When you bring your child to the dentist and are told they have a cavity, you may think it’s no big deal. Your child hasn’t grown any of their permanent teeth yet, so a cavity on one of their baby teeth can’t matter that much, right?
While you may not feel worried about a cavity on a tooth that will eventually fall out, that decay can cause more critical issues for your child’s mouth going forward.
After all, fillings in baby teeth still serve a purpose to promote the health of your child.
But you or your child might be worried about getting a filling or a crown. If you still have questions about your child getting a tooth filling, you can learn more about cavities in children right here.
What’s a Cavity
Cavities are the result of tooth decay from bacteria that forms from what you eat. The sugars in food and drink become acid. When not properly cleaned and removed, this acid begins to eat away at the tooth enamel.
Cavities eat away at the structure and integrity of a tooth. The longer the cavity sits in your mouth, the more potential damage it can cause.
Dangers of a Cavity
Cavities may not seem like a big deal for baby teeth, but they can still cause permanent damage to your child’s mouth.
In fact, tooth decay is one of the most common diseases that cause damage in children’s mouths across the world.
You might be tempted to avoid bringing your child to the dentist because they’re scared, but don’t put it off for too long. If you’re having trouble convincing them to go, there are things you can do to help ease their fears.
Teeth Close to Falling Out
There is one possibility that may exempt your kid from needing intervention for their cavity. If their tooth is close to falling out, they may be able to wait for the tooth to fall out first.
Your dentist has to predict the tooth to fall out within a short and acceptable time range. Only dentists can determine how close a tooth is to falling out by studying X-rays of your child’s mouth.
Regardless, your child should certainly receive more frequent checkups to make sure the cavity hasn’t spread.
Ultimately, it is best to make an appointment with your child’s dentist and plan on treating cavities in baby teeth to prevent any further damage. Waiting for a baby tooth to fall out can often cause more harm than good.
Size of Cavity
If you catch a cavity before it spreads, your kid will be less at-risk for lasting tooth decay or mouth diseases. But how do you know what size of cavity your child has?
Through X-rays, a dentist can determine how deep the decay reaches into the tooth.
The least worrisome decay are pre-cavity spots that are mostly warning signs on the most outer layer of the tooth enamel. These can often be remedied with improved tooth hygiene and increased vigilance to your child’s food choices.
Less severe cavities exist only on the outer layer of the tooth, otherwise called the enamel. The cavity becomes more dangerous if the demineralization has reached the layers beneath the enamel called dentin.
This softer and more porous dentin layer of the tooth makes it easier for the cavity to spread more quickly throughout the tooth and to other parts of the mouth.
If a cavity is left to fester, it can grow larger and affect multiple teeth at varying layers. Once a cavity gets to this severity, standard filling or crown solutions may no longer be an option.
Solutions to Cavities
While pre-cavity spots may only require an improved tooth cleaning technique, other levels of a cavity will likely need more intervention. There are several solutions for baby teeth cavities.
The best solution for your child will depend on the severity of the tooth decay.
What’s a Tooth Filling
Once a cavity has spread into the dentin layer of the tooth, the decay needs to be removed and the tooth filled in.
After preparing the affected area, the dentist will remove the decayed section of the tooth and seal it with a white filling.
What’s a Crown
For more serious cavities that affect many different levels of the tooth, the dentist may recommend a crown for your child. This can help to restore the structure of the decaying tooth.
What’s an Extraction
Sometimes, tooth decay has spread through the mouth to other teeth, and a filling or crown can’t repair the damage.
In these cases, the dentist may suggest extraction to preserve the remaining healthy teeth in your child’s mouth.
Child’s Future Risk
You may be hesitant to have your child undergo one of these dental procedures. If there are alternatives to filling cavities in baby teeth, your dentist will present them to you.
Ultimately, your child’s future health could be at risk. If you leave a cavity untreated for an extended period of time, it can cause tooth loss, gum disease, and even impede speech development for a growing child.
Plus, the pain of a cavity can be incredibly uncomfortable, especially for a child. If they spend their days distracted by the pain, it may negatively affect their school performance.
More Information on Fillings in Baby Teeth
If your child has a cavity, it doesn’t have to be a scary event. But, it definitely shouldn’t be ignored, either.
When you identify a cavity early, it’s much easier to put the right fillings in baby teeth and promote healthy tooth and gum health for your kid’s future.
For more information on filling cavities in baby teeth, or if you want to take the next step to protect your child’s oral health, we’re ready to help you.