This is a question that a lot of parents ask on a daily basis. Many parents question the logic behind filling cavities that appear in their children’s baby teeth since these teeth are going to fall out anyway. These same parents often ask their dentist in Columbus, Ohio, to explain why it is so important to spend the time and money getting these cavities taken care of. Some of the answers might surprise you.
When Are Fillings Recommended?
Most dental providers will always recommend filling cavities, but that doesn’t mean that there are not instances that could necessitate waiting. It depends on which tooth your child has the cavity in and how long the tooth is expected to take to exfoliate (a dental term for “fall out”). A young child that has a cavity in one of their molars should have the cavity filled because it will be several years before that tooth will fall out. However, a dental provider may suggest waiting if a child has a cavity on an incisor that is close to exfoliating.
It also depends on how big the cavity is. Larger cavities need to be addressed, regardless if the tooth is ready to come out or not. Smaller signs of decay can be put off if a parent feels it is not necessary to put their child under anesthesia and the trauma of having a tooth filled. Sometimes small cavities can fix themselves. This is a process called remineralization.
What Causes Cavities?
Most cavities are a result of an imbalanced diet and questionable oral hygiene. Young children are susceptible to decay because they naturally are drawn to high sugar treats. This is also the time of a child’s life when they are given greater control and responsibility over their brushing habits. Many children quickly brush their teeth or ignore the task altogether. Parents can help prevent cavities by supervising their child’s oral health routine and teaching them oral health habits. Regular cleanings can also help get rid of built-up tarter that can lead to tooth decay.
What Can Happen if Cavities Are Ignored?
Ignoring cavities in a young child’s mouth can damage the permanent teeth that are waiting to emerge. Even if your child is years away from his or her permanent teeth erupting damage can still be done. In some cases, cavities can lead to infection. Your child’s mouth could become infected or in the worst case scenario they could develop a brain infection. Brain infections can lead to brain damage and even death.
When it comes to cavities and small children it is always best to err on the side of caution. If finances are a concern for you, ask your dentist in Columbus, Ohio, if they offer payment options. You might also want to consider having the cavity filled with silver fillings. Although silver fillings are not as popular these days, they cost less than tooth-colored fillings and your child will eventually lose them anyway.