Caring for a child’s oral health is not easy. Parents can have a million questions about the best ways to protect their little ones’ smiles. And they can have just as many questions about how to treat various dental issues that their children develop.
For instance, if your child has a cavity in one of their primary teeth, you might wonder if a dental filling is truly necessary. After all, the tooth is going to fall out anyway, right? Here’s the definite answer:
Fillings Can Be Absolutely Necessary for Baby Teeth
A filling involves using a special dental resin to restore a tooth that’s been treated for a cavity. Once the cavity is removed, meaning the dentist removes the bacteria, a hole is left. This hole is permanent because tooth enamel doesn't grow back as other tissues do.
Dental fillings will fill the hole and restore the baby tooth to its full strength and function. The child will be able to eat as normal and continue developing a bright and beautiful smile. They also help prevent the need for pulling out the baby tooth, which is generally not considered a good idea.
Premature Baby Tooth Loss: Why It’s a Problem
Getting a filling can be a scary situation even for adults, so it’s natural to wonder if there’s any way to avoid it, such as through a baby tooth extraction. Baby teeth should remain exactly where they are until they are ready to fall out on their own. When a child’s first baby tooth starts to wiggle, it means the permanent tooth is erupting and dissolving the primary tooth’s root.
Baby teeth keep the space open for the adult ones to grow correctly. When a baby's tooth falls out, the other teeth shift to compensate for the extra space and try to close the gap. Premature baby tooth loss can lead to alignment or even bite issues that will need orthodontic treatment to correct.
If the child does lose a baby tooth prematurely, their pediatric dentist may recommend a space maintainer to keep the space open until the adult tooth is ready to erupt.
How to Prevent Cavities in Children
Good oral hygiene habits and dental cleanings are the best defense against cavities and other dental problems.
Some tips for parents can include:
- Brush the child’s teeth at least twice a day, and floss daily.
- Be a good role model when it comes to oral care and going to the dentist.
- Teach the child to brush their teeth early on.
- Reduce snacking, especially on sugary treats.
- Add more fresh fruits and vegetables to their diet.
Does Your Child Need a Filling?
If your child is complaining of a toothache and might need a filling, our Marshfield pediatric dentists are here to help. Schedule an appointment at Marshfield Pediatric Dentistry online or call us at (781) 205-1124.