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! Many people wonder if taking “good care” of baby teeth is really necessary. After all, those teeth are going to fall out in a few years! Does it really matter if you get a cavity in a baby tooth filled?
The answer is definitively 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.
For starters, you want to make sure your have found a pediatric dentist by your baby’s first birthday, or within six month after the first tooth erupts (American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry). Many children do not see a dentist until they are over 2 years old.
Why Fill a Cavity in a Baby Tooth?
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 properly erupt. A cavity that is untreated can potentially harm the permanent tooth waiting to come in, or cause them to grow in crooked. This can affect their smile and self-confidence.
Your child may 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 to an Untreated Cavity?
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 for Decay can also spread to the soft tissues that support your teeth. This is known as periodontal disease, and it can threaten the health and viability of your teeth.
Find Your Baby’s Permanent Dental Home
Even if you think your child is too young to see the dentist (due to age or not having “enough teeth”), you will want to find a pediatric dentist both you and your child are comfortable with at an early age.
Smile Surfers Kids Dentistry
Two locations to serve you: