Answering Common Questions From Parents About Early Childhood Dental Caries

From the moment those tiny little tooth edges start showing up in your child's mouth, the topic of dental care is bound to be at the forefront of your thoughts. Dental caries is one concern that will naturally come along with being a parent because this is such a common problem. Early childhood dental caries, which is usually called simply ECC, is definitely a dental health issue that you should become familiar with as a parent. Here are a few of the most common questions parents tend to have about ECC and the answers you need to know.

Are dental caries painful for your child?

It is actually a common misconception that ECC is not painful for the child. However, ECC is just a fancy term for dental decay, which is indeed painful no matter how old the sufferer may be. Depending on the age of the child when the problem develops, they may not be able to convey that they are in pain, but some developmental changes may be noticeable, such as how and what they eat or even how much they speak.

Why should you allow affected teeth to be pulled when they will come out on their own anyway?

Your child's dentist will determine if the affected teeth should be pulled or treated, but in a lot of cases, the teeth will need to be removed. Removing the teeth helps to prevent your child from experiencing the pain that is associated with ECC. Plus, leaving the teeth in place could later affect the growth of permanent teeth and may contribute to the spread of the condition to even more of the teeth in your child's mouth. In fact, not treating the infection could lead to root canal infections.

Why do some dentists recommend surgery to remove the affected teeth?

Surgery sounds scary when it involves a young child, but pediatric dentists do often recommend surgery of ECC affected teeth. This is because younger children often are more stressed by other methods of extraction, even with localized numbing agents and anesthesia.

How common is ECC really?

This issue is actually really common, especially in the United States, which is why it is so important for you to get familiar with ECC as a parent. At times it has affected as much as 70 percent of children in the United States. While ECC is more prevalent in lower income families, no child is without risk of the development of the condition.