Dental caries in children: Cavities are common in preschool-age children and during early childhood. A dental caries is defined as the presence of cavitated or non-cavitated or filled tooth surfaces or missing teeth during the early childhood days. Dental caries in a nutshell is the presence of holes (cavities) or caries in the teeth. This usually happens when the tooth enamel (the outer hard surface of the teeth) breaks down due to dental decay or destruction of the tooth.
What causes tooth decay and dental caries in children?
Children eat a variety of foods, but they are delighted to have sugary and starchy foods (carbohydrates) containing foods. When they eat such foods starch and sugars from such foods are left on the teeth. For instance, children love to have bread, cakes, candies, raisins, soda, milk, bread, and cereals. Bacteria that normally live in the mouth thrive on such leftovers and change these foods to acids. Saliva, leftover food particles, acid, and bacteria together form a substance called plaque (a sticky substance that sticks to teeth). Bacteria in the plaque cause dental infections and the acid produced by the bacteria damages the hard outer covering of the teeth (enamel) and causes cavities.
Who are at risk for tooth decay?
Children who love cherishing sweats and who don’t take care of oral dental hygiene are at an increased risk of dental decay and dental caries formation. In general, the following factors may increase the risk of developing dental caries in children:
- High levels of the bacteria that cause cavities
- Less saliva than normal
- Eating a diet rich in starch and carbohydrates
- Limited fluoride in water supply
- Poor oral and dental hygiene
Tooth decay symptoms in children
The following are the most common signs and symptoms associated with tooth decay in children:
- Manifestation of early sensitivity with the appearance of white spots on teeth in affected areas. Enamel starts to break down.
- High sensitivity to sweats, cold drinks, hot beverages, or ice creams.
- Deep-rooted pain in and around the affected tooth.
- The appearance of the light brown color cavity on the tooth.
- A deep cavity develops gradually turning into a darker shade of brown to black color.
In some children, symptoms don’t manifest until complete destruction and damage of the affected tooth. In some cases, dentists find cavities, but an affected child may not feel them.
Diagnosis of Tooth Decay in children
A pediatric dentist diagnoses tooth decay in children after taking into account the complete medical history of the child and extensive dental and oral examination and ordering dental X-rays.
At Gnathos Dental Clinic our dentists will tell you which type of cavity you have among the most common three types – smooth surface, pit, and fissure or root.
Treatment for Dental Caries in Children
The treatment for your child’s dental caries may depend on his or her age, symptoms, and overall health. It will also depend on the severity of the condition. Dentists mostly remove the damaged and decayed part of the affected tooth with fillings (restorations). These procedures are done to repair the damage to fill materials in the tooth.
There are broadly two types of restorations
Direct Restorations: In this type of dental filling procedure, dentists fill cavities with materials made out of resins, acrylic acids, fine glass powders, and silver amalgam. They fill the cavities directly. The materials are tooth-colored.
Indirect Restorations: In this type of procedure dentists treat the affected tooth and then use crowns, veneers, on lays, inlays, and bridges to cover up the damaged portion. The materials they use for making these items include composites, ceramics, silver, gold, and base metal alloys. These materials look quite natural as tooth enamel. Indirect restoration procedures may require two or more visits to dentists.
Are you worrying about dental caries in children? If you have noticed white marks on the hard surfaces of your child’s teeth and if they are deepening further with a brownish and blackish disposition, then meet our expert dentist for a comprehensive diagnosis and apt treatment.