Finding out your child has a cavity is never any fun. Catching a cavity early, though, means less discomfort for your child, an easier treatment plan, and a lower risk of permanent problems.
By knowing the early signs of a cavity, as explained by pediatric dentists Staci Brunell, DMD, and Priyanka Patel, DMD, you can bring your child in for early treatment at Yorktown Pediatric Dentistry in Yorktown Heights, New York. If your child is experiencing any of these four warning signs, they might have a cavity.
Could my child have a cavity?
The following signs mean your child could have a cavity. If your child might have a cavity or has been diagnosed with one, the next step is to schedule an appointment for confirmation or develop a treatment plan.
1. Changes to the tooth’s appearance
Teeth don’t externally look very different in the early stages of cavities, but there are still small physical indicators that are visible. A small area of your child’s impacted tooth might take on a chalky appearance or turn black or brown in color.
Unlike discoloration from tooth stains, cavity spots tend to be darker and in one small area, rather than affecting multiple teeth. You might also notice a tiny hole in the area of a cavity, which gets bigger as the cavity gets worse.
2. Tooth sensitivity
In earlier stages, before a cavity becomes painful, your child can experience increased sensitivity in a tooth with a cavity. One of the most common forms of cavity-related sensitivity is to hot and cold foods or beverages.
Your child could also feel sensitivity after eating sweets or other sugary foods. This is because a tooth with a cavity is less protected, making it more vulnerable to feelings of sensitivity.
3. Bad breath
A cavity can cause your child to have bad breath that continues even after avoiding stinky foods and brushing their teeth. If your child says they’re experiencing a bad taste in their mouth, this can also be an early sign of a cavity.
At the earliest stages, some cavities aren’t visible and don’t cause your child any other symptoms. But even these cavities can be caught early on an x-ray that shows early decay and infection.
Early detection of otherwise easy to miss cavities is one of the most important reasons our dentists recommend your child attend a dental examination every six months.
Treating a cavity
Once our team has diagnosed a cavity, they identify the best treatment to get rid of it. Often, the best way to treat a cavity, especially for a permanent tooth, is by getting a filling.
A dental filling involves our team taking the decay completely out of your child’s affected tooth. Once the harmful decay is gone, our providers fill the tooth with resin to keep it safe.
Cavity fillings are a safe, generally painless treatment. The earlier our team diagnoses a cavity, the faster and easier it is to fill a tooth.
A cavity filling can take place with nitrous oxide, or laughing gas, if your child is concerned about pain or feels anxious about the treatment.
When it comes to treating cavities, earlier treatment is always better. If you suspect your child might have a cavity, contact us for assistance.