A baby in blue top with text, "Should You Fill a Cavity in a Baby Tooth?"

My child has a cavity in a baby tooth… Should I get it filled?

When your little one’s baby teeth begin to erupt, it’s an exciting milestone! But many people wonder if taking “good care” of baby teeth is necessary. After all, those teeth are going to fall out in a few years!

So what happens when your child gets a cavity? Does it need a filling?

Let’s find out!

Do cavities in baby teeth need to be filled?

The quick answer is YES.

You should absolutely take care of your child’s baby teeth the same way you would if they were permanent teeth.

Baby teeth are critically important to future development and need a regular routine of optimal oral care, including fillings when cavities are present.

For starters, you want to make sure you’ve found a pediatric dentist by your baby’s first birthday, or within six months after the first tooth erupts. This is recommended by the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry… This text opens a new tab to the AAPD website….

Why should you fill cavities in baby teeth?

One reason to treat cavities in baby teeth is to ensure the tooth stays in place until it is ready to fall out naturally.

Baby teeth save space for permanent teeth to be able to erupt properly. An untreated cavity can potentially harm the permanent tooth waiting to come in or cause it to grow in crooked.

This can affect your child’s smile and self-confidence.

Your child may also experience pain and even have trouble with speech development.

Additionally, if your child has pain from an untreated cavity (or ends up losing that baby tooth too early due to decay), they may have trouble chewing food and risk nutritional deficits.

What happens if you don’t fill a cavity in a baby tooth?

One guarantee if you do not treat a cavity is it will get worse. Cavities do not self-heal!

The decayed part of the tooth will spread across the enamel and inside towards the root of the tooth. If this occurs, blood flow can be compromised, nutrients to the tooth are affected, and eventually, the tooth will fall out.

This decay can also spread past just a tooth, invading the soft tissues that support your child’s teeth. This is known as periodontal disease and can have serious repercussions, threatening the health and viability of your teeth.

Find a pediatric dentist for your child

Even if you think your child is too young to see the dentist (due to age or not having “enough teeth”), you’ll want to find a pediatric dentist both you and your child are comfortable with at an early age.

At Smile Surfers Kids Dentistry, we make going to the dentist a fun experience that promotes education for lifelong healthy habits.

We also emphasize preventative care so that your child can avoid cavities altogether.

Contact our board-certified pediatric dentists at Smile Surfers to see if we’re the right fit for you. We have two convenient locations in Sumner and Richland, WA.