Do Cavities in Baby Teeth Need to be Filled?

Posted by: Dr. Erwin Su, on June 24, 2013

Baby teeth decay at a much quicker rate than permanent teeth. This is due to the anatomy of the tooth enamel, which is less dense and allows the decay to spread easier. Many parents wonder if their child’s baby teeth need to be restored with a filling or crown in cases where they have developed tooth decay.

All Decay is Equal
The answer is yes. Those teeth do need to have the tooth decay removed. A common misconception is that since the tooth will eventually fall out anyway, that it does not need to be restored. In actuality, decay spreads from tooth to tooth, and severe infections can also affect the developing permanent teeth below. Neglecting to remove the tooth decay will only make the other teeth susceptible to decay themselves. Upon your child’s first visit to the dentist , you should receive all this information.

Risks in Delaying Treatment
In severe cases of untreated abscessed teeth, the infection has been known to cause endocarditis, pneumonia and brain abscesses resulting in hospitalization. Simply providing routine intervention can avoid these serious complications. The longer you wait to restore a small cavity, the more severe the decay becomes. What once only needed a small filling can easily turn into a crown. If that’s put off, the nerve of the tooth could become infected and then require a pulpotomy (therapy to remove an infected nerve.) By that point, delaying necessary care will only lead to loss of the tooth. Routine preventive care appointments allow your dentist an opportunity to identify areas of decay while they are small, so that they can be treated in as minimally invasive of a way as possible.

Misalignment Concerns
If the tooth becomes so infected that it must be removed to prevent other infection, there is also the concern of premature tooth loss. A child’s teeth erupt in a way that guides the permanent teeth in a correct growth pattern. Preventive space maintenance is essential to avoid complex orthodontic needs later on. Treating decay early can reduce the risk of premature loss, contact your pediatric dentist today!

Categories: All Posts, Dental Health, Kids Dental Health