Cavities, or tooth caries, are the leading illness among children between the ages of 6 and 11 and teens ages 12 to 19 in the United States. Tooth Castle Pediatric Dentistry in Carrollton, Texas, offers expert preventive care and treatment for cavities to young patients throughout the greater Dallas-Fort Worth metro area. Call the friendly office staff or book an appointment using the online tool.
A cavity, also called dental caries, is a hole in a tooth caused by tooth decay. Tooth decay forms when food particles and residue from beverages — especially sugary sodas and fruit juices — are not brushed or rinsed away. The bacteria in your mouth turns these to acid. The acid, bacteria, food debris, and your salvia together form plaque, a sticky film that erodes tooth enamel and causes cavities.
The best defense against cavities is good oral hygiene. That means brushing at least twice daily with a fluoride toothpaste and flossing at least once per day to remove debris between teeth.
Also, it’s important to visit your dentist every six months for a professional cleaning and examination. The dentist can also provide professional fluoride treatments and dental sealants to further protect your teeth from developing cavities.
There are four ways to treat cavities:
This is the most common approach. The dentist at Tooth Castle Pediatric Dentistry first removes the decayed area of the tooth and then thoroughly cleans it. Next, they fill the cavity with a tooth-colored resin, porcelain, or a combination of materials.
A crown is a tooth-shaped cap that is permanently fitted over the diseased tooth. The crown is made of metal, porcelain, resin, or porcelain fused with metal. Crowns are used when there is extensive decay, or the tooth is significantly weakened. To fit a crown, the dentist must first remove the decayed area, and enough of the leftover tooth to allow for a proper fit.
If the decay has progressed to the inner material of the tooth, called the pulp, a root canal may be required. In a root canal, the dentist removes the diseased pulp. Sometimes, they also treat the area with a topical medication to clear up any infection. The final step is filling the area where the pulp has been removed.
If a tooth is too severely decayed to be restored, it may need to be removed. The gap left by the missing tooth may later be filled with a dental implant.
If you think your child might have a cavity, call Tooth Castle Pediatric Dentistry or book an appointment online.