"I don't like sweet treats!" said no child ever. The sugary bites of heaven children are so tempted by is a major cause of tooth decay and cavities. Tooth decay is a condition wherein the tooth enamel or the hard outer surface of a tooth breaks down. Continual tooth decay causes cavities or holes in the teeth.
Carbohydrate-containing food such as starch or sugar is a major cause of tooth decay. When these foodstuffs get trapped between teeth, the bacteria that usually thrive in the mouth act with the sugars to release acids that slowly degrade and even chip teeth.
Children who have teeth cavities need to be treated by professional dentists to either contain the spread or restore damaged teeth. Take a look at a few of the treatments that could help your child combat teeth decay:
In order to treat decay in baby teeth, a non-invasive procedure called The Hall Technique may be applied. In this procedure, the decayed tooth is sealed with the help of a preformed stainless steel crown. The growing popularity of this technique is the lack of need for local anesthesia, drilling, or injections.
In the initial stages of tooth decay, you can see white spots on the tooth enamel. At this stage, the dentist can apply a fluoride gel or varnish on the affected spots to offer the required minerals to the teeth to fight the decay. A fluoride-containing toothpaste will also be recommended to help reverse the effect of decay.
In slightly more severe cases of decay where fluoride treatment is not an option, the decayed parts of the tooth need to be removed. The holes formed in the teeth are then filled with either a tooth-colored resin or an amalgam like mercury, silver, or other metals.
Sometimes the decay can be advanced to the extent that the teeth are chipped and damaged. This may affect the bite as well as the appearance. So, once the dentist removes the decayed region, he/she takes the measurement of the mouth to prepare a crown. Porcelain or metal crown is then placed over the damaged tooth.
The decay may enter the inner layer of the tooth, known as the pulp. The infection of the pulp may require the extraction of the tooth. A root canal procedure can be conducted to prevent this, wherein the dentist drills into the tooth to remove the infection part and fill it with medicated fillings. This may take 2 to 3 sittings, after which a crown can be placed to aid the tooth.
In cases where the entire tooth is affected, it may need to be extracted so that the infection is not transferred to the neighboring teeth. Once the tooth is extracted, it can be replaced with a dental implant and restoration.
Tooth decay is a condition that needs immediate attention. If neglected, it can cause too many rotten teeth and possible tooth loss. So, visit a dentist if you see signs of dental decay and follow up, regularly.
Call us at 650-322-9837 or schedule an online appointment with Dr. Haghpanah for a consultation at our office in Palo Alto, CA, to discuss your child's oral health more.