One of the common questions asked by parents when it comes to dental treatment is– Is it necessary to treat decay in a baby tooth with a filling? Many people believe since these teeth are going to be lost eventually, there is no need to restore them and the dentist can just pull them. It is true that the baby tooth will be lost, but there are many reasons for having these teeth restored when a cavity does arise.
1. The baby teeth save space for the permanent teeth. If the baby tooth is lost early, the neighboring teeth may drift causing there to be less space for erupting permanent teeth. The baby tooth acts as a natural space maintainer.
2. If left untreated, your child may begin to have pain from the cavity. Pain typically begins with sensitivity to hots and colds but will later progress into a throbbing, spontaneous pain.
3. Untreated cavities can progress into infections that can cause serious swelling and illness. When the infection becomes too advanced, children sometimes have to be hospitalized to treat the infection. In extreme cases, children have even died from the infection from cavities in baby teeth.
4. Even if there is no pain or obvious infection, the baby tooth may have an abscess forming underneath the roots (which can be seen on digital radiographs). The permanent tooth develops right underneath this infection. This means that a large cavity could go unnoticed by the patient and be causing irreversible harm to the developing permanent tooth.
5. Baby teeth function to allow children to better speak and eat.
These are all important reasons to see your pediatric dentist and receive treatment for cavities even if those cavities are in baby teeth!!