As we all know, a child’s baby teeth are pretty delicate. Cavities from tooth decay can be a common occurrence in children, especially without the proper practice of oral hygiene. While baby teeth do not last forever, they are not expendable. Aside from serving as placeholders for adult teeth, baby teeth can affect a child’s overall health. If you happen to notice signs of tooth decay, it is best to consult your pediatric dentist as soon as possible. Get to know more about baby tooth cavity treatment and find out ways to boost your child’s oral health in this article.
A few weeks following birth, you can suddenly see tiny tooth buds poking through your child’s gums. Over the next few years, this gummy smile gradually develops into milk teeth, which most people commonly refer to as baby teeth. These baby teeth may appear small and fragile yet play a huge role in a child’s growth. They are responsible for assisting your child in chewing, speaking, smiling, and executing other oral activities.
Tooth Decay in Children
Poor dental habits from brushing to flossing can result in the development of tooth decay. Otherwise known as nursing caries, pediatric tooth decay is one of the most common chronic diseases in early childhood. Without intervention and treatment, it can lead to cavities which is a much more severe complication.
Why Do Children Get Tooth Decay?
Food, acid, and saliva combined with delicate baby teeth cause children to become more prone to tooth decay.
According to research, leftover food debris is one of the significant precursors of tooth decay in children. It happens when bacteria and other substances stick to the teeth for a substantial period. Most food contains sugar and starches; without proper brushing and flossing, the remaining debris will interact with bacteria and lead to acid formation. These acids attack the teeth’ structure, often leading to dental caries.
Baby Tooth Cavity Development
Cavities in children usually start from plaque formation. Plaque is a sticky film that comes from the accumulation of food, saliva, and bacteria. This chemical reaction progresses and chews away at the tooth enamel. As the enamel erodes, the tooth structure becomes more susceptible to infection. Over time, it creates holes in the teeth, which are also known as cavities.
Cavities on your baby’s front tooth can be an early sign of a progressive dental abscess. As the condition develops, it can cause discomfort and life-threatening infections, potentially ending in tooth loss. If baby teeth are lost too soon, the remaining teeth can shift and leave no space for adult teeth to come in.
What Are the Symptoms of Baby Tooth Cavity?
Although each child develops tooth decay differently, it is still essential to be aware of the common manifestations of symptoms when they happen. Here are some of the primary signs of tooth cavity in children:
These are oval-shaped discoloration that often forms on the affected areas. These white spots will appear as the tooth enamel begins to break down. In most cases, these spots cause tooth sensitivity and lead to discomfort in the oral cavity.
Light Brown Coloration
When you find dark stains on the tooth surface, it can be a sign of a progressive cavity. To prevent the hole from reaching deeper, talking to your pediatric dentist as soon as possible for early treatment is the best thing to do.
Perhaps one of the most classic symptoms of a dental cavity is a toothache. If your child complains of discomfort that does not resolve in days, a cavity might be a reason. Sometimes, a persistent toothache can be a dental emergency that comes with no warning.
What Are Baby Tooth Cavity Treatment Options?
The pediatric dentist will determine your child’s treatment based on a number of factors. These include the diagnosis, age, and overall health. Depending on the severity of the condition, there many treatment options that you can consider, such as the following:
Dental sealants are protective coatings that could stop cavity growth and prevent tooth decay. A pediatric dentist will usually suggest this treatment if the baby’s tooth cavity is at the back of the teeth. Sealants help cover deep grooves and pits, which lowers the risk for tooth enamel erosion.
In most cases, the decayed portion of the tooth must be removed and replaced by a filling. The dentist will cut the affected tooth and then cover the cavity with a white composite or metal material. Filling this cavity can help preserve and save the tooth from erosion.
If the baby’s tooth is severely decayed, a dental crown will help in preventing further deterioration. Additionally, this treatment option is necessary to maintain the normal function of the milk teeth. Pediatric dental crowns are indirect restorations that are personally fit to suit the existing tooth. It is available in different materials such as ceramic, composite, or alloy.
Expectations During Baby Tooth Cavity Treatment
For starters, the main goal for pediatric dentists is to ensure that your child will not develop anxiety. A child’s first dental visit is a crucial factor that could influence their perception until adulthood. In most pediatric clinics, dentists will offer sedation methods. Depending on your choice, the dentist can use laughing gas to help your child feel more comfortable and relaxed during their treatment.
The treatment will often take a few hours to finish. In most cases, the procedure happens in a single visit. However, it still depends on what your pediatric dentist will recommend.
What Can I Do to Prevent Baby Tooth Cavity?
An essential way to avoid cavities is to teach your child how to practice good oral hygiene. Regular dental care routine should include brushing their teeth at least twice a day and flossing before bedtime.
Dental hygienists encourage guardians to develop a habit of brushing along with your kid. This method will ensure that your child brushes their teeth properly. You can also help them clean through hard-to-reach crevices and get rid of all the debris stuck in between teeth.
Furthermore, explaining the importance of regularly drinking water will also help. Water rinses the teeth and encourages the flow of saliva, which prevents the formation of cavities.
A Word of Advice
Despite our best efforts, your child can still develop cavities. Taking your kid to the dentist for routine checkups will help keep their baby teeth in their optimal status. With preventive dental care, you wouldn’t need to worry about your child’s dental health.
As pediatric dentists suggest, your child should visit the dentist at the age of twelve months. Babies are more susceptible to developing cavities. Therefore, the most effective way to guarantee that they will grow with a bright smile is to support their oral health from their early years.