February is National Children’s Dental Health Month, and it’s a great time to be proactive about the oral health of your kids as well as the rest of the family. Tooth decay is the destruction of the outer surface of the tooth known as tooth enamel, and the dentin, which is located under the enamel and makes up most of the tooth. Decay occurs when food particles are left on the surface and between the teeth. This allows bacteria to form plaque, which dissolves the enamel and creates holes in the teeth known as cavities. At Parker West Dental Associates in Plano, TX, Dr. Tim Nguyen helps patients of all ages keep their teeth and gums as healthy as possible with regular dental exams and routine dental cleanings.
Signs of a cavity
There are many signs of a cavity found in Plano-area men, women, and children. Some of the most common symptoms of tooth decay include:
White spots on the teeth (in children)
Sensitivity to hot or cold
Pain when eating or drinking
Holes in the teeth
Staining on the surface of the tooth
Pain when biting down
If you suspect that you have a cavity, it’s important to schedule an appointment with Dr. Nguyen at Parker West Dental Associates as soon as possible. The longer that you wait to be treated, the more serious the problem can become, with an increased chance that you will need a costly and extensive procedure down the road.
Who is at risk for cavities?
There are many risk factors for developing cavities, including:
A diet high in sugars and starches
Poor oral hygiene
Water supply with little to no fluoride
High levels of bacteria in the mouth
A lower than normal saliva flow
It’s important to treat cavities quickly, as they can get larger and affect the deep layers of the teeth. This can lead to severe pain, infection, and in some cases, tooth loss. Regular dental visits and an effective oral hygiene routine can help protect against tooth decay and cavities.
During a dental exam at Parker West Dental Associates, we will learn about your medical history, do a full exam of your teeth and gums, and perform an oral cancer screening. We use highly advanced technology known as a DIAGNOdent laser cavity detector to detect problems in your teeth that the eye alone cannot see, including the early stages of decay, cracks, or small chips. This technology allows Dr. Nguyen to provide the most accurate treatment for long-term dental health for his patients in Plano, TX. If tooth decay is detected, he will remove the affected part of the tooth and replace it with a tooth-colored filling.
Preventing tooth decay in children
Preventing tooth decay in Plano, TX is Dr. Nguyen’s goal, no matter what the patient’s age. One of the easiest ways to effectively protect your children’s oral health is to start brushing their teeth as soon as their first tooth appears. As your child’s permanent teeth grow in, we can help prevent decay by applying a thin layer of resin known as a sealant to the back teeth. We suggest that your child sees our dental professionals by their first birthday.
In terms of oral hygiene, brush their teeth, tongue, and gums at least twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste. After age two, it’s important to floss your child’s teeth daily. If your child uses a bottle at bed, only put water in it, as juice or formula may contain sugar that can lead to tooth decay. If you are concerned that your water supply isn’t fluoridated or doesn’t contain enough fluoride, ask our professionals at Parker West Dental Associates about fluoride supplements. Ultimately, the best way to prevent cavities in children is to schedule routine dental cleanings and exams for your child every three months to a year, depending on their risk for developing cavities.
Contact Parker West Dental Associates for preventive dental care
It’s important to understand what you can do to prevent tooth decay and cavities effectively for your entire family. If you or a family member have any signs of a cavity, it’s important to contact Dr. Tim Nguyen and the professional team at Parker West Dental Associates in Plano, TX for immediate dental care. We are committed to helping you maintain your oral health with general and pediatric dentistry treatments. We are always available to restore your oral health and eliminate any pain or discomfort you may be experiencing.