What Should You Expect If Your Kid Has A Cavity?

What Should You Expect If Your Kid Has A Cavity?

Team Pediatric Dentistry

Tooth decay is common in children, though it is largely preventable. If your child develops a cavity, you may have questions about how the doctor will treat it using restorative dentistry techniques.

This article will share the signs of a cavity and describe the process that your dentist will use to repair it.

Signs That Your Child May Have a Cavity

Dentists find most cavities during examinations or with digital X-rays. However, your child's teeth may exhibit some of these signs:

  • Sensitivity to sweet or cold foods
  • A visible hole in the tooth
  • A darkened tooth
  • White spots developing on the tooth
  • Tooth turning light brown

Long-Term Effects of Untreated Tooth Decay

Parents may believe that since primary teeth fall out, cavities in these teeth do not need treatment. However, untreated cavities can have serious consequences for a child's oral and overall health.

An untreated cavity may cause pain when the child eats. The child may develop an infection that spreads to other parts of the body. The child's tooth may need an extraction, meaning that the spacing between teeth is disturbed.

How Dentists Repair Kids' Cavities

The first optional step is helping your child relax using sedation dentistry. Many children do not need any sedation to sit through a filling, but if your child tends to be nervous about dental care, we can accommodate them.

We offer in-office use of nitrous oxide, which can keep your child calm during a procedure. Nitrous oxide is a safe choice for most children.

The next step in repairing a cavity is using local anesthesia to numb the area around the affected tooth so the child feels no discomfort.

Next, the dentist uses a drill to remove decayed material in the tooth. Once the dentist removes this material, they can fill the cavity.

Amalgam Fillings

In the back teeth and larger cavities, the dentist will use a safe metal amalgam material to fill the cavity. Amalgam fillings are durable and last longer than composites.

Composite Fillings

Composite materials are tooth-colored, meaning your child's cavity repair will be invisible. To create a composite filling, the dentist layers the material into the cavity and cures it using a special light.

Reducing Your Child's Risk of Cavities

If your child has experienced their first cavity, you may want to know how to improve home care to prevent further problems. Actions you can take to prevent cavities in your child include:

  • Bringing your child to the dentist for a checkup and cleaning twice per year, beginning with the emergence of the first tooth 
  • Brushing with a fluoride toothpaste at least twice per day
  • Flossing daily, making sure to remove food and plaque from between the teeth
  • Fluoride mouth rinses for children over age six
  • Receiving dental sealants at the office to protect permanent molars from cavities

Call Suffolk Pediatric Dentistry

If your child has a cavity, taking care of it promptly will help to protect their oral and overall health. Contact us at one of our convenient Long Island offices for an appointment today.