If your young child comes into the dentist with a cavity, a very common question that we get asked is whether it really needs to be filled. Since it’s a baby tooth, and will be just falling out eventually, why bother getting it filled? At the end of the day, baby teeth have a very important role and should be treated with just as much care as permanent teeth are. We want to go into depth a little bit here, to explain the science and reasoning behind why baby teeth should be filled if they have cavities!
Some very small cavities can be fixed via remineralization of the affected tooth. This isn’t a viable option for all cavities, though. If your pediatric dentist catches the cavity at its very beginning, they can suggest practices, such as care and diet changes, to halt the cavity and prevent growth. In addition, if a tooth is close to falling out, then it is probably not necessary to fill the tooth.
Cavities in baby teeth can affect permanent teeth later on
Ultimately, a lot of parents feel that it is a waste of money to fill the cavity in a baby tooth, since it will just fall out. It is important to consider the fact that a cavity that is left unattended can escalate quickly, due to the fact that baby teeth are much more fragile and thin than adult, permanent teeth are. These little cavities can very quickly turn into a problem big enough to warrant the need for baby root canals and crowns.
The infection can spread
Left untreated, a cavity can spread from one tooth to another, leaving a trail of decay in its wake. Not treating a cavity will not only affect the one tooth, but it could affect your child’s entire mouth if left unattended for long enough.
If you’ve ever had a large cavity or a toothache, you know that they can hurt. Why would you put your child through that pain for an extended period of time? In addition to that, the pain from the cavity can make it really difficult for your child to get proper nutrition, since their mouth will hurt too much to ingest many foods.