What Is Caries?
Tooth Caries is just the dental name for tooth decay so if your child has a cavity or tooth decay, they have tooth caries. This is a very common condition caused by bacteria in the mouth producing acid which attacks the teeth, weakening tooth enamel until it exposes the softer underlying tooth material which is called dentin. Once bacteria can access the dentin then they can quickly infect it, causing a cavity or hole in the tooth.
Even though dental caries in children is common, it is entirely preventable. Your child doesn’t have to have a tooth caries infection as with a little help and a proper oral hygiene, their teeth should be able to remain perfectly strong and healthy. We can help through advising you on the best way to keep a young child’s teeth clean and free from bacteria and we can also help you with their diet. Food choices can make a huge difference as to whether a child develops tooth caries and often it can be quite simple to make a few changes to reduce this risk.
Another treatment that can help is to use dental sealants for kids or fissure sealants to protect the chewing surfaces of the back teeth. These are best applied soon after their adult or permanent teeth emerge and before they can develop any signs of tooth caries. The dental sealant completely seals the tooth surface so bacteria cannot attack. These chewing surfaces frequently develop cavities due to the intricate design which makes them very difficult to keep clean.
Treating Teeth with Caries
A caries infection can rapidly destroy a child’s tooth which is why it is so important to make sure your child sees a pediatric dentist every six months for that regular examination. During this examination we can detect any small lesions or tooth pits in teeth which may indicate the beginnings of a cavity. Provided tooth decay is caught early enough, a tooth can often be restored with a dental filling. If the tooth caries has reached the center of the tooth that it might be necessary for us to carry out a baby root canal or a pulpotomy procedure which removes the infected tissue in the central part of the tooth before permanently sealing up the primary tooth. Afterwards the tooth can be repaired with a filling, or if it is too badly damaged and then it will be restored with a crown.