As a provider of pediatric dentistry, we treat dental decay (cavities) on a regular basis. This is a condition that most children will suffer from at some point, some, more than others. Our job is to prevent this as much as possible. We can do so through annual teeth cleanings and preventative care. Still, we find that many parents are unaware of how serious dental decay is, how it occurs and what they can do to help stop it. With that in mind, here are some things that are important to know.
Preventing decay can be as easy as brushing and flossing twice per day, using a fluoride toothpaste, eating a healthy diet and visiting our office twice a year for teeth cleaning. In our dentistry office, we can also use things like fluoride and dental sealant to further protect the teeth. As long as the appointments are regular and there is a good routine at home, many children can get older without suffering from very many cavities. However, once a child has suffered decay, the environment in their mouth will have been altered and the unhealthy bacteria can cause other teeth to suffer from decay or infection. In other words, it is like a snowball effect, once a child has one tooth with untreated decay, they are likely to suffer additional oral health problems.
The teeth are very strong and the outer layer of enamel serves to protect them. However, the enamel is only so thick so when acid begins to attack it, a hole will eventually be created. To prevent this, it is important to avoid eating or drinking anything that is acidic and to brush teeth after eating so that plaque cannot form. This is also why we recommend fluoride. Fluoride is a mineral that can strengthen the teeth and make it less likely that decay will form.
When a child comes in with a toothache or we notice decay during a teeth cleaning, we will need to remove it right away to prevent further problems. Before we do so, we will want to make sure that our young patient is entirely comfortable. We will numb the area and provide pain medication so that they do not feel anything. Then, we can use a dental drill to remove the decayed portion of the tooth. Once we have done so, the area will need to be thoroughly cleaned so that we can place a dental filling and restore the appearance and functionality of the tooth. We generally prefer to use tooth-colored fillings since this is going to be durable but also the most natural looking. In fact, it should blend in entirely so that no one can tell the tooth ever suffered from decay.
Ultimately, our goal is to keep our young patients as healthy as possible. We do so by providing ongoing preventative care, removing decay and infections when they form and completing dental restorations in a timely fashion. Bring your child to our office today so that we can help them remain in good oral health.