
Baby teeth vs. permanent teeth
It’s usually best to have the cavity filled, even with it not being a permanent tooth. Why have a filling put in if the tooth is going to fall out eventually? Because there is a risk of the tooth becoming sensitive or painful and the bacteria involved could grow, which may require that the tooth be pulled. The natural enamel on baby teeth is thinner than adult teeth which makes it easier for tooth decay. Baby teeth serve a higher purpose then you might believe. They actually hold space in your child’s mouth until the adult teeth break through. Without the baby teeth, the permanent teeth can grow in crooked, affecting the ability to chew and speak. That’s why it’s recommended to fill a cavity in baby teeth.
Treatment for cavities
If your dentist is saying a filling is needed, you will have to discuss how to numb the area. Tooth repair requires drilling. While no one likes being stuck with a needed, some children are panicked with the thought of a shot. Your dentist might recommend using nitrous oxide (laughing gas) which will help calm your child and make it possible for the dentist to administer any shots to numb the area.
You can help make this go much more smoothly by preparing your child before the visit. Stay calm and cheerful when talking about the dentist. This is important if you tend to get anxious yourself. Keep it simple. Too much detail may be overwhelming to your child.
Dental sealants are a thin, coating that is painted on the back teeth to prevent tooth decay from developing. It’s a quick and simple way to protect your child’s teeth.
Fluoride Treatments are proven to strengthen enamel which helps to prevent cavities. Fluoride varnishes are applied topically to the teeth and are effect and safe.
Regular exams and cleanings can help remove plaque and tartar buildup which leads to cavities. Dentists can also catch decay in early stage, treating it before decay can occur.
Preventing cavities in children
Cavities occur when bacteria and food are left in your mouth. Eventually, this softens the teeth, causing cavities, or holes. Prevention is the best way to fight future cavities. Unfortunately, kids with cavities in their baby teeth are likely to develop them in their permanent teeth, as well. Also, some kids are just more prone to cavities, especially if there is a family history. In the meantime, stick to the basics. Proper brushing and flossing, a healthy diet and a limit on sugary foods and drinks will help prevent cavities at every stage of your child’s life.