How To Tell If a Kid Has a Cavity - The Medford Center

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How To Tell If a Kid Has a Cavity 

added on: April 14, 2022

Cavities are one of the most common dental problems your pediatric dentist in Medford sees and treats every day. Now, while a cavity in a baby tooth may seem like no big deal, the truth is, it’s important to treat any area of decay quickly to keep other problems from popping up, especially in baby teeth. Baby teeth serve a crucial role in holding the space for permanent teeth to erupt and can help children learn proper speech development. However, a cavity may not always be easy to recognize on your own, so it’s important to know what to look out for. 

4 Signs of a Cavity

Symptoms of a cavity can differ from person to person and can be pretty subtle, so much so that your child may never complain of discomfort and you won’t know decay is present until your next appointment with your pediatric dentist in Medford. Here are some common tell-tale signs that a cavity may be lurking in your child’s tooth. 

1. Toothache

The most common sign of a cavity is, of course, a toothache. Tooth pain can occur suddenly, and there are many times when a toothache does not have any clear sign as to what caused the pain in the first place. However, any pain in the mouth is typically a sign that something is wrong, and you should schedule an appointment with your pediatric dentist in Medford. Most often, lingering tooth pain that lasts for a few days is a sign of a cavity. 

2. Sensitivity

Similar to a toothache, tooth sensitivity may also be a sign of a cavity. Unlike a toothache, however, sensitivity usually causes shooting pain when eating or drinking something hot, cold, or sweet and may not be persistent. Sensitivity can occur when the protective layer of tooth enamel is worn away, leaving nerves and roots exposed to heat, cold, sugar, as well as the bacteria that cause cavities. 

3. Staining

There are also some key signs of a cavity that are visible such as tooth staining. While some types of discoloration are natural, this is most common in adults thanks to daily coffee, tea, or red wine. When a child’s tooth becomes stained, you may first notice a tiny white spot. Keep an eye on this. If the white spot starts to darken, it’s likely that decay is present and is progressing deeper into the tooth. Any new signs of discoloration should be discussed with your pediatric dentist

4. Pitting

Another visual cue that a cavity may be forming is a pit or hole in a tooth. These two symptoms may also start with a small white dot and progress into pitting. Now, keep in mind, some of the most common places for cavities to develop are between the teeth, where you won’t necessarily be able to see the pitting. This is one of many reasons why it’s so important to see a pediatric dentist near you every six months. 

How to Prevent Cavities in Kids

Besides seeing your pediatric dentist at least twice a year for cleanings, exams, and x-rays, it’s also important to make sure your little one is taking great care of his smile at home. Some of the best ways you can help your child prevent cavities are to make sure he’s: 

  • Brushing and flossing twice a day every day
  • Drinking water throughout the day
  • Limiting sugary sweets and drinks 
  • Eating a well-balanced diet

We recommend that children complete their first dental visit by their first birthday or as soon as their first tooth erupts. Early visits set your child up for easier appointments in the future and can put them on the right path toward a lifetime of healthy smiles. If your child does develop a cavity, don’t worry. Your pediatric dentist can treat cavities quickly and get your little one back to smiling in no time.