What to Expect If Your Child Has a Cavity

This article is sponsored by Walnut Hills Pediatric Dentistry.

kid sitting in dentist chairNo parent wants to hear that his or her child has a cavity. As a parent, you may wonder if you’ve done something wrong or be unsure whether a child cavity in a baby tooth really needs filling.

Dr. Nick Waage, Dr. Hans, and the team at Walnut Hills Pediatric Dentistry share what to expect if your child has a cavity and how you can help your child navigate this challenge.

Why does your child have a cavity?

Cavities can be more likely to develop if your child – with or without your help – doesn’t brush or floss well or eats or drinks a lot of sugary foods or beverages. But in some cases, a child’s cavity can appear because of other factors, such as how close together his teeth are, or the composition of your child’s mouth bacteria.

Do baby teeth need to be filled?

Many parents wonder why cavities in baby teeth need to be filled if they’re going to be replaced by permanent teeth anyway. In most cases, a child cavity should be filled as soon as possible. That’s because an unfilled cavity can cause pain or even an abscess (pocket of pus) and infection. And a baby tooth that’s lost prematurely can cause problems for the permanent tooth that comes in behind it.

In addition, cavities can cause severe damage more quickly in baby teeth than in permanent teeth. That’s because of its center, which is filled with nerves and the tooth’s blood supply, is larger and closer to the tooth’s surface than in a permanent tooth. A cavity can reach this area more quickly in baby teeth.

How can you make your child feel at ease about filling?

Having a cavity filled by a pediatric dentist can help put your child at ease. Family dentists can fill a child’s cavity, but pediatric dentists have special training in treating children’s dental needs. In addition, their offices are child-friendly, often providing fun activities and a colorful, welcoming environment. The dentists and staff are accustomed to making children feel comfortable and in explaining procedures in a truthful way that won’t make them nervous. Dr. Waage and Dr. Hans use calm direct communication, coupled with light distraction and a gentle demeanor that will ease your child’s fears of the unknown.

In addition, you should be aware your child will pick up on your demeanor. Stay calm, and don’t use words like “shots” or “drill” that will make your child tense. Your dentist can help you explain the procedure to your child in a way that won’t frighten him.

You may also want to read a book to your child about going to the dentist so he or she will feel more at ease. Letting your child bring along a favorite stuffed animal can also help provide some comfort, and the dentist may be able to use it to help demonstrate some of what your child can expect.

If your child needs regular dental care or to have a cavity filled, make an appointment today with Walnut Hills Pediatric Dentistry. They specialize in gentle dental care, and their entire staff excels at making each child feel comfortable and calm while they receive the highest level of care.

Connect with Walnut Hills Pediatric Dentistry

Call 515-987-1155 today or fill out the form on their website.


64 E. Hickman Rd, Waukee


  1. A lot of people don’t realize that cavities can come from other issues beyond just a lack of oral hygiene (although that certainly causes it too). Sometimes there is a genetic component or a bacterial issue. My daughter had candida coming up from her gut due to reflux and that is what caused her tooth decay.

    She had to have dental work done last fall at 4 1/2 years old. She had to have a couple of fillings and a couple of crowns, but we managed to avoid her needing even more fillings or crowns than she originally would have by treating the bacterial issue and eliminating some of the developing decay (I explain all of that in my post on the topic if you want to know more about that: https://mamarissa.com/kids-dental-crowns-are-there-alternatives/).

    I certainly agree that having a pediatric dentist can be helpful for getting kids to relax and not be scared when they need to have dental work done. My daughter has seen a lot of dentists in her little life and they were not all pediatric dentists. But she definitely had an easier time with the pediatric dentists who gave prizes at the end and made things seem really relaxed and fun.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here