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How to Handle Tooth Decay in a Toddler’s Front Teeth

A toddler brushes their teeth while looking in a mirror.

Tooth decay is a very common dental issue for toddlers. The front teeth, also called incisors, are the first to emerge in your child’s mouth, typically by the time they have reached their first birthday. Over the second year, the molars, which reach into the back of the mouth, emerge. The risk is greatest for cavities in a baby’s front teeth because those teeth are the first to appear.

If cavities are not treated early on, the decay will eventually reach the tooth’s inner pulp and require more extensive dental interventions. By discovering cavities early on, the treatment will be easier

What Puts Toddlers at Risk for Tooth Decay? Two Simple Answers

1. How your toddler brushes their teeth is a leading cause. At age two, your toddler may want to hold their toothbrush but will not have the coordination to adequately brush their teeth.

2. Kids love candy! The naturally occurring bacteria inside your toddler’s mouth consume sugar and produce plaque, a substance that sticks to the teeth and can only be removed by brushing. Plaque buildup contributes to tooth decay in your toddler’s front teeth and molars.

How to Spot Cavities in a Baby’s Front Teeth

Toddlers typically don’t have the language skills to tell you when their mouth is hurting. But there are other signs and symptoms to look for:

  • White or Dark spots on their front teeth
  • Small holes on the tooth’s surface
  • Touching or rubbing the mouth or jaw
  • Swelling near the mouth or on the gums

If you think your toddler has a toothache, call your dentist and schedule an appointment for the soonest possible time. Treating the cavity early on will prevent it from getting worse.

A pediatric dentist inspects a young child’s teeth and gums.

Three Treatment Options for Tooth Decay in your Toddler’s Front Teeth

1. Fillings – The most frequent treatment for cavities and tooth decay in a toddler’s front teeth or molars is dental fillings. In this case, the cavity is removed from the tooth, and a filling inserted.

2. Pulpotomy – For cavities that have reached the inner pulp of the tooth, pulpal therapy and crowns may need to be performed. This procedure removes a small bit of the inner pulp and medicated material inserted.

3. Extracting the Tooth – For the severest forms of tooth decay, it may be necessary to extract the tooth. Extraction is only done when the decay is so severe that no treatment option can preserve the tooth.

The Best Ways to Prevent Cavities in Your Baby’s Front Teeth

  • Regular Visits to the Dentist! It is suggested that you schedule your toddler’s first dental appointment when their teeth begin to emerge. Your dentist will be able to monitor the growth of your child’s teeth and be your ally in promoting infant oral care at home.
  • Brush Those Teeth! The best thing you can do to combat tooth decay in the front teeth of a toddler is to help them brush their teeth. Be sure to watch them while brushing so you can ensure they are doing it correctly.

Helping your toddler develop good dental habits increases their likelihood of caring for their teeth as adults and smiling proudly every day.

If you live in the Reno area, schedule your toddler’s appointment to see the dental team from Toothfairy Pediatric Dental. We have six locations, so you’re sure to find an office near you. We accept dental insurance plans, including Medicaid, and offer convenient Saturday appointments!

We’re here to help, so contact us today!