Cavity Treatment for KidsNapa, CA
Dental cavities are a common problem among American children. If left untreated, they may cause pain and infection. They may even impede one’s ability to eat, learn, play, and sleep. As such, parents and caregivers should seek out dental cavity treatment for kids immediately.
Cavity treatment for kids is available at Dr. David Suttie Dentistry for Children in Napa and the surrounding area. We can help restore and maintain your child’s smile. Call us today at 707-887-5072 to schedule an appointment or learn more about our services.
Understanding Cavities in Kids
Dental cavities, also known as caries, are holes that develop in the tooth due to decay. According to the CDC, they are one of the most common childhood chronic diseases in the country. Approximately 20% of American children ages five to 11 and 13% of American adolescents ages 12 to 19 have at least one untreated cavity.
In their early stages, cavities are small and do not cause much pain. Left untreated, however, they will grow larger over time. As such, it is not uncommon for cavities to go unnoticed until they have already progressed. Regular dental appointments can help prevent cavities and detect early signs of tooth decay.
Causes of Cavities in Kids
Tooth decay occurs due to plaque, a sticky film containing millions of bacteria accumulating on the teeth. While it is natural to have some bacteria in the mouth, an excessive amount can become acidic. Plaque clings to the teeth simultaneously, causing the acids to erode the enamel (the tooth’s outermost layer).
Without proper treatment, the acids will continue to wear away the enamel, causing the tooth’s inner parts to decay. Cavities can reach inside a tooth entirely, which often (but not always) causes toothache. They can also cause a tooth abscess (infection).
Treating Cavities in Kids
Cavity treatment varies on a case-by-case basis. However, Dr. Suttie will most likely remove the decayed portion of the tooth with a drill. He will then fill the hole with a filling. This filling may consist of a silver alloy, gold, porcelain, or composite resin. These materials are safe to use, and allergic reactions are rare.
Crowns are for badly decayed teeth without much healthy enamel remaining. Once Dr. Suttie has removed and repaired the damaged portion of the tooth, he will fit a crown over the remaining tooth. The crown may contain gold, porcelain, or porcelain fused to metal. Root canal treatment may be necessary for children with severe cases, where the tooth’s root or pulp is irreparable or dead.
Possible Complications of Cavities in Kids
Unfortunately, cavities are so common that people underestimate how serious they can be. This is especially true with baby teeth, as many people mistakenly believe that they will not affect the permanent teeth. In reality, without proper treatment, cavities and tooth decay may have severe, long-lasting complications. These include:
- Broken or damaged teeth
- Chewing problems
- Positioning shifts of teeth (after tooth loss)
- Swelling or pus around the affected tooth
- Tooth abscess
Severe cavities and tooth decay may also cause pain severe enough to interfere with daily living. For example, it may become painful or difficult to eat or chew, causing weight loss or nutrition problems. Premature baby tooth loss can also negatively affect how the permanent teeth will erupt. It is also possible (though rare) for a cavity to cause a tooth abscess, which can lead to life-threatening infections.
Preventing Cavities in Kids
The good news is that there are many steps parents can take to help prevent cavities in kids. Instruction on proper oral hygiene is essential. Children should know to brush their teeth at least twice a day and floss nightly. Rinsing with a fluoridated mouthwash and getting dental sealants can also help.
Children should eat a balanced diet, as certain foods can increase the risk of tooth decay. In addition to eating fresh, whole foods, they should go in for regular dental checkups at least twice a year. Dr. Suttie can provide more personalized recommendations for each child and demonstrate proper brushing techniques. By instilling good dental hygiene habits early, parents can rest easy knowing that their children will carry these behaviors with them into the future.
Call Us Today
Cavities require immediate medical attention before they cause severe complications. We at Dr. David Suttie Dentistry for Children can help. Call us today at 707-887-5072 to schedule an appointment or learn more about our services.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are dental sealants, and how can they prevent cavities in kids?
Dental sealants are thin, protective coatings painted onto the chewing portion of the molars (back teeth). They are long-lasting ways to protect the teeth from germs and food. According to the CDC, dDental sealants protect teeth against 80% of cavities for two years and against 50% for up to four years.
Is my child old enough to get dental sealants?
Dental sealants are most effective when applied soon after the permanent molars erupt. Most children have their first set of molars come in around age 6. The second set typically come in around age 12.
How does flossing help protect my child against cavities?
Flossing removes food debris and bacteria from areas that brushing cannot reach. This is especially true when children are under the age of eight and still developing fine motor skills. You can set a good example for your children by brushing and flossing your teeth regularly.
Where do cavities occur?
Cavities can occur anywhere bacteria can reach. In other words, they can occur between or in the teeth. To prevent cavities, encourage your child to use mouthwash, floss, and brush properly.
What is fluoride, and how does it protect my child against cavities?
Fluoride is a naturally occurring mineral found in the bones and teeth. By rebuilding any weakened tooth enamel and slowing down demineralization, fluoride can help prevent cavities. It can also reverse early tooth decay and prevent harmful oral bacteria growth. Fluoride is added to many commercially available dental products, such as mouthwash, toothpaste, and supplements.
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