Signs My Child May Have a Cavity

Did you know that cavities are common in children? About 42% of 2- to 11-year-olds have at least one cavity. Even preschoolers can get cavities! It’s important to recognize the common signs and symptoms of cavities in children so that you can take action, fast. Knowing what to look for is the best way to ensure your child’s oral health remains intact. This article will discuss some of the most common signs that your child has a cavity and how you can prevent them from happening in the first place.

Tooth Decay in Infants and Toddlers

Tooth decay in infants and toddlers is a common problem. Some of the most common signs that your child may have a cavity are:

  • White spots on the teeth: This is one of the earliest signs of tooth decay. If you see white spots on your child’s teeth, it’s important to take them to the dentist immediately.
  • Brown or black spots on the teeth: These spots are another early sign of tooth decay. If you see them on your child’s teeth, it’s important to take them to the dentist immediately.
  • Sensitivity to cold or hot drinks: If your child complains that their teeth hurt when they drink something cold or hot, they may have a cavity.
  • Pain when chewing: If your child experiences pain chewing, it could be a sign of a cavity.

Early Signs of Tooth Decay

Tooth decay is extremely common in children. In fact, according to the Centers for Disease
Control and Prevention (CDC), more than one in four children aged 2-5 years have at least one untreated decaying tooth.

The good news is that tooth decay is preventable. And if caught early, it can be treated before it causes serious damage. That’s why it’s important to be aware of the early signs of tooth decay so you can protect your child’s smile.

One of the earliest signs of tooth decay could be white spots on the teeth. These spots are areas where the enamel has begun to break down. If you notice white spots on your child’s teeth, schedule a visit with their dentist so they can determine whether or not these spots are indicative of tooth decay.

Another early sign of tooth decay is sensitivity to hot, cold, or sweet foods and drinks. If your child complains that their teeth hurt when they eat or drink something hot or cold, this could be a sign that they have a cavity.

If you notice any early signs of tooth decay in your child, don’t wait to schedule a dental visit. The sooner you catch and treat cavities, the better!

How to Prevent Tooth Decay in Children

Sealants, fluoride, and good oral hygiene can help prevent tooth decay in children. Sealants are a thin coating that is applied to the chewing surfaces of the back teeth (the molars). They act as a barrier, preventing food and plaque that can cause cavities.

Fluoride strengthens teeth and helps prevent cavities. Children who drink fluoridated water have fewer cavities than those who do not. Fluoride is also available in mouth rinses, gels, and toothpaste.

Good oral hygiene includes brushing teeth twice daily with fluoride toothpaste, flossing daily, and eating a balanced diet.

When to See a Dentist About Your Child’s Cavities

If your child is complaining of tooth pain, has sensitive teeth, or is having trouble chewing, it may be time to see a dentist about a possible cavity. Additional signs that your child may have a cavity include white or brown spots on the teeth, and bad breath. If you
notice any of these signs, make an appointment with your dentist as soon as possible to get your child’s teeth checked out.

Contact Us Today

To schedule an appointment at Sprout Kids Dentistry, contact our office today at 617-934-6339 or schedule an appointment online.

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White Fillings: Get the facts from your pediatric dentist

When cavities occur and the less-invasive treatment option of a composite resin restoration is a suitable treatment plan for your child, Dr. Anderson at Sprout Kids Dentistry will turn to a white tooth filling to restore an affected tooth. Based on a patient’s unique needs, the appropriate type of dental restoration will be determined.

For children who are unable to cope with the traditional dental setting to deliver dental care, who have a high level of dental anxiety, or who have special needs, we offer Sleep Dentistry as an option for completing multiple dental cavities. Here, a child’s treatment plan may include a combination of dental procedures including white fillings, stainless steel crowns, nerve therapy, and/or extractions. Learn more below about composite resin fillings, or request a consultation online.

What are composite resin fillings?

Composite resin fillings (also known as white fillings) are a type of filling made of glass,  quartz, or other ceramic particles packed within a solid or liquid synthetic organic polymer resin medium to produce a tooth-colored material. They are used to fill cavities, restore tooth decay, or prevent decay (sealants). Sprout Kids Dentistry uses a HEMA-free primer to bond the filling to the enamel or dentin layer, preparing your child’s tooth surface for a secure bond. Our line-up of composite resin products called Beautiful are manufactured by Shofu. They help to preserve healthy enamel and reduce demineralization while still maintaining a high level of bond strength. The composite fillings used at Sprout Kids Dentistry are BPA-free, non-toxic, and completely safe. 

When should composite resin fillings be used?

Also known as filled resins, composite fillings are often used in small to medium-size restorations, as they provide strength, durability, and resistance to fracture. In addition, the shade of composite fillings is made to closely match the patient’s actual teeth, so that other people will not be aware that dental work has been done. In some instances, parents may prefer that their child receives amalgam fillings, depending on their treatment needs, insurance options, or financial limitations.

What does getting composite resin fillings involve?

Composite dental fillings are placed in-office with-or-without laughing gas, or during sleep dentistry under general anesthesia. Before the composite filling procedure, a child will receive local anesthesia (Novacaine) in order to numb the affected tooth and area around the tooth. 

Once completely numbed, your child’s pediatric dentist will use a drill to remove decay from the affected tooth and prepare it for a filling. Then, the composite resin filling will be introduced, bonding involves layering on resin and hardening it using a specialized light to make it strong. The final step involves polishing the tooth and then applying a less viscous composite resin called a dental sealant in order to add an extra layer of protection from future decay or filling fracture.

How long do composite resin fillings last?

Since composite resin fillings are not made of metal it is natural to worry about their durability. Although they are made of man-made materials, your child’s white filling can last for up to 7 years or more with the right aftercare. You can promote how long your child’s filling lasts by following these steps:

  • Use a soft-bristled toothbrush and toothpaste to clean your child’s teeth twice daily for two minutes each session.
  • Use a high quality wax dental floss to clean between any neighboring teeth that are touching.
  • Limit sugary drinks or snacks.
  • Limit consuming foods or drinks that are stain-causing.
  • Don’t use teeth as tools to open packages.
  • Don’t chew on inedible objects like pencils.
  • Don’t chew on ice or overly hard-sticky treats.
  • Visit a pediatric dentist at least twice a year for routine check-ups and cleanings.

If you need to schedule a visit for your child or want to learn more about our dental treatment options for cavities, including composite resin fillings (white tooth fillings), call our office at 617-328-1700 or request an appointment at Sprout Kids Dentistry by filling out the form on this page.

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