Many children develop cavities in their primary, or "baby," teeth. However, parents may not feel that a decayed baby tooth needs to be treated, since it will eventually be lost and replaced. If a cavity is extremely small, the tooth may repair itself through a process of remineralization, especially if the child brushes with a fluoride toothpaste. Fluoride helps draw displaced minerals back to weakened sites on the tooth enamel to remineralize the teeth. Still, a dentist may suggest filling a larger hole in a baby tooth. Here are a few reasons why.
Prevents Dental Infections
A dental infection may develop in a baby tooth that has a large cavity. Primary teeth tend to be a bit thinner than permanent teeth. As a result, a cavity can quickly reach the center of a primary tooth, allowing oral bacteria to enter the tooth and cause a painful infection. The infection may be treated with a root canal or an extraction. However, the root canal is much more invasive than a simple filling, and an extraction can cause an eventual dental misalignment. When a primary tooth is removed before it naturally sheds, it is unavailable to guide the underlying adult to tooth into its proper position. Thus, your child may require an orthodontic correction to re-align their teeth.
When a dentist fills a cavity in a baby tooth, the filling blocks bacteria from entering the tooth, making dental infections less likely.
Makes Eating More Comfortable
An untreated cavity can make it difficult for a child to enjoy a wide variety of foods. A resulting nutritional deficit can be detrimental to the youngster's growth and development. Many healthy food choices, such as raw fruits and vegetables, are challenging for a child to chew, especially if the little one has a painful cavity. Still, a child needs a wide variety of vitamins and minerals from a well-rounded diet to meet their nutritional needs.
Facilitates Normal Speech Development
Teeth form a border around the tongue and help make speech easy. The tongue moves against the teeth as words are pronounced. However, if a primary tooth is painful or lost due to decay, a child whose speech is developing may incur a speech impediment. Speech problems may require professional treatment through speech therapy. Additionally, a little one who has trouble speaking may feel self-conscious, embarrassed, and frustrated when trying to communicate with others.
If you believe that your child has a cavity in a primary tooth, schedule a consultation with a pediatric dental clinic in your area.