You made sure they brushed, flossed and avoided those icky, sticky candies and snacks.
OK, maybe you just did some of these things. Or none of these things. No matter, your kid’s dentist just broke the news that your child has a cavity.
You might be surprised. Your kid might be scared. But don’t worry.
This is a pretty common scenario, and we do our best to lay out a plan of action that will put both your minds at easy.
1. What to expect for the appointment.
In general, you’ll find an appointment to address a cavity is a much more positive experience than you might expect. And odds are, both you and your child will leave feeling proud at what they accomplished. Leading up to the appointment, it is best to tell your child simply that they are getting a tooth fixed, but not to go into more details than necessary. Depending on your child's level of anxiety and amount of dental work that needs to be done, we may recommend using nitrous oxide (also known as laughing gas). This works great to help decrease anxiety in most instances, with the patient remaining awake yet relaxed. It works quickly leaves the body just as fast.
2. After the tooth is fixed.
Immediately after the appointment, the biggest thing to watch is to make sure your child does not bite or chew on their lip. Their lip will typically feel numb for one to three hours, and it is best to not eat until the numbing has worn off. Also be sure to keep an eye on your little patient when you are driving home, as this is the most common time they chew their lip. You may or may not be prescribed pain killers, but it won’t hurt to give them Advil or Tylenol either way before the numbing wears off. That way there will be little to no soreness. And once the numbing wears off, they are free to eat and drink normally.
3. How to help prevent another cavity.
Now that they have a filling or two, you want to make sure they don't get any more or get any cavities around these fillings. The best methods of preventive maintenance include brushing, flossing, fluoride, as well as minimizing sugar liquids and sticky foods (juice, soda, sports drinks, sweet tea, gummies, fruit snacks, etc). Regular flossing and brushing will clean the teeth and apply fluoride to them. Note that your kids should be brushing two times per day. At night, make sure that flossing and brushing is the last thing before bed, and that they don't have anything to eat or drink after brushing — not even rinsing the toothpaste foam. Just tell them to spit out whatever is in their mouth and head to bed. A fluoride rinse can help get in between the teeth, too. This allows the fluoride to do its work while you are sleeping.
Lastly, be sure to keep visiting the dentist for your regular check-ups to make sure all of the teeth and fillings are staying happy and healthy. As easy as treating a cavity can be on parents and kids, no one wants to repeat it anytime soon.