Tooth cavity fillings – they’re not something most of us like getting — or even talking abouta. Yet tooth decay is a serious issue here in San Diego and all over the United States for that matter.
If you or a family member needs to talk about child tooth decay treatment options, The Super Dentists – the premier dental & orthodontic care network in Southern California – is here to help. We can diagnose andtreat tooth decay and cavities and follow-up with you aboutcavity treatment at any of our six locations.
If you’re not sure if you or your family member has a cavity, it’s always best to schedule an appointment with San Diego’s #1 dental care providers in San Diego.
Cavities in Kids and Toddlers: Causes & Cures
Approximately 28% of kids between two and five years old have cavities (also known as dental caries). Dental caries in children are caused when bacteria is formed from consuming foods with sugars and starches, like juice, bread, cereal, soda, candy and milk.
The bacteria from these carbohydrate-rich foods can then live in the mouth, creating acids. The combination of four factors – food, saliva, acid and bacteria – creates plaque formed on teeth. The plaque eats away at teeth until a hole is created, called a cavity.
Cavities in children’s teeth are usually formed when they are not properly brushing their teeth.
Toddlers are prone to cavities due to a combination of factors. Their developing teeth have thinner enamel, making them more vulnerable to acids produced by bacteria.
Frequent consumption of sugary foods and drinks can create an ideal environment for bacteria to thrive, leading to plaque buildup and enamel erosion. Toddlers often lack efficient brushing and oral hygiene skills, leaving teeth exposed to acids.
Nighttime bottle or sippy cup use with milk or juice can also lead to prolonged exposure to sugars. Additionally, genetics play a role in tooth susceptibility.
For toddler cavity treatment and prevention, parents should guide children in a successful oral hygiene routine that includes brushing twice a day for two minutes a time and flossing.
Following all of these steps will limit the need for pediatric dental fillings and will help set your child up on the road to great overall oral health.
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Common causes of Kids Cavities Include:
- Inadequate oral hygiene
- Consuming too many sugars and starches
- Public water supply without fluoride
- High levels of the bacteria that cause cavities
- Less saliva flow than normal
Children are unable to brush their teeth well by themselves until they are six years old. Prior to that age, parents should step in and help their children brush, or at a minimum supervise the teeth brushing to ensure the technique is effective. Good dental hygiene for children and adults must include regular dental checkups every six months.
Baby teeth are softer than adult teeth and more prone to cavities, therefore treatment for kids cavities is to see the dentist at least every six months to catch decay in the early stages.
The Super Dentists pediatric dentists are experts at keeping your child at ease during a tooth filling. Depending on your child’s needs, we can use relaxation techniques or mild sedation options to ensure a comfortable cavity filling experience.
Patient comfort is a key aspect of kids cavity filling techniques, and for patients of any age. Given our expertise in child tooth decay treatment options, there’s simply no better alternative than The Super Dentists for pediatric cavity treatment.
Child Tooth Decay Filling and Treatment Options
Aside from our world-class pediatric cavity treatment methods, The Super Dentists are here to assist with older children and adults, too. Even though permanent teeth are stronger than baby teeth, they are also susceptible to cavities. If you or your older children require dental fillings in permanent teeth, The Super Dentists will use a gentle touch to fill your tooth, too.
When a tooth is fractured or damaged due to decay or trauma, dental fillings can replace and restore the tooth’s structure. No one wants to hear that they have a cavity; however, cavity filling is a routine procedure that can fix the tooth.
The Super Dentists gives you and your child tooth decay treatment options that include white resin composite or amalgam fillings. We will also talk about sealants to help prevent cavities and crowns when the fillings aren’t going to work.
Resin Composite Fillings
The primary distinction between resin composite fillings and amalgam fillings is the metal content:
- Amalgam fillings contain mercury and silver, while resin composite fillings consist of durable, adhesive polymer materials. Years ago, the only option available for tooth fillings was unattractive metal fillings in silver or gold.
- Resin-based composite fillings are white or tooth-colored made from a mixture of plastic and glass or quartz filler. Resin composite fillings blend in with your teeth, making them more attractive than amalgam fillings. However, resin-based fillings only last five years before they require replacement.
Dental Amalgam Fillings
Dental amalgam is the child tooth decay treatment option that has been around for more than 100 years. Amalgam was used in the original silver-colored fillings made from mercury, silver, tin and copper.
Because these fillings contain mercury, there have been concerns with how safe the material is in mouths. Nevertheless, The American Dental Association and other organizations have performed studies that prove amalgam fillings are safe and effective for filling cavities.
The pros of amalgam fillings include that they are affordable, durable and last a long time (sometimes decades) before requiring replacement.
Dental sealant is a thin white or clear resin liquid coating (same material as white fillings) that is brushed onto your child’s back teeth to stop the early stages of decay from becoming a full-blown cavity.
The sealant is applied to the back teeth using a small brush and then is bonded to the teeth by using a blue LED light.
All of this is painless, so no anesthesia is required. Sealants are an effective child tooth decay treatment option to prevent cavities when they are applied soon after permanent molars come in, around six years old. The ADA recommends dental sealants for kids during early stages of a cavity to help stop decay.
If a cavity is not caught early, the decay can destroy so much of the tooth that there is not enough left to support a filling. This is where the crown is useful. Crowns completely cover a tooth that has very little tooth structure left or has been weakened by decay, has been cracked, discolored or damaged.
A dental crown keeps the tooth and root intact and reduces the risk of pain and infection. Dental crowns for kids are the recommended way to either keep a baby tooth in place or save a permanent tooth.
There are two kinds of crowns to choose from: white composite crowns and stainless steel crowns.
Composite crowns are tooth-colored restorations made from a blend of resin materials. They offer aesthetic appeal but are less durable and prone to wear compared to stainless steel crowns.
Stainless steel crowns are silver-colored, durable, and often used for primary teeth due to their strength and longevity. Composite crowns provide a more natural appearance but might require replacement sooner.
To find out more about crowns, click here.
Contact The Super Dentists Today
To learn more about these dental treatments for children or adults, contact us today or make an appointment to find out more about our child and adult treatment options.
At The Super Dentists, you’ll enjoy all-in-one dental and orthodontic services, delivered by the most accomplished group of dental care professionals you’ll find anywhere. With dental facilities located throughout the San Diego region, exceptional treatment is always just around the corner!
Give us a call at 1 (855) GO SUPER, text The Super Dentists at 1 (844) 765—1234. We look forward to seeing you and your family today. We make million-dollar smiles affordable for everyone.
CHILDREN’S CAVITY FAQ
How Do Dentists Fill Cavities in Toddlers?
Baby teeth are filled much the same way an adult tooth is. First, the dentist removes the decay, then fills the hole with composite or metal material, and lastly adheres the material to the tooth. A local anesthetic is used to numb the area via a small needle prior to the procedure.
A topical anesthetic jelly is applied first on the child’s cheek and gums so they will not feel the needle. Dentists may also offer nitrous oxide to help children relax for the filling.
How Will the Dentist Choose a Filling Type?
Your dentist at The Super Dentists will assess your child’s situation and determine which filling is best suited to him or her. There are four different options for fillings and each has pros and cons: composite resin, silver amalgam, ceramic, gold fillings and glass ionomers.
Can Tooth Decay Be Permanently Fixed in Kids?
Tooth decay in kids can be effectively treated, but the extent of the treatment depends on the severity of the decay. Early-stage cavities can often be repaired with dental fillings or sealants, restoring the tooth’s function and appearance.
However, if decay progresses, more extensive treatments like dental crowns might be necessary to restore structural integrity. The sooner you bring your child in for a pediatric dentist cavity treatment, the better.
Is Tooth Decay Considered Neglect?
Tooth decay is not necessarily considered neglect by default. However, in some cases, untreated or severe tooth decay in children can raise concerns about neglectful parenting or inadequate access to dental care. It’s critically important that you brush your child’s teeth until they are able to do so and you take them to a dentist regularly.
What Happens to Children With Untreated Tooth Decay?
If the proper child tooth decay treatment options are not made available to the child from a young age, they will likely suffer with pain and discomfort through much of their early years. This can lead to issues with speech and eating.