Telltale Signs Your Child May Have Tooth Decay

kids dentist Fort WorthWhether you are looking at your child’s baby teeth or permanent teeth have begun to erupt, daily care coupled with twice yearly visits with your kid’s dentist are the best ways to ensure the oral health of your child.

Dental decay can impact the teeth of people of all ages … toddlers, children, teens, young adults, and senior citizens. Some of the symptoms of tooth decay include:

  • Discomfort – A cavity occurs when the dental enamel has been breached. If your child is complaining about pain, there could be reasons other than decay. But if decay is present, there are no home remedies that will make it go away.
  • If your child has never been to the dentist, they may be very anxious. If you suspect they are going to be upset or fearful, it might be best to have someone who specializes in pediatric dentistry respond to their dental needs.
  • Sensitivity – If a zinging sensation occurs when exposed to hot, cold, sweet, or sour your child may have active decay. Pain or sensitivity might occur when biting down as well.
  • Halitosis – If you smell a sour odor or your child complains of a bad taste, the problem could indicate infection is present. An infected tooth accompanied by pain probably will require a root canal – depending on which tooth is involved, your kid’s dentist will make recommendations about the ideal route to take.
  • Tooth discoloration – If you notice one of your child’s teeth is darkened, the nerve of the tooth has probably been damaged. This could be due to trauma, or decay is also a possibility.

Prevention is always better than having to be reactive. Dental decay is preventable … some of the helpful ways include:

  • Dental sealants – Teeth not affected by decay can be treated by painting the sealant on the chewing surfaces of molar teeth. The sealant flows into naturally occurring pits in dental enamel sealing out bacteria that promotes decay.
  • Fluoride – Dental enamel is strengthened with this component already available in tooth paste, oral rinses, and in the water we drink. Fluoride treatments are also available by your child’s dentist.
  • Brushing and flossing – A daily oral regimen should include brushing at least twice every day and daily flossing to remove what was missed by brushing.
  • Dental visits – Cleaning and a dental exam should be completed every six months.

For more tips about your child’s dental health, contact our team at Fort Worth Children’s Dentistry today!

Tips to Protect Tooth Enamel

Fort Worth kids dentistDental enamel is the protective coating on teeth. It is very hard, but not invincible. If dental enamel is breached, bacteria can penetrate resulting in dental decay. But your kid’s dentist has solutions that will enable your child’s teeth to remain strong and free from cavities with the proper care and attention as they grow.

Fluoride – Most city water supplies add fluoride to their water. However, many people rely on bottled water resulting in a lack of this essential component to protect dental enamel. But your child’s pediatric dentist can provide fluoride treatments during dental visits to supplant what you or your child may be lacking due to water drinking habits.

Sealants – Teeth that have remained decay free are eligible for this protective coating that is applied during a dental check-up. A sealant is painted onto the chewing surfaces of teeth. It flows into the nooks and crannies that naturally appear on teeth filling in the areas where bacteria might normally gather and grow penetrating dental enamel to create decay.

In addition to having teeth thoroughly cleaned and polished every six months at the hand of your kid’s dentist, there are actions your child can take daily to boost their own dental health.

Brushing – Using a fluoridated tooth paste, dental enamel will be as protected as possible when properly brushed at least twice daily. Another tool for your child is an electronic tooth brush. As your child guides the brush to reach all teeth, the bristles’ action provides a more thorough cleaning than you can get from a manual tooth brush. Another positive aspect of an electronic brush is that they have a timer that sends a signal at two minutes which might encourage your child to brush longer and more thoroughly.

Flossing – Food debris can settle on teeth and is best removed using dental floss. There are many styles of floss as well as different flavors. Flossing also stimulates gum tissue promoting better dental health.

Diet – Sugary snacks and beverages should be reserved for special occasions, not for daily consumption. This includes soft drinks as the acids from carbonation can damage dental enamel.

Fresh fruits and vegetables are ideal snack choices and are integral to a healthy diet. More kid friendly snacks include popcorn, nuts, and sugar free treats. Dairy products like yogurt, cheese, and milk are healthy options for dental enamel too.

If you have more questions about your child’s dental health, don’t hesitate to call our team at Fort Worth Children’s Dentistry!

What causes white spots on my child’s teeth?

kids dentist Fort WorthWhite spots can occur for a number of reasons. Since teeth actually form in the womb, those white spots might be a genetic issue, not something external following your child’s birth. A visit with your kid’s dentist will help to determine if the spots are due to something you can control.

White spots can be from a mineral imbalance, excessive fluoride, certain medications, or active dental decay. Another problem causing stain or spotting on baby teeth can be due to a very common development called enamel hypoplasia. This can appear to be white, yellow, or brown in color.

Pediatric dentistry offers answers and solutions; if white spots have appeared on baby teeth and been diagnosed as decay, repairing the decay will allow your dentist to make corrections using a tooth colored resin material. Decay can occur if your child’s teeth are not brushed frequently and correctly. Plaque that remains on teeth can eventually penetrate dental enamel forming a cavity.

If baby teeth were not spotted, but your child’s permanent teeth develop discoloration or white spots the primary consideration might be excessive fluoride. Permanent teeth are forming around age three so if the child received fluoride supplements, dental stain might be attributed to fluorosis. Unless a child lives in an area where water is not fluoridated, supplements are usually not needed.

If the child comes to our kid’s dentist with white spots, an exam will be done following an interview so the dental provider has enough background information to ascertain why spotting has developed. Tooth deterioration can occur if the problem is due to decalcified enamel.

Permanent teeth can be treated with a tooth colored bonding material to blend away stain if the problem is cosmetic only. Since primary teeth will be lost over time, treating them cosmetically is usually not dictated. But as your child grows, their self-esteem can be impacted if dental stain remains on permanent teeth.

Caring for your child’s teeth will have a life-long impact on your child’s dental and overall health. Caring for their dental health requires persistence, instruction, and hands-on care until your child is coordinated and responsible enough to brush and floss on their own.

In addition to brushing and flossing, pediatric dentistry can provide the tools and treatment to maintain your child’s excellent oral health which will serve them well for their lifetime.

Contact us at Fort Worth Children’s Dentistry to schedule your child’s next appointment!

Why is there a dark spot on my child’s tooth?

kids dentist Fort WorthHas a dark spot formed on your child’s tooth? Are you wondering if this symptom requires professional treatment? Changes in the color of your child’s teeth can appear for a few reasons. Sometimes teeth may become discolored after a patient has taken certain types of antibiotics. Dark spots may also be the result of permanent, extrinsic tooth stains that are caused by exposure to dark foods and drinks. If a child has severe tooth decay, the tooth may darken as well. Our kid’s dentist offers restorative and preventive pediatric dentistry treatments to help your child enjoy vibrant oral health.

Understanding Tooth Discoloration

There are two types of tooth discoloration: extrinsic and intrinsic. Extrinsic tooth stains occur when teeth are exposed to agents like darkly-colored food or drinks or antibiotics. For example, antibiotics from the tetracycline family of medications can discolor teeth to where they appear yellow or dark brown. Another cause for extrinsic discoloration is poor oral hygiene. Tartar (hardened plaque) builds up along teeth and gums when patients do not properly clean their teeth with brushing and flossing. Tartar, like teeth, can then become dark in appearance.

Intrinsic stains develop when the inside of the tooth is not healthy. While intrinsic and extrinsic discoloration looks similar, their causes can vary. An intrinsic stain could be caused by a deep tooth fracture where the sensitive internal structures of teeth are exposed to debris and bacteria. These stains may also be the result of tooth decay.

Knowing When to See the Dentist

In addition to scheduling regular cleanings and checkups with our kid’s dentist, parents and caregivers should also call our office when noticeable changes occur. This allows our team the opportunity to determine whether tooth discoloration requires treatment. To protect our patients’ quality of life and oral health, we may prescribe fluoride treatments to strengthen teeth or place restorations to prevent decay from deepening.

To schedule an appointment with our team, call 817-569-6633 to talk with a member from our pediatric dentistry practice today.