Contrary to popular belief, tooth pain might not be the first sign of a cavity. “White spots are often seen in early caries’ development,” says Dr. Rafat Razi, a pediatric dentist based in Tracy. If your child’s teeth develop white spots or they become sensitive to cold or sweet beverages, it’s time to visit the dentist. White spots may start to turn brown as the tooth continues to decay, so take note of any discoloration as well.
Even if your child brushes twice daily, it is possible for them to develop a cavity and treating it can be a scary process for child and parent alike. “The clinical exam involves using instruments such as an explorer to find ‘soft’ areas on the tooth that may indicate active carious lesions,” Dr. Razi says. X-rays may also be used to help diagnose cavities. If cavities are found, a second appointment will typically be scheduled for treatment.
When it comes to treatment options, Dr. Razi adds that “the entire patient [and] his or her mouth is evaluated, rather than one tooth.” Your child’s dentist will also consider how well they reacted to the initial exam when deciding the best anesthetic option for a painless and anxiety-free procedure. Typically, the procedure involves a local anesthetic to numb the area. Removing the damaged part of the tooth will require a drill, and while it might sound scary, your child won’t feel anything more than a little pressure as the dentist works. Once the infection has been removed, the hole will be filled and polished. If needed, additional medication such as laughing gas may be an option.
Recovery is quick. The numbing typically lasts a few hours. Dr. Razi recommends parents make sure the child isn’t biting their lips or tongue while still numb. Ibuprofen can be given as instructed to alleviate discomfort.
Believe it or not, getting that first cavity treated is also a preventative measure. The longer the cavity is left, the longer the bacteria are given to spread and cause damage to other teeth. If your child had a cavity, reevaluate and adjust the oral health routine. This is also a great opportunity to look closely at your child’s diet and limit sugary or acidic foods and drinks if needed.
Kids Care Dental
Offices in Stockton, Lodi, Manteca & Tracy
Rafat S. Razi, DMD, MPH
2160 W Grant Line Rd Suite 130, Tracy
Stockton Dental Care
2389 W March Ln #1, Stockton