Baby teeth are important—and not just for kids awaiting a visit from the Tooth Fairy. Baby teeth serve a vital role in the development of adult teeth, guiding them into position. What's more, they help children learn to speak and eat. Taking care of them on a daily basis is key to helping them do their job.

Just like adult teeth, baby teeth are prone to tooth decay. In fact, baby teeth are even more prone to tooth decay—or dental caries. The enamel on baby teeth is thinner and softer than on permanent teeth, making it easier for cavities to form. ICON resin infiltration is a relatively new treatment which can halt tooth decay as it forms. This procedure can help prevent cavities in baby teeth, leaving them strong and healthy. Your Huntington Beach pediatric dentist, located at Dr. Beanca Children's Dentistry, is all about keeping your child's teeth healthy. Keep reading to learn about how ICON treatment can help.

Tooth Decay: The Basics

Just like yours, your child's mouth is full of bacteria. Some are helpful, some are harmful. The harmful bacteria play a part in the formation of tooth decay. When foods containing sugar or starch are eaten, the bacteria combine with them to form acids. These acids eat away at the minerals on the enamel that covers teeth.

Over time, this mineral loss will weaken the enamel. These minerals can be repaired with proper dental hygiene, but if enough minerals are lost, this can lead to tooth decay. Tooth decay often begins with white spots on the teeth. These are a signal that the tooth is experiencing a mineral breakdown. It is at this stage that decay can be reversed or stopped. This is the point at which ICON treatment is beneficial.

If the tooth decay process is allowed to continue, however, a cavity forms. A cavity is a hole in a tooth that must be filled by a dentist. Left unchecked, tooth decay can cause a tooth to be lost. Parents should be keeping a close eye on their child's dental health, helping them learn how to properly brush and floss and watching for the telltale signs of tooth decay. If there are white spots or brown spots on your child's teeth, they should be brought to the immediate attention of your pediatric dentist.

What is ICON Treatment?

ICON resin infiltration is a treatment used to repair white spots and carious lesions that might, if left untreated, form a cavity. ICON treatment is minimally invasive, while filling cavities often requires painful drilling. It requires no anesthesia, and it is a viable option for children who are showing early signs of tooth decay. ICON treatment is inexpensive, especially when compared to what it can cost to get a filling. In addition, ICON treatment may help those children who have congenital enamel defects which cause the enamel on their teeth to be poor in quality.

ICON treatment is simple, and the entire process can take place during one dental visit, lasting about an hour. After a thorough dental cleaning, the smooth surface of each affected tooth will be etched. This will reveal the porous layer underneath, which is then dried. Resin is then applied to the etched surface to soak in. Finally, a light cure is used to harden the resin and the tooth gets polished.

Once completed, ICON treatment lasts anywhere from two to five years. In addition to preventing the progression of tooth decay, this treatment also guards against cavities everywhere it has been applied. ICON treatment is not a permanent solution. Your child will need to keep up with their routine dental appointments and personal dental care. Future ICON treatments may be necessary if tooth decay begins to form again.

Preventing Tooth Decay

ICON treatment is a great way to take care of decay which is in its early stages. However, even better is to not need this treatment at all. There is a lot you can do to prevent your child from developing tooth decay. First, a consistent oral hygiene routine is key. From the moment the first tooth emerges, you can make sure your child's gums and teeth are cleaned after every meal. Until they have the fine motor skills to manage their own brushing, you can use a soft toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste to clean your child's teeth, gums, and tongue—everywhere bacteria may collect.

Keep in mind that your child may not have the dexterity to reliably clean their own teeth until they are between six and eight years of age. Even if they want to be independent and brush their teeth on their own, be sure to check their handiwork. This is a great time to check for spots on their teeth. Next, a healthy diet will aid in the prevention of tooth decay. Avoid sugary and starchy foods and drinks. These will begin to harm teeth mere seconds after eating or drinking. Limiting the intake of these types of food will help guard against tooth decay.

There are many wonderful foods which are healthy for your child. Dairy products, such as cheese, yogurt, and milk, all contain calcium—great for strengthening teeth and bones. Many green, leafy vegetables, such as spinach and kale, have high levels of folic acid, which has been proven to promote good oral health. Raw vegetables, such as apples and carrots, do double duty. They help clean your child's teeth, while also providing nutrients to keep their teeth and gums healthy. Finally, from the time your child turns one, they should begin to visit a pediatric dental practice like ours here at Dr. Beanca Children's Dentistry every six months. Not only can we keep track of how your child's dental health is doing and offer preventative care, but we can offer ICON treatment to stop tooth decay in its tracks. The best defense is, after all, a good offense.

ICON Treatment in Huntington Beach

If you've noticed white spots on your child's teeth, you should not delay a trip to a pediatric dentist. Your child may be a perfect candidate for ICON treatment—a painless, non-invasive way to prevent the further growth of tooth decay. At Dr. Beanca Children's Dentistry, we can ensure that your child's smile remains big and bright—not to mention healthy. Contact our office for an appointment at our Huntington Beach, CA, location today.