When children get cavities, many parents wonder whether filling them is really necessary. After all, because baby teeth will fall out soon enough, is it worth it to fill a cavity in them? The answer is usually “yes,” but there are some exceptions.
When Will a Cavity Not Require Filling?
There are some circumstances when a cavity in a baby tooth does not require filling. First, a very small cavity has some chance of naturally repairing itself. If this is the case, your dentist may recommend oral hygiene habits or dental-friendly nutrition to help prevent the cavity from growing worse.
Additionally, your dentist may forgo filling a cavity if the tooth is close to falling out. Instead, it is completely fine to wait for the tooth to fall out if the cavity doesn’t pose a risk for spreading germs throughout the teeth or tissues and is not causing pain.
Do Cavities in Baby Teeth Affect Adult Teeth?
If left untreated, cavities in baby teeth can cause more significant problems such as dental infections, requiring treatments like root canals. This can affect the adult teeth and cause long-term issues for your child’s oral health. In addition, children who have untreated cavities in their baby teeth are more likely to require orthodontic treatment in the future.
What Problems Can Cavities Cause?
There are several health problems that a cavity in a baby tooth may cause for children. For example, pain from a cavity can cause children to avoid eating certain foods, resulting in nutritional issues. Speech impediments may also develop as the child has difficulty speaking properly due to painful cavities or missing teeth. Infections are also more likely to spread through the mouth, affecting more of the child’s teeth.
How Can I Tell if My Child Has a Cavity?
If your child has a cavity, they are likely to complain of a toothache or sensitivity when eating or drinking hot, cold, or sweet food and beverages. You may also notice visible holes, pits, or brown, black, or white stains on the tooth. Some children may not show these signs, however. For this reason, it is important to see a dentist regularly for check-ups. You should also make sure your child is following healthy habits at home by brushing and flossing regularly and avoiding sugary treats as much as possible.
Schedule an Appointment
To schedule a dental appointment for your child, call Sprout Kids Dentistry in Quincy, MA at (617) 934-6339 or request an appointment online.
Dr. Michelle Anderson is a pediatric dentist board certified by the American Board of Pediatric Dentistry.