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My Child Has a Cavity. Now What?

One of the frustrating things for any parent to hear is that their child has a cavity. For some parents, this piece of news can be overwhelming and guilt-inducing. 


However, having a cavity is not the end of the world for your child. Cavities are common among children — and they can happen despite even our best efforts. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, over 52% of kids aged six to eight had cavities in their baby teeth. 


You and your kid can overcome this challenge. The key is knowing how to handle the situation properly and take decisive action towards improving your child’s oral and dental health. 


What Is a Cavity? 

A cavity is a small hole that forms on the surface of a tooth due to tooth decay. Also commonly referred to as tooth decay, a cavity can cause pain and may lead to infections or other serious problems. However, that only happens if they are left untreated. With early detection, timely intervention, and the help of a reliable pediatric dentist, cavities are completely treatable. 


How Do You Prevent Cavities? 

When it comes to preventing cavities, teaching children good oral hygiene practices is one of the first lines of defense. Below are some habits to instill in your child to help prevent cavities: 

  • Brush teeth at least twice a day, especially before sleeping at night
  • Use fluoride toothpaste when brushing teeth. 
  • For effective brushing, move the brush in small, circular motions. 
  • Encourage regular flossing. 
  • Limit consumption of sugary snacks and drinks. 


In addition to these home-care practices, it’s essential to schedule regular pediatric dental checkups and professional cleanings. Experts recommend that children should have a checkup at least twice a year with their pediatric dentist. These visits serve as an opportunity for the dentist to assess your child’s oral health, spot early signs of cavities, and provide timely intervention. 


What Causes Cavities? 

Cavities are primarily caused by the interaction between bacteria in the mouth and sugary or starchy foods. Cavities form when food particles remain on the teeth and form plaque. The bacteria in plaque produce acids that erode the tooth enamel, causing cavities to form over time. 


Bad oral habits and poor nutrition or diet substantially contribute to the formation of cavities as well. Neglecting to brush and floss regularly and eating too much sugary or starchy food can both allow bacteria to thrive and produce harmful acids that gradually erode tooth enamel, leading to cavities.


What Are Signs of Cavities? 

Regular dental check-ups can detect early signs of cavities before they get worse. You can also detect early symptoms of cavities yourself, which will help ensure timely intervention. Below are signs and symptoms to watch out for: 

  • Toothache or discomfort 
  • Swelling of the face or jaw 
  • Sensitivity to hot, cold, or sweet foods and drinks 
  • Visible holes or pits in the teeth 
  • Stains on the teeth — these can be white, brown, or black 
  • Bad breath or a bad taste in the mouth 


If your child complains about or experiences any of these symptoms, it’s time to visit a kids’ dentist for an examination. 


What Is the Normal Treatment for Cavities? 

The normal treatment for cavities in children primarily involves the removal of decayed tooth material and the filling of the cavity. 


The dentist will first numb the area around the affected tooth to minimize discomfort. They will then drill away the decayed material and fill the cavity with a material like composite resin. These fillings can be white or tooth-colored, ensuring a natural look. 


In certain cases, if the cavity is too large or deep, a crown might be necessary. Tooth extractions or root canals may also be necessary for more extensive cavities. Regular follow-ups are crucial to ensure the success of the treatment and to prevent further decay. 


Does It Hurt? 

One common question parents ask is whether the treatment hurts. With advancements in dentistry, including the use of local anesthesia and sedation for kids, the procedure is typically painless. A pediatric dentist is well-versed in creating a comfortable and stress-free environment for your child, ensuring that any discomfort is kept to a minimum. 


Entrust Your Child’s Cavity Treatment to Bay Area Kids Dentist 

When your child shows signs of dental pain or cavities, it’s crucial to seek the care of a specialized pediatric dentist. Bay Area Kids Dentist understands the unique needs of children when it comes to dental care. 


Our team is here to help your child smile bright and pain-free. We understand the importance of effective and timely dental care, and we ensure a warm and welcoming environment to put your child at ease. With our pediatric dental experts, kid-friendly offices, and kid-sized equipment, you and your child can rest assured you’re getting the best services at Bay Area Kids Dentist. 


Reach out to Bay Area Kids Dentist for your child’s cavity and tooth decay problems. Schedule an appointment today and let our skilled pediatric dentists take care of your child’s dental needs.