Kids get cavities. It’s inevitable. But what should you do when your child does get a cavity? Should cavities in baby teeth be filled, or should you wait until the teeth naturally fall out? The short answer is yes, cavities in baby teeth should be filled. We’ll tell you why they should, give you a few tips on how to tell if your child has a cavity, and let you know about a few things you should know.
Why should cavities in baby teeth be filled?
There are two main reasons why kids’ cavities should be fixed: They can progress to cause your child pain, and they can affect their general health. Cavities spread and continue to decay more and more enamel if they aren’t fixed.
Your child may not be in pain from their cavity yet, but cavities grow and continue to decay the surrounding enamel. A cavity that is left for long enough will almost always begin to hurt. Cavities tend to ache and become sensitive to hot and cold foods. They can even cause sharp jaw or mouth pain. The good news is that when you fill the cavity, the pain goes away.
When a cavity continues to decay, it will move down into the root of the tooth and can infect the jaw bone. After the infection has spread to the root, a root canal or extraction is necessary. But if the infection continues to spread, it can affect your child’s health more severely.
Gum health is just as important as tooth health. Inflamed and unhealthy gums can cause major health problems like heart disease. Keep that mouth healthy!
Baby teeth hold the shape of the mouth until adult teeth grow in. They guide the new teeth into place, helping them grow in straight. They play an important role in shaping your child’s adult mouth, and removing them can cause problems down the road.
How can I tell if my child has a cavity?
Sensitive to Hot and Cold Foods
Watch your child’s eating. They might have a cavity if they are reluctant to eat hot or cold foods. Children don’t know what the beginning stages of a cavity feel like yet, so watch out for them eating less or avoiding hot and cold foods. Take your child into the dentist if you notice eating changes or tooth sensitivity.
Sometimes a cavity is developed enough that your child feels actual pain. If they are complaining about pain or aches in their teeth, gums, or mouth, then bring them to the dentist. Kids tooth pain is often a sign of tooth decay. So why should cavities in baby teeth be filled? Because it can get rid of your child’s tooth and mouth pain.
Dark or White Spots on Teeth
Sometimes cavities in baby teeth are visible. They can appear on the surface of your child’s teeth as white, brown, or black spots. If your child has a spot on their tooth that doesn’t go away after they brush, take them to the dentist. Even if they don’t feel pain, it could be tooth decay.
Are fillings the only option?
Fillings are the most common way to fix cavities in baby teeth, but caps are also commonly used. Age, number of cavities, and the size of the cavity are all taken into account when choosing between fillings and caps.
Your child’s dentist will let you know which treatment they suggest.
A filling is made of composite resin and it is usually tooth-colored. The dentist will remove the decayed spot and replace it with matching composite filling. They numb the area with a shot before they fill the cavity, so the entire procedure is virtually pain-free.
Your dentist will likely use a filling if the cavity is minor. Should cavities in baby teeth be filled, any mouth pain and tooth sensitivity will go away.
Sometimes a cap or crown is the best option. Caps are necessary when there is significant decay or multiple cavities on the same tooth. A broken or cracked baby tooth is often repaired with a cap. Dentists usually cap decaying teeth on young children to prevent the spread of decay and to ensure the tooth will remain healthy until it naturally falls out.
Your dentist will use either a stainless steel or a porcelain cap to cover your child’s tooth. Stainless steel caps are silver colored and used on back molars, while porcelain caps are white and slightly less durable than stainless steel caps.
Can kids take laughing gas?
Laughing gas, or nitrous oxide, is completely safe for children. If your child is nervous about going to the dentist or has a hard time sitting still, then ask your pediatric dentist about laughing gas. Look for a pediatric dentist who offers sedation dentistry if your children have dental anxiety.
Nitrous oxide will make your child tired and calm but it won’t make them fall asleep. They’ll still be awake during the procedure.
Should cavities in baby teeth be filled? Yes! We always recommend taking your children to a pediatric dentist. Talk to your dentist about what they suggest for your child’s cavity, and if you’re in the Las Vegas area, contact us for an appointment.