Cavities in children are treated in the same way as those in adults: by drilling the cavity from the tooth and using a filling to repair the tooth. Fillings can be made from composite or silver amalgam. In the case of a large part of the tooth needing repair, the remaining part of tooth after the cavity is removed can be covered with a stainless steel crown.
Alternatively, baby teeth can also be restored with an extraction or pulpotomy. In children, it is extremely important that cavities are treated to prevent an abscess or oral disease that could affect the child's oral health through adulthood.
As of 2014, much emphasis in dental care is placed on the prevention of cavities in childhood. It is thought that the streptococci mutans, a common bacteria found in the mouth, is responsible for leaching out calcium and phosphate from the dentin and tooth enamel, which causes decay. Common preventative measures include beginning dental care at 12 months of age, eating a healthy diet and practicing supervised tooth brushing until 6 years of age. Fluoride supplements are also recommended to help prevent tooth decay. Dental sealants can be placed on permanent molars, as they appear to prevent damage and the formation of cavities.