If the dentist has found a cavity in your child's baby tooth, you may be wondering whether or not you need to get it filled. In most cases, you should emphatically fix cavities in baby teeth. However, there is one exception in which you may delay treatment. Here's what you need to know:
1. Decay can spread.
When decay is present in your child's mouth, it can spread, and the decay is not going to discriminate between baby teeth and adult teeth. For example, you may feel like you don't need to repair a tooth because it's simply going to fall out soon, but what if the decay spreads to the six-year molar, a permanent tooth, next to the decayed tooth? That's not ideal.
2. Baby teeth act as space holders for adult teeth.
If the decay in a baby tooth gets too expansive, the tooth may have to be extracted. Unfortunately, that can also have an impact on adult teeth. When adult teeth grow in, they guide themselves along the present baby teeth. If the baby teeth have been extracted, the adult teeth may erupt in the wrong direction, potentially requiring orthodontic treatment at some point.
3. Cavities can cause pain.
Perhaps the biggest reason you should fill cavities in baby teeth is that your child may experience pain if you don't. When enamel has a cavity in it, sugars and foods can reach the nerve of the tooth. That can cause a lot of pain. If you want your child to enjoy life in as pain-free a way as possible, you should definitely take filling cavities and addressing decay in baby teeth seriously.
4. Teeth affect speech development.
To make a number of sounds, people use their teeth, and in particular, the phonemes associated with "n", "l", "d" and "t" are dental consonants, meaning they are formed by touching the tongue to the teeth. If your child loses his or her front teeth due to cavities or decay, he or she won't have the tools to learn how to say these sounds correctly. This can be embarrassing to some kids, and it can lead to mispronunciations for other kids.
5. Dental phobias should be addressed first.
The only reason to delay on filling a cavity is if your child has a severe phobia of the dentist. Pushing someone to do something—which they fear to the extent that they may jump out of the chair and run out of the room—may exacerbate their fears. If you would have to strap your child down to have a cavity filled, don't do that. Instead, delay the treatment for a bit until you find another solution such as putting the child under general anesthesia to have the work done or helping your child work through the fears and then scheduling the appointment.
For more information, contact local professionals like Williams Landing Dental Clinic.