No parent wants to hear that their child has a cavity in one of his baby teeth. And they may be surprised that their pediatric dentist in Chattanooga is recommending a filling. After all, if baby teeth are only going to fall out, is a filling really necessary? Our pediatric dental team has some insight.
Cavities are caused by tooth decay which can be brought on by improper brushing or flossing, too many sweets, or even by bottles full of milk at nighttime. They’re also incredibly common in kids. In fact, the American Academy of Pediatric Dentists (AAPD) reports that 60% of American kids will have experienced some level of decay by age five. Just like in adult teeth, if cavities are left untreated, the decay can spread and begin to affect more than just one tooth.
But that’s not all. Cavities don’t only affect the mouth, but they can actually affect the whole body. When a tooth hurts because of a cavity, children may avoid eating because chewing makes the pain worse. This could lead to malnutrition and a host of other whole-body concerns. What’s more is cavities have even been linked to missed time in the classroom and some studies found a correlation between poor dental health and lower grades.
Even though baby teeth are only temporary and stick around for just a few years, they still have an important purpose. Baby teeth not only help your child chew and eat foods that allow their little bodies grow, they also hold the place for the soon-to-come permanent adult teeth. As we age, our adult teeth are growing under the gums, and our baby teeth are reserving a space when it’s time for them to erupt. When baby teeth are lost too early the permanent teeth can shift out of their original position causing overcrowding or crookedness.
Our pediatric dental office in Chattanooga would encourage any of our patients to properly treat a cavity as early as possible to avoid any other potential problems now or in the future. The treatment is routine and done quickly and easily. We also have experience and training to help keep our patients calm and relaxed during the entire process.
The best way to avoid the need for a filling is to work to prevent cavities in the first place. You can help by:
So while baby teeth will eventually fall out, it’s important to care for them and keep them in their place until they’re good and ready to come out naturally. But if you happen to suspect a cavity or your child is complaining of tooth pain, give your Chattanooga pediatric dentist a call to schedule an appointment as soon as you can.