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My Child’s Baby Tooth Has a Cavity

tooth decayLa Mesa, CA – Those baby teeth in your child’s mouth play a very important role, so it is crucial to care for them properly. If your child develops a cavity on one, you should be sure it gets filled.

“A lot of times, parents ask if a baby tooth really needs to have a filling after a cavity is found,” says Dr. Santiago Surillo. “Since the tooth is going to fall out eventually anyway, does it really need the filling? The answer is yes – and for several reasons.”

Baby teeth should be cared for just like permanent teeth are, even though the primary teeth will fall out one day. They help children eat and speak properly, and ensure the permanent teeth are healthy and can then come in properly.

“If we don’t fill a cavity, the decay that caused the cavity can actually spread, leading to more decay,” says Dr. Surillo, who treats children of all ages. “If your child has tooth decay, it can cause pain, which can make it difficult for your child to eat. This can then affect their nutritional intake and cause bigger problems.”

Your child’s baby teeth also play an important role in your child’s developing speech. Teeth help us form words and ensure we can speak properly.

Cavities in children are very common – in fact, early childhood caries is the number one chronic childhood illness. Studies have shown that nearly half of all children between the ages of two and 11 have some sort of dental problem. Our colleagues and friends at Polkadot Pediatric Dentistry in the state of Georgia have a great piece on cavities and is a great read for a crash course.

Chances are good that there could be a filling present even before you or your child notices it. Not all cavities cause pain, so it is important to maintain regular check-ups with a pediatric dentist. Tooth decay is caused by an infection, and if not treated properly, it can cause problems to the rest of the child’s teeth, including the permanent ones that haven’t come in yet. If the infection spreads, it can even reach the permanent teeth beneath the gums. You may be able to detect the infection or dental decay if your child’s tooth is discolored or spotted. This is called Turner’s Tooth and it can lead to weakened enamel.

“Another common question we get from parents when treating children with cavities is if we can just pull the tooth,” says Dr. Surillo. “It may seem logical to just go ahead and pull the tooth since it is going to fall out anyway. That is always a last resort, however, because the baby teeth are needed to ensure the permanent teeth can erupt in their proper locations. If a tooth is lost too soon, it can affect how the smile shapes up later. If we can repair the tooth and allow it to stay in place, it can then help guide the permanent tooth to its ideal spot when the time is right.”

If your child is over the age of one and has not had a dental checkup yet, schedule one as soon as possible. Then, checkups should occur every six months to ensure the smile remains healthy. Contact us at Children’s Braces and Dentistry