Tooth Cavity Treatment & Prevention
At Neu Family Dental, we pride ourselves on treating every member of the family, especially kids. A big part of pediatric dentistry is the prevention and treatment of cavities. Many parents have a tough time judging the dental care needs of their child. We are here to help you better understand these needs, and establish a strong foundation of oral health that will follow your child into adulthood.
What Causes Cavities?
Cavities, or “dental caries,” are caused by a harmful type of bacteria found in dental plaque. Plaque is thin biofilm that forms on the teeth and around the gumline. The harmful bacteria in plaque produce acids as they feed on the sugars and starches we consume on a daily basis. This acid can cause significant damage to your tooth enamel, especially between the teeth, on the bite surfaces of your posterior teeth, and around fillings. The acids that cause tooth decay can also seep through the pores of your enamel into the dentin layer. If enough dentin and enamel deteriorate, a cavity will form. A cavity may be too small to see at first, but without treatment, it will get larger over time, and more difficult to treat. For these reasons and more, we offer several services that can help protect and prevent your child from developing cavities.
One of the best ways to prevent cavities and even strengthen enamel is fluoride treatment. Fluoride is a mineral that occurs naturally in many foods, waters, and organism, including humans. Every day, our teeth lose and gain minerals from the enamel layer, through two processes: demineralization and remineralization. During demineralization, the acids in plaque strip away important minerals. This process makes your teeth much more vulnerable to decay. During remineralization, minerals like fluoride, calcium, and phosphates are added back to the enamel from the foods and waters we consume. When the rate of demineralization exceeds that of remineralization tooth decay occurs.
A professional fluoride treatment is an excellent way to supplement the remineralization process. Fluoride not only helps to prevent tooth decay, but it also strengthens the enamel to become more resistant to acid attacks. In some instances, fluoride treatment can even reverse minor instances of decay.
There are several forms of fluoride treatment, including gels, foams, and varnishes. They type of treatment we choose, depends on your child’s circumstance.
A dental sealant is another excellent way to protect a tooth from decay. The posterior teeth (molars and premolars), tend to be more difficult to clean, especially for children. The occlusal (bite) surface of these teeth contains deep grooves or fissures that can trap bacteria, plaque, and food debris. Dr. Neu may recommend a dental sealant to fill in these grooves and fissures. Once in place, the sealant acts like a plastic coating that makes these surfaces much easier to clean. As the name suggests, they also seal out bacteria, plaque, and food debris. We typically place sealants once the permanent posterior teeth have completely erupted above the gumline.
Schedule Your Child’s Appointment
Make sure your child is receiving the dental care they need! Call (847) 230-9143 to schedule their appointment today!