Should Cavities in Baby Teeth Be Filled?

Many times I get asked if it is really necessary to fill the cavities in baby teeth? They tend to think since baby teeth fall out it won’t really matter if the tooth is not filled. Unfortunately this assumption is false.

This will often lead to the neglect of primary teeth and may cause permanent damage. Baby teeth play a vital role in ensuring a long term, healthy smile.

Although baby teeth do fall out eventually, they are very important for many reasons.

4 Reasons Baby Teeth are Important

  1. Baby teeth allow children to form words and learn to speak properly.
  2. They Create a path for permanent teeth to erupt into the correct position.
  3. Baby Teeth that are damaged can result in problems with jaw structure, growth, and occlusion.
  4. Teeth with untreated cavities, can lead to pain and infection, which can affect a child’s overall health and ability to function on a daily basis.

Baby teeth are around for a longer time than you might think. The first baby tooth erupts as early as 6 months of age. Most children have all their baby teeth by the time they reach three years of age.

Permanent teeth begin to erupt around six or seven years old. Your child will probably be twelve or thirteen years old before they get all their permanent teeth. So as you can see “baby teeth” are in the mouth for quite a long time.

Now you may ask “what do cavities look like in my child?

A cavity may take on the appearance of a dark or cloudy spot on the tooth. They may also look chalky white, yellow tinted or as a dark area on the tooth. Also look for white splotches on your child’s gums as this can be an early sign of caries.

Make sure to examine your child’s teeth regularly. If you see any of the above signs, you will want to have your child’s teeth checked by a pediatric dentist.

Dr Christy Jen DDS

Dr. Christy Jen received her undergraduate and dental degree from the University of Washington, and completed her pediatric dental training at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh. She practiced in Michigan and Louisiana while her husband finished his surgery training before finally making Alaska their home.

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