Happy and decayed Cartoon teeth

How to Treat Tooth Decay in Kids

Tooth decay in kids is one of the most common dental problems pediatric dentists treat. If left untreated, cavities can get worse and reach the inner pulp of the tooth, which can lead to pain and discomfort. Children are more likely to get cavities because of poor diet and dental hygiene habits. It’s important to find and treat tooth decay as early as possible.

How to Tell if Your Child Has Tooth Decay

Small children often cannot convey tooth pain and discomfort, so it’s important to know the signs and symptoms of tooth decay. You know your child best, so if something doesn’t seem right, get to the dentist as soon as possible.

  • Dark or white spots on teeth
  • Pits or holes in teeth
  • Lethargy
  • Fussiness or moodiness
  • Eating avoidance
  • Tooth sensitivity
  • Holding face or jaw
  • Mouth swelling

Common Child Tooth Decay Treatments

Dental Fillings

Fillings are the most common treatment for cavities in children. Your pediatric dentist will remove the decay and fill in the empty space with a composite resin filling. This will end the decay and prevent it from getting worse.


If tooth decay has reached the inner pulp of the tooth, a pulpotomy is necessary. This procedure is similar to a root canal, though the dentist only removes a small part of the inner pulp and replaces it with medicated packing material before closing it in with a filling. Pulpotomies are usually only done in children.

Tooth Extraction

Sometimes the decay is so severe that the tooth will need to be completely removed. This is the last resort and only if there is no other treatment that could work. Pediatric dentists don’t recommend removing baby teeth before their time because it could lead to orthodontic issues later.


Treatments that prevent tooth decay are available including fluoride varnishes and dental sealants. Sealants protect the chewing surfaces of the back teeth while varnishes protect and strengthen the other teeth. Of course, the best preventative measure is to develop good dental hygiene in kids and to visit the dentist regularly!

Fortunately, there are many treatment options for kids with tooth decay. From a simple filling to pulling a tooth, your pediatric dentist will make sure your child’s teeth will stay healthy. Remember to have your child brush his or her teeth twice a day and floss daily. We know this isn’t easy, but it’ll help build good habits well into adulthood!

Contact us today to schedule an appointment with our pediatric dentist!