Your child’s first primary tooth starts developing at about six months of age. The rest follow suit every two months until your baby reaches two and a half years old. Your child will start to lose primary teeth at about six years.
Since primary teeth don’t last very long, do you need to fix cavities in baby teeth? Protect your child’s oral health by fixing cavities as soon as they form. Neglecting oral health can open a Pandora’s box of dental issues for children.
Facts About Childhood Cavities
Parents often overlook cavities in their children’s primary teeth because they know that they will fall out in a few years anyway. But, when cavities occur, pain can soon result if infection takes hold after the enamel loss.
What happens if you don’t fix cavities in baby teeth? If a dentist doesn’t fill childhood cavities, the child may experience:
- Toothaches resulting from infection
- Hampered speech development and underdeveloped social skills
- Missed school days due to multiple dentist visits
- Gum disease and other infections
- Disturbed eating habits
How Do I Spot the Early Signs of a Cavity for My Child
It may prove difficult to identify the early signs of a cavity in children’s teeth, even for a trained professional. Symptoms of a cavity may remain hidden despite your child’s fussy complaints and overreactions to certain foods.
Ascertain the right time to get fillings in baby teeth by looking for:
- Sensitivity to hot, cold, or hard food
- Spontaneous mild or sharp toothaches
- Discolorations of a white, yellow, or brownish tint
- Pain while chewing
- Excessive plaque buildup on your child’s teeth
We recommend scheduling an appointment with a pediatric dentist every six months to ensure that a cavity has not gone unnoticed.
Problems Resulting from Untreated Cavities
Cavities in baby teeth may seem harmless because the teeth will fall out anyway. However, untreated cavities in baby teeth lead to developmental issues in addition to oral health problems. Leaving a cavity alone can create long-lasting social and psychological effects for your child.
Do you need to fix cavities in baby teeth? The reasons highlighted below explain why you need to visit the dentist at the earliest sign of a baby cavity.
Untreated Cavities in Baby Teeth Can Damage Permanent Teeth
Very few people anticipate the premature loss of teeth. Yet, untreated cavities often cause primary teeth to fall out before the normal time. As a result, the surrounding teeth begin to shift into the gap, causing overcrowding and alignment problems once the permanent teeth erupt.
Another potential danger lies in the spread of decay from the baby tooth to the permanent tooth before it even erupts.
Cavities May Alter Speech Patterns
A painful cavity may hinder your child’s speech development process by thwarting your child’s attempts to create a smooth flow of various sounds. If the cavity leads to tooth loss, it may prevent your child from articulating new words. Thus, your child may experience a dip in communication skills and begin suffering from low self-esteem.
Cavities Can Affect Eating Habits
Your child’s appetite may drop due to temperature sensitivity and generalized pain while chewing food. A painful cavity could gradually decrease your child’s nutritional intake because some healthy foods prove hard to chew. As a result, your child may begin to avoid certain foods. Finally, baby cavities may interfere with your child’s chewing pattern as well.
Untreated Decay Spreads
Bacteria thrive in the hotspots created by untreated baby cavities. Any neglected infection will only spread and deepen the decay. Your child may face a higher risk of the infection entering the surrounding tissue if you do not visit the dentist regularly.
Untreated cavities cause symptoms other than chronic pain. Your child might also develop:
- Gum diseases like gingivitis and periodontitis
- Abscesses that allow infection to enter the bloodstream and spread to other areas
Cavities Can Affect Appearance and Self-confidence
Children with poor oral health might experience self-esteem issues. Your child might hold back from talking or smiling due to teeth discoloration or missing teeth, contributing to poor social skills and mental stress.
How to Prevent Tooth Decay and Cavities
As a parent, you bear responsibility for the overall wellbeing of your child. You can begin by educating your child regarding the importance of dental care.
Discover some tips on how you can prevent baby cavities and tooth decay below.
Refrain from giving your child too many sugary beverages. Milk or fresh juice without added sugar serve as ideal substitutes. Replace unhealthy snacks and sweets with nutritious, fresh foods.
Lead by Example
Children love to mimic. You can set an example by practicing daily dental care in front of your children; they will eventually catch on. The American Dental Association recommends monitoring a child’s dental routine until they reach six or seven years of age.
Schedule periodic visits to the dentist once every six months. Experts advise you to clean your child’s teeth using a baby toothbrush with fluoride toothpaste. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, fluoride varnish prevents approximately 33% of baby cavities. It represents a great defense against childhood cavities.
Pediatric Dental Filling Process
Do kids need to fill cavities on baby teeth? Once a cavity develops on your baby’s primary tooth, it requires filling. A filling becomes necessary to prevent further tooth decay and the spread of infection. Your child’s pediatric dentist may opt for tooth color fillings that match the tooth’s natural hue.
Your child might find the process daunting. The filling procedure varies depending on the severity of the cavity. However, you can still prep your child so the process goes off without a hitch.
The filling process involves:
- Injecting local anesthesia
- Disinfecting the area
- Removing decayed matter
- Filling the cavity
Do you need to fix cavities in baby teeth? Filling the cavities is crucial, especially if your child loves sweet treats. Do not wait around for a cavity to become even more infected. Primary teeth may be temporary, but your child’s oral health problems could stretch on for years due to untreated cavities. If you think your child has a cavity, call Children’s Dental FunZone to make an appointment right away.