Your child will begin growing primary teeth at the age of six months approximately. These baby teeth help kids learn to eat and speak properly while keeping the jaw healthy and ready for adult permanent teeth to grow. They start losing baby teeth at around age five or six. It is at this time that adult teeth start to burst through the gums.
Since baby teeth will fall out on their own, you might feel tempted to believe they do not need the same diligent, thorough care that permanent teeth require. But baby teeth can form cavities and other dental problems too. Although the child will lose a tooth with a cavity eventually, you should not skip treatment for this early stage of tooth decay.
Cavities in baby teeth will not go away on their own. And they can create long-term problems for a child’s oral health, despite the impermanence of primary teeth. Read on to learn the risks of leaving cavities untreated in baby teeth.
Dangers of Untreated Tooth Decay in Primary Teeth
Tooth decay develops when natural bacteria in the mouth find a weak spot in the tooth enamel and start to eat away at the structure. Dentists refer to a resulting hole in the tooth’s surface as a cavity. These can occur in both baby teeth and adult teeth.
Tooth decay spreads deeper, causing extensive damage without treatment from a dentist. You might think that because a child will lose a baby tooth, a cavity in this tooth does not matter.
But advanced tooth decay can leave the young patient in extreme discomfort. Tooth pain may impact their eating habits and other oral functions, leading to unhealthy behaviors down the line.
If decay reaches the interior of the tooth, then the child may contract an infection. Then this will require more intense dental work to fix. And untreated cavities in baby teeth will affect the health of adult teeth. The permanent teeth might grow crooked or weak, which will need further dental work later in life. So do not ignore cavities of any kind.
How to Treat Cavities in Baby Teeth
Treatment for a cavity in a baby tooth will depend on the extent of the dental damage and the child’s age. In minor cases of tooth decay, a dentist might suggest preventative dental care to stop it from worsening. These efforts will include strengthening the teeth by using fluoride, for example.
Many cavities will need a dental filling to treat. The dentist will remove the decayed part of the tooth and use composite resin to fill the hole and restore the tooth’s structure.
Advanced tooth decay may need the removal of more enamel than a dental filling can cover. In this instance, the patient may require a dental crown to fully protect the tooth. Discuss the options for treating tooth decay in your child’s unique smile by scheduling a dental consultation as soon as possible.