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Tooth Decay

Tysons West Orthodontics & Children's Dentistry

Orthodontics and Pediatric Dentistry located in Vienna, VA

According to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, as many as 42% of children ages 2-11 have one or more cavities. Reem I. Alhussain, DDS, Ibrahim Y. Alhussain, DMD, and the team at Tysons West Orthodontics & Children's Dentistry in Vienna and Tysons, Virginia, can treat dental decay in your child as well as help prevent it. To get expert dental care for your child, schedule an appointment online or over the phone today.

Tooth Decay

What causes dental decay?

Dental decay is a serious health issue for kids, and it can quickly worsen if left untreated. The primary focus of early dental care is on preventing dental decay and treating areas of decay in the earliest possible stages.

Your child’s teeth are made of living tissues. Dental decay is an infection of those tissues. Decay occurs when bacteria are left on a tooth’s surface for too long. Bacteria, which feed on sugars and can multiply quickly, create acids that can eat away at a tooth’s enamel, weakening it and eventually creating tiny holes called cavities.

Without proper treatment, the infection can spread to the inner layers of a tooth’s tissue and cause serious harm.

How often does my child need to visit the dentist?

The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends children visit the dentist twice a year. That schedule gives your dentist the chance to examine your child’s teeth for signs of decay and provide treatment as swiftly as possible.

In addition, routine dental exams will help your dental team identify areas of concern in your child’s dental hygiene habits. They can provide guidance to your child on how to improve brushing and flossing if they notice problem areas. That will reinforce the lessons you teach your child at home about proper dental care.  

What’s the treatment for pediatric dental decay?

If your dentist finds evidence of dental decay, she will likely recommend a filling. Every effort will be made to keep your child comfortable and calm during the procedure. When kids come in for routine dental exams, decay can be caught in the early stages. And if caught early, treatment will likely take little time and won’t be very invasive.

How can dental sealants help?

Dental sealants can go a long way toward protecting your child’s teeth from decay. For treatment, your dentist paints a thin acidic gel on the biting surfaces of the molars to prepare the surface for adhesion. She then paints a thin layer of clear liquid plastic over the same surfaces. A special light hardens the plastic, completing the process.

Once the sealants are in place, the tiny cracks and crevices on the biting surfaces of the teeth are filled with the sealant material. Sugars and bacteria can’t enter, and cavities can’t form.

Once your dentist performs the procedure, your child will still need to maintain good oral hygiene habits because the sealants only protect the biting surfaces and do not cover all visible tooth tissue. Sealants can last as long as 10 years before they eventually wear away.

If you think your child might have tooth decay, book an appointment with Tysons West Orthodontics & Children's Dentistry online or over the phone today.