Posts for: October, 2018
Is this your child’s first cavity? Take a deep breath. We can help.
When you find out that your child has a cavity it may feel rather unsetting, particularly because you work hard to make sure your child maintains a healthy smile. A lot of children experience a cavity at some point and it’s important that when they do they have a family dentist in Arlington, VA, like our very own Dr. Mary Gregory, who can provide their teeth with the proper restorative care they need.
Why do cavities happen?
Everyone has bacteria in their mouth and when you consume certain foods, particularly starches or sugars, the bacteria turn these foods into acid. The acid, along with bacteria and the food that your child has just eaten then form a sticky substance over the teeth known as plaque. Over time, the acid found within plaque can wear away at the enamel, causing cavities or holes in your child’s teeth.
One of the best ways to reduce your child’s risk of cavities is to limit how much sugar they eat or drink. Checking nutrition labels is your best bet, because you may be surprised to discover just how many foods contain high levels of added sugar. Sugar and starches such as white breads and pastas can increase plaque buildup. If the plaque isn’t properly brushed away it hardens into tartar, which only our Arlington, VA, dentist can remove during a six-month routine cleaning.
How is decay removed?
If we do discover a cavity in your child’s tooth during a checkup it’s important that we remove the decay to prevent it from spreading further. To do this, we will first numb the area around the tooth with a local anesthetic before removing the decayed enamel. How much enamel we have to remove will depend on the extent of the damage.
Does my child need a dental filling?
If your child has a cavity then yes, a dental filling is most certainly in order. A filling doesn’t just restore the appearance of the tooth and refill areas where decayed enamel was removed but it also serves to re-strengthen the tooth so that it doesn’t weaken over time.
A dental filling is often made from a putty-like material known as dental resin. This resin is first matched to the shade of your child’s tooth before being applied in one thin layer over the area or areas of the tooth that need to be rebuilt. Once the layer is perfectly shaped we will shine a blue curing light over the tooth to harden the resin directly to the tooth’s surface. We will continue to apply more layers of resin until the tooth is completely restored. Getting a dental filling only takes a couple of minutes and it’s a completely painless process.
If it’s time to schedule your child’s next dental cleaning or if your child is dealing with dental pain or other symptoms of a cavity it’s important that you call our Arlington, VA, dental office to schedule an appointment for your little one. It’s important to have a family dentist you and your family can turn to.