As an adult, you know it’s important to catch cavities early and treat them properly so as to avoid further damage to permanent teeth. What about your child’s baby teeth, though? When young children get cavities, you might not see the point in filling them since they’ll soon fall out to be replaced by permanent teeth.
Is it really that important to get cavities in baby teeth filled? In most cases, the answer is yes, and there are a couple of reasons why it’s so imperative to care for your child’s teeth just as diligently as you care for your own, even though baby teeth will eventually be replaced.
Early on, cavities may not be a source of pain, but when they are left unchecked, they will only grow larger. This can lead to pain, not only when children chew their food, but all the time. This, in turn, can affect a child’s ability to consume proper nutrition.
In some cases, fillings may not be necessary. If cavities are caught early enough, your child’s dentist could prescribe a course of treatment meant to strengthen enamel, remineralize the tooth, and repair the damage before it progresses. If the cavity is too far advanced for this option, a filling is necessary to spare your child pain and other problems.
Threat of Spreading Infection
Cavities are caused by bacteria that infiltrates the tooth, and without proper treatment, infection can spread throughout the tooth, to neighboring teeth, and into the gums, the jawbone, and in severe cases, the blood stream (as with an abscess). Early detection and treatment are key to preventing the spread of harmful bacteria.
Lasting Side Effects
Cavities can affect not only chewing and nutrition; they could also impact overall oral development and even speech. As baby teeth grow in, they create a pathway for the permanent teeth that will eventually take their place. If baby teeth are damaged of they fall out prematurely, the proper placement of permanent teeth could be altered, causing misalignment of teeth, bite, and/or jaw structure.
In addition, problems with baby teeth could affect your child’s developing speech. When teeth hurt because of cavities, or when teeth are lost and the structure of the mouth changes, there could be changes in how children form words. This could lead to a speech impediment.
You might not think cavities in baby teeth are important, but they can have a major impact on your child if left untreated, so make sure to schedule regular dental visits for your child and follow the advice of dental professionals.