Baby teeth, also known as “primary teeth” are the first set of teeth we all have. From infancy to young childhood these teeth will puncture through the gum line and eventually be replaced by our second set of teeth known as “adult teeth”. Even though this first set of teeth is relatively temporary, it is still very important that parents help their kids take care of them.
There are actually many causes of dental cavities. A common misconception is that the only cause of a cavity is bad oral care. But even if you brush and floss daily, you can still get a cavity. A cavity is simple dental decay caused when bacteria in the mouth eats away at the tooth. After a certain point this can cause the entire tooth to rot and can damage the gums and the rest of the mouth. A dental filling removes the rotten part of the tooth and fills it in with a synthetic filling of metal, porcelain, or another material. If your child’s primary teeth have unique geometry, weakened enamel or other issues, there can be an increased risk of cavities. This is why dentists will often recommend fluoride toothpaste to strengthen new teeth as well as dental sealants for adult teeth.
If your child has a cavity in their baby teeth, they may still need a filling. However, there are some cases where fillings will not be necessary. Small cavities actually can repair themselves through a process known as remineralization. This is the process by which a tooth repairs itself. This only works if a cavity is caught early during a dental cleaning and the parents/child takes extra care to take care of that tooth. Otherwise, if the tooth is close to falling out, they may not need to have it filled at all.
The important thing to understand about dental decay is that it spreads. This means a baby tooth with a cavity that isn’t loose or scheduled to come out soon could spread that decay to neighboring teeth. If there are adult teeth already coming in or your family dentist is concerned about the decay continuing up to the root of the tooth and possibly causing infection, the cavity may still need to be filled even if the tooth is a baby tooth. While many parents may think it is strange to take such great care of a temporary tooth, it is important to remember that whatever happens to one tooth can spread to other teeth and the gums as well. You should always trust your dentist’s advice on proper oral care and preventative dentistry.
Is your son or daughter in need of a dental cleaning? We would be happy to see them in our office. Our dental team is always excited to meet new patients and help them better take care of their teeth. Send us a message to set up an appointment.