Prevention and Treatment of Cavities in Children
Getting into the habit of routine dentist checkups from an early age can prevent cavities later on in life and teach youngsters proper dental hygiene. It’s inevitable that people will get cavities at some stage in their life, so it’s important to learn about what causes them and what to expect when it comes to the treatment of cavities.
Signs of Cavities in Children
Children often can’t identify the source of tooth pain, so it’s important to recognize the signs and symptoms of cavities. Tooth decay is one of the most common chronic diseases of childhood in the United States and is particularly prevalent in low-income areas.
Signs of cavities can include:
- A reluctance to eat, or eating slowly
- Overreacting to hot and cold foods
- Headaches, crying, and nausea
- A small white spot or tinted area on the tooth
- White blotches on the gum (an early sign of decay)
- Extreme sensitivity to sugary drinks and sweets
In teenagers, the emergence of wisdom teeth can cause pain similar to cavity pain. The best option for both children and teenagers is to seek dental treatment for cavities.
Treatment of Cavities
If you suspect a cavity or any kind of tooth decay, you should book an appointment with a qualified children’s dentist for treatment. A general dentist for children has specialized knowledge in children’s oral health, which can include thumb sucking, fluorosis, and shark teeth.
A dentist assesses any damage to the tooth before treating the cavity. In children, it’s vital to preserve the milk teeth, as they help with speech and chewing. Losing baby teeth too early can hamper the development of permanent teeth. A dentist removes any decay and debris and then fills the cavity with a white composite that is set under a UV light. Most children and young adults are given a local anesthetic to numb the area and calm their nerves before the procedure takes place.
The mouth area surrounding the cavity stays numb for an hour or two, so children and teens need to be monitored. A cold compress against the face or a mild painkiller also helps to alleviate the tenderness.
Preventing Cavities in Children and Teenagers
Cavities can be caused by a number of things, but the main culprit is a poor diet. The teeth become weaker as age sets in, so it’s important to avoid sugar-laden items during a child’s developmental stages. Bad oral hygiene is also a cause, which is why children should learn about brushing their teeth daily, using mouthwash, and flossing regularly.
Cavities are caused when the tooth enamel breaks down from exposure to acid. Candy, fizzy sodas, cereals, and sugar react with the mouth’s natural bacteria, causing this acid to develop. The secret? Avoid eating too much sugar.
The best way to treat cavities in children and teens is to get them to a dentist before it gets worse. A children’s dentist also provides sound advice about a proper oral hygiene routine and how to clean a toddler’s mouth properly. Schedule an appointment with our local office and let us help you prevent cavities before they form.