Cavities and children seem to go hand in hand, with more than half of 5 to 9-year-olds having at least one filling, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. But treating cavities in a child’s baby teeth is crucial for their overall dental health. With proper support from parents and family dentists, the filling experience can be comfortable and educational.
Symptoms of Cavities in Children:
Older children can usually communicate dental pain to parents, but toddlers may struggle to express their discomfort. Cavities don’t always cause pain, either, making them difficult to detect until a routine biannual visit to the dentist. Some symptoms of tooth decay in children include:
– Chewing solely on one side of the mouth
– Chalky white spots on teeth or other discoloration
– Excessive crying in toddlers
– Pain during tooth-brushing or flossing
– Swollen cheek with a fever
If a child displays any of these symptoms, parents should make a dental appointment for an examination. In the meantime, cold compresses can help soothe pain and swelling.
How to Prepare Your Child for the Filling Procedure:
If a child is diagnosed with their first cavity, the parent should remain calm and avoid appearing nervous or stressed. Parents can use non-intimidating dental language, such as referring to the cavity as a “sick tooth,” educate children with picture books or online resources, and walk the child through the procedure with pretend play. Answer children’s questions but avoid excessive talk about the procedure for effective preparation.
Cavity Prevention Tips:
A child’s first filling serves as a wake-up call to any negative dental hygiene habits they may have picked up. Parents can help prevent further cavities in their children by:
– Limiting sugary drinks, like soda or fruit juice
– Cleaning children’s teeth with a damp cloth or toothbrush as soon as they erupt
– Taking children in for biannual dental visits before their first birthday
– Avoiding overnight bottle use for infants or toddlers
– Practicing proper brushing and flossing habits in front of the child
– Monitoring children’s brushing and flossing carefully
Going to the dentist for a child’s first cavity filling does not have to be a nightmare. Adequate preparation and a calm demeanor can ensure a hassle-free and swift appointment. To prevent further cavities, parents should consider discussing their child’s diet or dental hygiene routine with their dentist. Cavities can be avoided, and healthy teeth can be maintained with proper support from everyone involved.
Written by Suzy Azalea