What To Do If Your Child Has a Cavity?

What to Do If Your Child Has a Cavity?” If you discover your child’s pearly teeth have a cavity, don’t panic. It’s a common dental issue that many children encounter, and with the right approach, you can effectively address it while prioritizing your child’s oral health and comfort.

From understanding the causes of cavities to navigating treatment options and preventive measures, knowing what steps to take can alleviate anxiety and promote proactive care for your child’s dental well-being.

This comprehensive guide explores practical strategies and expert insights on what to do if your child has a cavity, enabling you to handle this dental concern confidently and clearly.

Signs your child has a tooth cavity

Here are the signs your child may have a cavity presented in points:

  • Tooth Sensitivity: Your child may experience sensitivity or pain when consuming hot, cold, or sweet foods and beverages.
  • Visible Holes or Pits: Check for visible holes or pits in your child’s teeth, particularly in the molars and premolars, where cavities commonly occur.
  • Tooth Discoloration: Look out for any white, brown, or black spots or stains on the surface of your child’s teeth, which could indicate decay.
  • Complaining of Tooth Pain: If your child frequently complains of toothaches or discomfort, it could be a sign of a cavity.
  • Difficulty Chewing: Difficulty chewing or discomfort while biting down may suggest the presence of a cavity.
  • Bad Breath: A persistent unpleasant smell associated with your breath might indicate tooth decay and bacterial buildup.
  • Swollen Gums: Cavities can lead to swollen or inflamed gums around the affected tooth.
  • Avoidance of Certain Foods: Your child might avoid certain foods or exhibit changes in eating habits due to tooth sensitivity or pain caused by cavities.

Observing these signs can help you detect cavities early and seek prompt dental care for your child.

What to do if you think your child has a cavity?

When you suspect that your child may have a cavity, it’s important to approach the situation with care and understanding. Start by gently explaining to your child that their tooth has a small boo-boo, similar to a tiny owie, but there’s no need to worry because the dentist can fix it soon. This simple explanation can help alleviate any anxiety or fear your child may feel about the problem.

After reassuring your child, take proactive steps by promptly contacting your child’s dentist. Schedule an appointment for your child to see the dentist as soon as possible. The dentist will examine the child’s teeth to confirm the presence of a cavity and discuss appropriate treatment options.

By addressing the issue early and reassuring your child along the way, you can help them feel more comfortable about visiting the dentist and getting the necessary care for their dental health. Early intervention is key to effectively managing cavities and maintaining your child’s oral well-being.

Treating a Cavity

Treating a cavity is not an emergency but requires prompt attention from a dentist. Therefore, your child’s dentist should schedule an appointment within a few days of your concern.

The dentist examines the tooth thoroughly to determine the presence of a cavity and may take X-rays to check for additional cavities between the teeth.

If a cavity is detected, the dentist will proceed with filling it. While this may initially cause some apprehension in children, pediatric dentists strive to ensure their comfort. They administer a local anesthetic to numb the area, ensuring your child feels no pain as the decayed material is removed.

Once the decayed material is cleared, the dentist fills the cavity. Typically, they use a tooth-colored composite material, rendering the filling indistinguishable from the rest of the tooth.

In cases of deep or large cavities, where removing all decayed tissue weakens the tooth, a crown may be necessary for added protection. If your child requires a crown, a follow-up appointment will be scheduled for fitting and placement of the crown. This second visit ensures comprehensive treatment and long-term dental health for your child.


What To Do If Your Child Has a Cavity

After your child’s dental appointment, you can take them home. The effects of the local anesthetic will go away within an hour or two, allowing your child to resume eating and drinking as usual. While their tooth may remain slightly sensitive to hot and cold foods for a few days, this discomfort typically diminishes quickly.

In terms of care, your child can treat the filled tooth like any other tooth. They should continue brushing it and the rest of their teeth twice a day and flossing daily to maintain good oral hygiene habits.

Preventing Additional Cavities

After your child experiences a cavity, it’s essential to evaluate their dental routine and take proactive measures to prevent future cavities. Consider implementing the following steps:

Limit Sugar Intake:

While occasional treats are acceptable, reducing sugar in your child’s daily diet can significantly decrease their susceptibility to cavities. Instead of offering sugary drinks like juice, opt for water. Whole fruits and vegetables are preferable sources of nutrients as they contain less concentrated sugars and are less harmful to teeth compared to juice.

Assist with Brushing:

Depending on your child’s age, you may need to assist them with brushing their teeth or supervise their brushing routine to ensure thoroughness. Setting a timer for 2 minutes can help ensure they brush for an adequate duration.

Consider Fluoride Treatments:

Consult your child’s dentist about the potential benefits of fluoride treatments. These treatments aid in strengthening teeth and enhancing their resistance to cavities. While most children receive sufficient fluoride from water and toothpaste, additional fluoride treatments may be beneficial if your child’s fluoride intake is inadequate.

Incorporating these preventive measures into your child’s oral care regimen can help safeguard their dental health and reduce the risk of future cavities.

What to Do If Your Child Has a Cavity?

If you suspect that your child may have a cavity, don’t hesitate to take action. Schedule an appointment with Little Diamonds Dental, Arlington, VA, as soon as possible for a thorough examination and appropriate treatment. Early intervention is key to addressing dental issues and ensuring your child’s oral health remains optimal. Book an online appointment or call us at (571) 281-8714.


What are the common signs that my child may have a cavity?

Look out for tooth sensitivity, visible holes or discoloration on the teeth, complaints of tooth pain, difficulty chewing, bad breath, swollen gums, and avoidance of certain foods.

What should I do if I suspect my child has a cavity?

If you suspect your child has a cavity, scheduling an appointment with their dentist is important. Early detection can prevent further complications and discomfort.

What happens during a dental visit if my child has a cavity?

During the dental visit, the dentist will examine the tooth for cavities and may take X-rays to assess the extent of decay. If a cavity is confirmed, the dentist will proceed with treatment, typically removing the decayed area and filling the cavity with a composite material that acts and looks natural. In some cases, a crown may be necessary for added protection.