If your child complains of a toothache when chewing, you might wonder if they could have a molar cavity. The only way to know for sure if your child has a cavity in a molar is to schedule an appointment with their dentist for an evaluation, but if you’re wondering what a cavity looks like, we share some of the most common signs of tooth decay below.
Signs of Molar Cavities
It can be difficult to get a good look at a molar in the back of your child’s mouth—especially if it’s feeling painful and sensitive! Because most families don’t have dental mirrors and other tools at home, you’re more likely to suspect that your child has a cavity based on other symptoms they’re experiencing. Still, it’s good to know the visual signs of a cavity as well.
Your child may have a molar cavity if you notice:
- A white spot on the affected tooth, which is an area where the tooth enamel has weakened.
- A brown spot on the affected tooth, which is a cavity. The spots start off light brown in color and look similar to a stain, but they become darker as the cavity progresses. Eventually, these spots can turn black.
- Holes or pits in the tooth.
- Complaints of tooth pain; this could be intermittent pain or a constant, dull ache.
- Painful sensitivity to hot and cold sensations, or to sweet foods.
These symptoms are all reasons to call your child’s dentist and schedule an appointment for an exam.
Causes of Cavities in Molars
Cavities in molars—or cavities in any tooth, for that matter—are caused by a combination of acid and bacteria. Bacteria flourishes in the presence of sugar, so if your child has a sweet tooth, they may be more prone to cavities. Other carbohydrate-rich foods like cereal, French fries, and white bread can feed cavity-causing bacteria as well.
When bacteria “eats” this sugar, it produces acid. The combination of acid and bacteria are a double-whammy for your child’s teeth—the acid wears away the enamel, making teeth more vulnerable to infection. Good brushing and flossing habits can help by removing the plaque formed by bacteria and food debris, but any plaque that isn’t brushed away will harden into tartar.
Treating Cavities in Molars
When a cavity isn’t treated promptly, it can spread throughout the molar, causing pain and making the tooth likely to break. Infection can spread to other teeth, gums, bone, and even the rest of the body through the bloodstream.
At our practice, we take the stress out of getting cavities filled by offering no shot laser dentistry. Instead of using a dental drill, which causes pain and uncomfortable sensations for kids, we use a painless laser to remove decayed areas of the tooth. Once the tooth is prepared, it is filled with white composite material for a natural appearance. Kids who are afraid of needles will be relieved to know that there’s no need for anesthetic injections with our dental lasers!
Learn More About Cavities in Molars
If you think your child may have a molar cavity, contact us today to schedule an appointment for an evaluation. We have offices conveniently located in Massapequa Park, Nesconset, West Islip & Northport, New York.