Pediatric Dental Cavities
Dental cavities are also known as tooth decay or caries. Due to pre-existing health conditions and several environmental factors such as poor oral hygiene or malnutrition, the hard protective covering of teeth, the enamel, can break down. This destruction of the enamel causes holes in our teeth which are known as dental cavities or caries.
Dental cavities or caries are a common dental disease among babies and children. As soon as the baby’s first teeth erupt, they are prone to developing dental caries. In the USA, tooth decay or cavities are the most prevalent chronic childhood disease that affects 27.9% of children between the ages of 2 and 5.
Untreated dental cavities can lead to infection, pain, and tooth loss. Dental cavities can also affect children’s beautiful smiles and have serious implications on their overall health and personality.
Treating Cavities in Children
Some of the best treatments for pediatric dental cavities are as follows:
In case your babies or children develop cavities in their primary teeth, your dentist will recommend tooth fillings or dental fillings. A tooth filling is a relatively painless and quick procedure.
The process involves cleaning away the food debris and other residue from your child’s decayed tooth or teeth. A white-colored composite filling is prepared to fill the holes (cavities or caries) in your child’s teeth. If your child’s teeth have suffered serious damage and are chipping at the edges, the dentist may use metal fillings to prevent further decay.
Tooth fillings will prevent your child’s teeth from further damage and infection. It will cover the holes and stop the bacteria from attacking the pulp of your child’s teeth. Infections in the roots of the primary teeth can lead to missing permanent teeth. Your child’s permanent teeth will take the place of the primary teeth, but a bacterial infection in the roots could affect the growth and development of the permanent teeth, resulting in missing teeth and bad bites.
The composite tooth fillings will save your child’s primary teeth from premature tooth loss and restore your child’s beautiful smile. Dental fillings can be performed on infants, toddlers, and children.
If the holes in your child’s teeth are too big to be filled with a composite mixture and the dentist can notice signs of severe tooth decay, he may suggest getting a dental crown. A dental crown is a cap that fits on top of your child’s decaying tooth to save it from further destruction. It is the exact size, shape, and color of your child’s tooth. It helps to restore the original appearance and strength of your child’s decaying tooth.
The dental crown is prepared after taking pictures and scans of your child’s damaged tooth. Before fixing the dental crown, the dentist will thoroughly clean your child’s decaying tooth to remove the food debris and other decaying matter. This cleaning process ensures that all the infection-causing bacteria have been eliminated from your child’s tooth before fixing the crown.
After cleaning, the dentist will use a non-toxic, edible adhesive to fix the dental crown over your child’s decaying tooth. The crown should not be removed while eating or brushing the teeth. In case the dental crown becomes detached, you must see your dentist to get it fixed again.
If the dental cavities have spread deep inside your child’s tooth and affected the tooth pulp, your pediatric dentist will recommend a pulpotomy. A pulpotomy is a minimally invasive and slightly painful procedure that is performed on children’s primary teeth. The dentist may administer local anesthesia before the procedure to numb the area around the dental cavities.
The dentist will remove the decaying tooth tissue to reach the pulp and roots of the tooth. The affected pulp chamber is also removed and replaced with a medicated filling. This stops the decay from spreading deep into the roots and prevents premature tooth loss. The dentist may place a dental crown over the tooth to secure the damaged tooth from further decay.
If your baby or child is suffering from pediatric dental cavities, then visit our specialized pediatric dentists today at Portland Children's Dentistry. You can also call us at (503) 477-7130 to book your appointment.