Dental Caries (Early Childhood Caries or Cavities)
Early childhood caries (commonly called cavities) is the most common chronic disease of childhood. Caries are the result of an infectious disease process that damages tooth structure and makes holes in the teeth. The consequences of early childhood caries are much more than unattractive teeth. Early childhood caries can cause severe pain, speech difficulty, and poor nutrition and can spread to cause serious infections. Treatment for caries can require expensive dental services, and younger children often require general anesthesia and treatment in the operating room.