Following my previous article, I would like to discuss with you how tooth decay happens. I will amaze you with some stunning facts that many parents are not aware of, but should be. I will start by stressing upon the importance of a regular dental check up every six months and how that can save your child from tooth pain and save you a lot of money in the process.
Tooth decay occurs when sticky carbohydrates and sugars, such as bread, cakes, candy, toffee, and so on, stick to your teeth for a long duration long of time (for example, the regular 7-8 sleeping hours) to allow the bacteria in your mouth to act on them to produce acids that weaken teeth by removing all its minerals and salts. This creates brown and black colored holes in your teeth, making it easier for them to break and decay.
The good thing is that early detection of this process can actually be reversed. The first sign of decay starts as a white chalky spot on the tooth that only a dentist can detect. It can be fixed through a very simple procedure that takes no more than five minutes. A dentist can apply fluoride varnish on the tooth then the process is reversed as if nothing ever happened. The tooth will be back to normal and becomes even stronger as fluoride fortifies the tooth enamel.
What if you miss this stage and your child has an actual hole in his tooth? Now the only way to treat the tooth and eliminate the pain is to follow the fill and drill theory. This implies removing the decay and cleaning the tooth and then putting in a filling.
The amount of decay and destruction of a tooth dictates the type of treatment that is needs. This decay can range from a small cavity to a root canal to a crown, all in an attempt to keep the primary teeth functioning and also maintain good aesthetics.
Luckily, nowadays we have so many treatment options available to facilitate the dental procedure, while engaging the child in a happy manner and satisfying the parents, too.
Starting with the dental shot, I personally use a specific device called Buzzy Bee that helps my kids not feel pain when having a procedure done. Moving on to fillings, I provide my kids with six different filling colors so they can become in engaged in the process and feel like they are involved by choosing their favourite colors.
Last but not least, I offer my kids the latest full coverage zirconium white crowns if I am doing a root canal treatment. They look so natural that they amaze both kids and parents.
To all the mums and dads out there, be the role model that you want your kids to look up to. If you want them to brush their teeth, let them see you do it first!
Dr. Hend Khaled Samir is a Pediatric dentist, who is Certified, by the American Board, a pediatric preceptor ship, UCLA, USA and a member of the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry.