Why Fix a Cavity in a Baby Tooth?

cartoon bacteria trying to damage tooth

Alpharetta, GA – As a parent, you want to do what is best for your child, and that includes taking care of their oral health. To help them and teach them how to comply with their dental health, you need to learn first.

To prevent cavities in children, introduce a healthy oral care routine at a young age. While still a baby, be sure to wipe the child’s mouth with a clean cloth after every feeding and introduce a toothbrush after the first tooth has erupted.

For older children, be sure they brush daily with fluoride toothpaste, in the morning and before bedtime and floss at least once a day. Remember, you will have to brush them and oversee the process until they are six or seven years of age.

Maintain regular check-ups with your dentist, and ensure your child eats a healthy, well-balanced diet. Good home prevention is the first step to preventing childhood tooth decay.

But many parents wonder, when a cavity appears in one of their child’s baby teeth, why it should be repaired since that tooth is going to fall out anyway. But the health of primary teeth has a direct impact on our permanent teeth.

“It’s a question I hear all the time as a pediatric dentist,” says Dr. Nanna Ariaban. It may sound silly to repair a tooth that is just going to fall out, but it is actually very important. Broken or decayed baby teeth can impair a child’s ability to chew and speak, which can then affect their confidence and development. But that’s not it.

What Happens When Your Baby Loses A Baby Tooth Due to Caries?

Untreated baby teeth can affect the development of permanent teeth and can lead to more problems in the future. An untreated cavity can become painful or even form an abscess that can lead to swelling and pain for your child.

Losing a tooth before it’s time to have the new one comes out can affect the alignment of the future secondary tooth. Whether the cause is an injury or decay, a fallen baby tooth increases the risk of having crooked teeth or crowded teeth.

Some parents may suggest simply pulling the baby tooth rather than going through the work to repair it. Dr. Nanna advises against this in most cases.

“We can’t tell when teeth are going to fall out on their own,” says Dr. Nanna. “There is a pattern and general time frame in which teeth fall out naturally (Baby Teething and Tooth-Loss Stages,) but it’s a guess. Losing primary teeth too soon can affect how and when the permanent teeth come in. If a child loses a back tooth too early and doesn’t have the proper follow-up treatment, such as a space maintainer, the permanent teeth may erupt in the wrong locations. This can lead to more dental and orthodontic work in the future.”

We do not hear this often, nor enough, but – Baby teeth matter.

You want your child to grow up without fear, and you want them to have the capacity to like what’s best for them. Now think that by watching for their oral health and taking them to the pediatric dentist’s office, you are contributing for them to grow without fear of the dentist.

You will be helping them to understand better how to care for their health and well-being.

Fixing Cavities in a Baby Tooth Today Can Save You Money and Time in the Future

Fixing cavities in baby teeth is crucial to a child’s overall health and development. Misconceptions regarding the importance of children’s teeth and lack of knowledge or financial constraints can lead to inadequate dental care.

It’s essential for parents to prioritize their child’s dental health and seek preventive care early on to ensure their child’s healthy smile.

As we said, baby teeth play a crucial role in a child’s development, including speech, chewing, and guiding permanent teeth into their correct positions. Baby teeth also help maintain the space needed for permanent teeth to come in properly.

Moreover, untreated cavities in baby teeth can cause pain, and infection, and even affect a child’s overall health. Untreated tooth decay can progress and infect the pulp inside the tooth, leading to an abscess, which can cause swelling, fever, and in some cases, even spread to other parts of the body.

Allowing poor oral hygiene will most likely cause cavities in your child’s teeth, and ignoring tooth decay can lead to worse problems that will cost even more money and hurt more than a professional cleaning the dental practice.

Not to mention all the time and effort you and your family avoid by preventing the need for extensive orthodontic treatment in the future.

Available Treatments for Tooth Decay in Kids

Tooth decay is a common dental problem in kids that requires prompt treatment to prevent it from causing further damage to the teeth.

The common treatments If a baby’s tooth has decayed are dental fillings; for cases of advanced decay, a crown or cap may be required to repair the tooth properly.

And if your child is complaining of a toothache in the decayed tooth, it might be an indication the nerve has been affected. In this case, a pulpotomy will need to be performed to remove the decay and affected nerve.

  • Fillings: This is a common and simple treatment that involves removing the decayed part of the tooth and filling material such as composite resin or amalgam.
  • Crowns: Dentists use crowns when the decay causes significant damage to the tooth. The dentist will remove the decayed part and place a crown over the remaining healthy tooth to protect it from further damage.
  • Pulpotomy: Dentists apply this treatment when decay reaches the pulp, the soft tissue inside the tooth that contains nerves and blood vessels. They remove the decayed pulp and seal the rest of the healthy pulp with filling material.
  • Pulpectomy: This treatment is similar to pulpotomy, but it involves removing the entire pulp from the tooth.
  • Endodontics: This is a more complex treatment that involves removing the entire pulp from the tooth, cleaning the root canals, and sealing them with filling material. This is necessary when the tooth is severely damaged or infected.

The Dangers of Early Tooth Loss in Children

Early tooth loss, or the loss of baby teeth before their natural time, can have several negative impacts on a child’s oral health and overall well-being. Some potential dangers experts associate with early tooth loss are:

Misaligned Teeth

Baby teeth act as placeholders for permanent teeth, guiding them into their correct position. If your baby loses a tooth too early, the adjacent teeth may shift, causing misalignment and overcrowding in the permanent teeth.

This can lead to more complex issues down the line.

Speech Difficulties

The loss of teeth can affect a child’s speech development, particularly in the pronunciation of certain sounds. This can lead to communication difficulties, affecting social and academic development.

Bite Problems

The loss of baby teeth can also affect the bite, leading to issues such as overbite and underbite, which can cause problems with chewing and speaking and lead to jaw pain or temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD).

Bone Loss

When a tooth is missing, the jawbone beneath it may start to shrink or resorb. This can lead to a reduction in bone mass, which can affect the stability of the remaining teeth and make dental implants or other restorative treatments more difficult or even impossible.

Self-esteem issues

Early tooth loss can cause self-esteem issues and embarrassment, especially as the child enters school and interacts with peers. This can lead to social anxiety and other emotional problems.

Overall, early tooth loss can have significant negative impacts on a child’s oral health and well-being. It is important to consult a dentist if your child loses a tooth prematurely, as they can recommend appropriate interventions to mitigate these risks.

Treatment for Children’s Rotting Teeth, Alpharetta

At Polkadot Pediatric Dentistry, Dr. Nanna is passionate about the possibility of helping children smile with a healthy smile.

The dental home in Alpharetta, CA, offers the best services for children’s oral health in the city. From emergency dental care to sedation dentistry, we can offer it.

Schedule your kid’s first appointment today.