Your dentist has recommended dental fillings for your child, and you are confused. You know that fillings are important for permanent teeth, but why are they needed for baby teeth? Saving teeth with fillings provides lots of benefits for children. Find out why fillings are important.
Why Are Dental Fillings Important for Baby Teeth?
When dentists find decay in baby teeth, they often recommend fillings. Fillings preserve the teeth, so extractions are not necessary. Treating the decay and keeping the teeth in place is important for a child’s oral health and development. Learn some of the reasons why dentists recommend fillings.
Chewing and speech
Some parents want dentists to pull baby teeth instead of using dental fillings. However, teeth are needed for chewing and speech. Removing a single tooth can impact a child’s ability to eat and could slow down speech development. When possible, it is wise to save the teeth with fillings.
Decay can spread to permanent teeth
Permanent teeth sit below primary teeth. If a decayed primary tooth is not treated, the decay can spread below the gumline to the permanent tooth. This can harm the tooth’s structure and cause problems when it erupts. When it does erupt, it will already be decayed and the dentist will have to treat it.
Untreated cavities are painful
Ignoring a cavity is never a good idea, even if it is in a baby tooth. Untreated cavities can become quite painful. The tooth can become infected, causing an abscess. The infection can spread to other parts of the body as well, which is quite dangerous. This can lead to a serious illness if not treated.
Avoid shifting teeth
When a tooth is pulled, the teeth shift to fill in the space. The space needs to remain open for the permanent tooth. This can lead to alignment issues when the permanent tooth erupts. Using a dental filling instead of pulling the teeth prevents this problem and makes children less likely to have alignment issues when the permanent teeth erupt. That reduces the risk of orthodontic treatment in the future.
When fillings are not needed
Dentists typically recommend fillings for baby teeth. However, there are some instances when fillings are not necessary. For instance, if the tooth is close to falling out, the dentist typically will not fill it. Also, dentists do not always fill small cavities. It is possible for small cavities to go through the remineralization process. This process repairs the tooth without the need for a filling.
Does Your Child Need a Filling?
Filling a decayed tooth allows your child to eat and speak normally. It also protects the permanent tooth below the gumline and is the key to preventing an abscess. Dental fillings even keep teeth from shifting. However, fillings are not always recommended. If your child has a small cavity or the tooth is about to fall out, the dentist might not fill it. Talk to your dentist to find out if your child needs a filling.