If a child has a cavity in a baby tooth, does it need to be addressed? After all, it is going to fall out soon enough so why worry, right? Wrong. This is a common misconception that many parents have.
Baby teeth play a very important role in your child’s growth and development. In addition to interfering with the ability to properly eat, infections can spike, and speech impediments may evolve. So, even though they may not last forever, there are many reasons that you want to keep those baby teeth in good shape.
Symptoms of a Cavity in a Baby Tooth
Cavities can appear and wreak havoc on a young child’s oral health – especially if you aren’t sure what you are looking for or what symptoms may be signaling such. Therefore it is a good idea to pay attention to any signs that could indicate something is going on.
- Discolored tooth or visible dark spots
- Increased sensitivity to temperatures, such as cold and hot beverages
- Visible holes
- Pain around the gumline – persistent pain
- Bad breath that doesn’t seem to go away with brushing
- Pain while chewing, brushing, or otherwise touching the tooth
Depending on the age of your child, expressing that they are having a dental issue may not be something they can do yet. Therefore, close parental attention and routine dental visits are vital for catching cavities early.
Treatment for a Cavity
Depending on how deep the cavity is and where it is located, your dentist may choose one of a few different types of treatment, such as a filling, a dental crown, or an extraction.
Fillings. A dental filling is a very routine procedure in which the dentist will remove the cavity and decay and then fill the tooth with a composite resin. This material is much safer than the metal amalgam fillings from years ago – and they blend beautifully with the other teeth. Full functionality of the tooth will be restored.
Dental Crowns. When a filling is too large to be successfully handled with dental filling, a dental crown is often used. The decay is removed from the tooth and then the dental crown is placed over the tooth to seal the tooth and restore its integrity.
Dental Extractions. If a tooth is too badly decayed to restore, it may need to be extracted. Although this is the last resort, it is necessary to remove such a tooth since the decay can spread to other teeth and surrounding gums, potentially causing extensive damage to the mouth.
Cavities Left Untreated
Ignoring the signs of a cavity or not seeking treatment can be detrimental to your child’s oral health – both now and in the future. For instance, a few negative impacts include:
- Reduction in the ability to properly eat and be nourished
- Disrupt proper speech
- Allow the spread of infections and tooth decay throughout the mouth
- Severe tooth pain
- Low sense of self-confidence and self-esteem
- The possibility of bite alignment issues
- Permanent teeth may not grow in properly
Preventing Tooth Decay and Cavities
The best chance your child has of preventing tooth decay and cavities is to have an effective oral hygiene routine. And, of course, visiting the dentist every 6 months for routine cleanings and examinations.
The more you teach your child the importance of these two things, the greater chance they will have for lifelong oral health.