Every Dentist Needs Your Help Keeping Your Teeth Healthy

Temporary Teeth, Permanent Damage: Why You Can't Ignore Cavities In Baby Teeth

If you're a parent whose small child has developed a small cavity in one of his or her baby teeth, you might think that ignoring the cavity (if it's painless) or pulling the tooth might be better than getting a filling. After all, the baby tooth will fall out eventually. However, while baby teeth serve primarily as space-fillers while permanent teeth grow and get ready to erupt, the condition of the baby teeth can affect the condition of the future permanent teeth. Here's a look at what can happen if you don't get those cavities filled.

Leaving It Alone

If the cavity is small, doesn't cause pain, and doesn't seem to be affecting how your child eats or talks, leaving it alone might seem the best thing to do. But the cavity can grow worse, eventually causing an infection and sudden pain. An abscess can form in the jaw as well, leading to severe infection.

You do not want a severe infection in your child's body, let alone in his or her head. The pain can lead to the child not eating properly. If the child can't speak much yet, he or she might not know how to tell you that something is very wrong. That causes needless trauma for your child, much more than any drilling would cause.

Pulling the Tooth

If you pull the affected tooth before an infection starts, then the alignment of the remaining baby teeth can get out of whack, resulting in crooked teeth that then impact the permanent teeth growing underneath in the jaw. Baby teeth reserve spots for adult teeth, and if one of those spots starts to shrink because the teeth next to it move, the adult tooth is going to have a bad time trying to erupt.

While you could get a special appliance to keep the space open, there's no guarantee your child would wear it when he or she was supposed to, especially if the child thinks that his or her friends will make fun of the appliance.

Filling the Tooth

Rather than taking those chances, just get the tooth filled. Cavity filling is no longer the traumatic experience that it was a few decades ago. Now, after some novocaine, the dentist can fill the tooth quickly and dry the filling material swiftly. Within a day, you and your child won't notice the difference between the filled tooth and the unfilled tooth, except perhaps for that lack of pain.

About Me

Every Dentist Needs Your Help Keeping Your Teeth Healthy

When I was a child and teenager, I always left the dentist's office with the great feeling of having no cavities. When I went away to college out-of-state, I had to switch to a new dentist in my area. It seemed like I was suddenly getting cavities and started wonder what my new dentist "was doing wrong". When I spoke to my mother about it, she reminded me that the reason I never had cavities when I was living it home was because she always made sure my siblings and I brushed and flossed daily and didn't eat too much sugar. I then realized that my late-night study sessions drinking sugary soda and my suddenly bad brushing habits were the true causes of my cavities. I have since learned a lot more about dental health I am eager to share with anyone who needs the advice!


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