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Cavities affect children of all ages around the world but that does not mean that they should be ignored. Here are the various treatment options for treating a cavity and the best ways to prevent them from occurring at all.

Tooth decay is extremely common in children and while it is a cause of concern, it should not be something that freaks parents out. Primary teeth are quicker to decay as compared to permanent teeth due to some anatomical differences, and they therefore need a lot of care.

Parents are usually the first to spot the signs of decay on their child’s teeth. The presence of any white, brown or black spots must not be ignored, and a dentist should be consulted immediately. Tooth decay is preventable and avoidable, however in case it does occur, it is also easily treatable. As with most things, early detection is best for the most effective treatment.

Tooth decay is caused by bacteria, which build a sticky plaque on the surface of the teeth. This plaque buildup can be prevented by regular brushing. The frequent intake of carbohydrates or foods which are rich in sugars and starches lead to the bacteria breaking down the sugars to acid which leads to the dissolution of the tooth enamel finally leading to tooth decay.

Treatment of cavities in children

Treatment of tooth decay depends on the age of the child and the extent of the decay. Tooth decay starts as just a small spot on the teeth and keeps on burrowing inward towards the center of the teeth. The deeper the decay, the more invasive the treatment required.

White spots or discoloration on the teeth

White spots on the teeth may be the first sign of decay on your toddler’s teeth. The dentist may recommend the application of fluoride varnish to remineralize these white spot lesions and reverse caries. This is a swift and painless procedure.

Small cavity in the tooth

If the decay is more extensive, then a dental filling may be required. This includes the removal of the decayed part with a drill or some hand instruments. The prepared cavity is then filled with a filling material that may be silver in color or tooth-colored. The choice of the filling material should be left to the dentist since it depends on a number of clinical factors.

Deep cavity in the tooth

If the decay is more severe and deep enough to have reached the nerve of the tooth, a pulpectomy may be recommended. A pulpectomy is the removal of the dental pulp or nerve tissue from the center of the tooth followed by a filling. This procedure may require the use of local anesthesia or sedation techniques and follow up visits as well. It will usually be followed by a stainless steel crown, to prevent dislodgment of filling after the procedure has been completed.

When dentists say that a child needs a root canal, this is the treatment that is being talked about.

Tooth removal for treatment of cavities in children

Removing the teeth is the last option that a dentist will employ for young children. The primary teeth may fall out on their own after a while but they serve some very important functions during their time in the mouth.

If, however, the child being treated is of an age where the successor permanent tooth is going to come out soon anyway, then removing the tooth is a perfectly acceptable solution. Some children also end up reaching the dental clinic at a stage when the primary tooth is close to being completely destroyed and the infection has spread to other parts of the jaw as well. There is no option but to remove the tooth in such cases.

In some cases, the attempt to save a tooth in the child is not successful and a tooth may have to be removed slightly earlier in life.

How can tooth decay be prevented in children?

This is a question that parents must ask before their child is affected by tooth decay. Early detection and treatment can make a huge difference in the time spent on the treatment, the treatment costs, as well as the complexity of the treatment that a child has to go through.

Remember that tooth decay in young children is the responsibility of the parents. Brushing, taking the child to a dentist, and ensuring that the right dietary habits are being formed are all things that parents can do. A child has no idea of the difference between right and wrong at this stage in life. Simple things like brushing the teeth twice a day, getting a regular checkup at the dentist, and avoiding excessive sugar in the diet are all that is needed to prevent tooth decay from occurring in the first place.


Tooth decay is found very commonly in children of all ages. It is something that can be prevented and treated very easily at an early stage. Once a tooth has started to decay, no amount of brushing can stop it from progressing deeper and deeper into the tooth. Getting treatment as early as possible is the best option.

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