Can Baby Teeth Need Fillings?

September 13, 2023

Filed under: Uncategorized — gepediatric @ 8:52 pm
Smiling baby

A child’s first set of teeth is often thought of as a practice set that gives them a chance to make mistakes before the permanent smile comes in. Since kids are prone to eating too much sugar and often reluctant to brush, they might develop cavities on one or more of their baby teeth. The parents of such a child might ask, “Since the tooth is going to fall out anyway, does our child really need a filling?” Read on to find out about whether baby teeth need fillings along with ways to prevent cavities in young children.

Do Baby Teeth Need Fillings?

When a baby tooth develops a cavity, your family dentist will consider several factors to determine if a filling is necessary:

How big is the cavity?

Most cavities found in children have breached the tooth’s outer layer of enamel and reached the softer dentin layer underneath. At this point, a filling would be adequate.

If the cavity is so big that it affects multiple surfaces of the tooth, it might be recommended that the tooth be fitted with a crown. If it is too big even for that, it might need extraction.

If the tooth only has a pre-cavity spot where the bacteria have yet to breach the enamel, your dentist will probably just recommend improving oral hygiene while keeping it under observation.

How close is the tooth to falling out?

Your dentist can project the time a baby tooth will fall out by using X-rays to see how much of its root is left. If the tooth can be expected to become loose within the coming six to twelve months, your dentist will probably leave the cavity alone and recommend improving oral hygiene.

How likely are more cavities to form?

Cavities are infections that can be passed from one tooth to another. If a tooth is likely to spread its infection to its neighbors, your dentist may recommend eliminating the infection with a filling even if the tooth is likely to come out soon.

How Can Childhood Cavities Be Prevented?

Prevention is the best medicine, and it’s never too early to start learning about oral hygiene. One of the best things you can do to encourage your child to take good care of their teeth is to model excellent habits yourself. Brush and floss with them so they can observe your good hygiene while you supervise theirs. Feed your child healthy foods and explain to them why sugary and acidic items are bad for their teeth.

Getting infants used to floss and toothpaste sets them up to practice good hygiene for themselves later. As soon as teeth start erupting from the gums, brush them with fluoride toothpaste and start flossing as soon as the child has two teeth next to one another. To prevent sugar from building up in the mouth, avoid letting infants sleep with their bottles overnight. Only use their bottles for milk or formula rather than sugary sodas or sports drinks.

Regular dental appointments are just as crucial to a child’s dental health as proper oral hygiene habits. They allow your dentist to catch small oral care concerns before they become full-blown dental disasters while keeping your child on the right track to a lifetime of superb dental health.

About the Practice

Glen Ellyn Pediatric Dentistry provides parents with the peace of mind that comes with excellent children’s dental care in Glen Ellyn, IL. Led by a team of six board-certified dentists, the staff gives your child everything they need for life with a healthy smile. Services include pediatric general, emergency, and restorative dentistry such as dental fillings. If you are concerned that your child might need a dental filling, contact the office online or dial (630) 858-8755.

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