When a child develops decay, cavities, or has suffered a fracture or tooth loss, there are restorative steps that we can take to improve their comfort and function. Many parents assume that their kids do not require dental care, often because it is their primary teeth, but that is not true. Decay and cavities in primary teeth can transfer to neighboring and permanent teeth. Effects of tooth loss can leave room for neighboring teeth to roam uncontrolled, and permanent teeth can become disrupted. Our team at Grove Street Family Dentistry can evaluate, diagnose, and review options to improve and strengthen your child’s teeth, no matter their age.
Taking care of your child’s oral health begins right away. Watch their sugar intake, keep their mouth clear of debris, and be in complete control of their dental health until at least the age of seven. We want to see your child for regular checkups by the age of two. Initial visits may just include counting teeth and helping them grow used to being in our office. We will discuss brushing techniques and monitor for the development of decay and anything out of the ordinary.
Cavities are the result of decay. Bacteria in the mouth feed on sugar and then emit an acid that breaks down the enamel leaving holes in the teeth. You do not want a cavity to remain, as it will continue to grow and can extend to the inner portion of the tooth causing pain and infection.
Small cavities can be repaired by removing the decay and then placing a filling material in the space. We may use silver amalgam or composite filling during root canal therapy depending on the size and location of the cavity being repaired. Larger cavities may benefit from a larger repair, where we place a dental crown over the tooth, also known as a cap, to surround and encase the tooth like a shield. This will provide an added layer of protection to a tooth that is otherwise compromised in strength.
Children are going to lose their primary, or baby, teeth. This is a natural process, and when things go as expected, there is no reason for concern. Sometimes, the loss of a tooth is not as expected, especially if it occurs from decay. Children can lose teeth too early, or can have a tooth knocked out from outside play, a fall, or when playing sports.
Oftentimes a parent is not concerned by this loss because it was a primary tooth, but we would like to see your child when this happens. A missing primary tooth before the permanent tooth is ready can be problematic. Missing teeth allow room for neighboring teeth to roam, thereby leaving inadequate room for the permanent tooth to erupt correctly. If a tooth comes out too soon, we can place an object known as a spacer to hold the space for the new tooth to come in.
If you have any additional questions in regard to tooth decay, or would like to schedule an appointment for your child to be seen, contact Grove Street Family Dentistry at (360) 659-3200 today.