Is Cavity Repair In Baby Teeth Optional?
December 12, 2017
You just took your child to the dentist, only to hear that dreaded word – “cavity”! After learning more, you discover the cavity is on a baby tooth, which makes you wonder, “isn’t that tooth going to fall out anyways? Can we opt out of a dental filling?” This is a common concern among parents. The truth is, baby teeth do matter. They allow your child to eat and speak properly and provide a healthy pathway for their permanent teeth to erupt.
If your child has a cavity, it means they have an area of decay in a tooth. Untreated tooth decay can lead to pain, the spread of harmful bacteria and even infection. Baby tooth or not, that tooth is diseased and can compromise their entire oral health if not taken care of in a prompt manner.
Are there any exceptions to filling a cavity on a baby tooth? Possibly. Decay typically happens in stages. Sometimes, cavities are detected when they are very small and at an early stage. There’s always a chance that with proper care, the enamel can remineralize and essentially repair itself. Never assume a cavity will do that unless the dentist recommends the process of “waiting and watching.”
Another exception is if your dentist is able to accurately determine (through x-rays or visible exam) that the affected tooth is going to fall out in the very near future. Again, don’t assume that a baby tooth should be falling out soon and should therefore not need a filling. Follow the advice of a well-trained dental professional.
Untreated decay is nothing to take lightly. In fact, according to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentists, by age 5, nearly 60% of children in the U.S. will have experienced some level of tooth decay. This is the leading cause of missed school days and can lead to infection, difficulty in chewing and even malnutrition.
For the sake of your child’s current well-being and their future smile health, go ahead and schedule that cavity repair if it’s been recommended. All teeth are important, even if they are ones you won’t have past elementary school!
Posted on behalf of Dr. Sarah Thompson, Soft Touch Dentistry
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Soft Touch Dentistry
O’Fallon, IL 62269