Cavities can form on teeth when plaque and food are not brushed away. The food and bacteria-filled plaque form an acid that softens the enamel, eventually creating a hole. Cavities can form at any age… even babies can develop tooth decay.
So which signs should a parent look out for?
Tooth decay can start by creating chalky-white spots on the teeth. If a chalky-white spot is left untreated, it can turn brown, and grow progressively darker until it becomes a hole.
A cavity can have no symptoms. However, as the cavity gets larger, and deeper, your child may complain of pain when brushing and/or eating, and the area can be sensitive to cold or hot temperatures.
What steps should be taken if you think your child has a cavity?
At home, brush your child’s teeth with fluoridated toothpaste, twice daily. The fluoride in the toothpaste re-hardens the softened tooth enamel. Call your dentist, and arrange an appointment to have your child’s teeth examined. This is important, as cavities spread and grow very quickly in children. Do not delay booking a dental appointment if the cavity does not cause discomfort. Cavities only cause pain when they are very large! Dental treatment is much easier when the problem is small.
What will happen at the dentist’s office?
The dentist will book an examination to check your child’s teeth. Sometimes, an x-ray will help with the diagnosis and treatment plan. When the cavity appointment is booked, the dentist will go over the procedure with the child. The dentist will not use any words that can have a negative impact on the child. At our North Vancouver dental practice, we don’t say words like “needle”, “poke”, “pain”, “hurt”. The procedure goes very well when the child is calm, comfortable, and knows what to expect.
If the cavity is very small, it’s possible that no anesthetic is required to treat the cavity. This is the benefit of diagnosing the cavity early!
If the cavity does require anesthetic, the topical numbing agent is placed first. After the freezing part is completed, the decay is drilled out, and the filling material is placed.
If you suspect your child has a cavity, don’t wait! Book your dental appointment ASAP! Our North Vancouver Dental practice is presently accepting patients.