Fillings for Baby Teeth?
Often, when we discover tooth decay in a child’s primary teeth and recommend fillings, we receive similar reactions from parents, “But why, they’re only just baby teeth that will fall out anyway!”
A dentist will launch into their education mode to explain why baby teeth are important enough to fill, so parents can understand why they’re not “only just baby teeth that will fall out anyway!”
Why Primary Teeth Are Important
Your child’s primary (baby) teeth are more important than you might think. They help your child to chew food. They help your child form good speaking habits and pronunciate words correctly. They also serve as placeholders for permanent teeth and as guides for their eruption. And of equal importance, they provide your child with the positive self esteem that comes from having healthy-looking teeth.
So Why Does A Primary Tooth Need to Be Filled?
Primary teeth that become decayed can affect the permanent teeth beneath them. The decay from the baby tooth can spread to the permanent tooth as well.
Some parents question fillings at all and ask us to pull the tooth. As mentioned above, teeth are necessary for chewing as well as for proper speech. Pulling a tooth, instead of filling it, might affect the way you child chews, or if it is a front tooth, pulling it can affect your child’s speech.
The belief that it is always best to save a tooth rather than to pull it. When you pull a primary tooth, the other teeth can shift, closing the space that needs to be maintained for the permanent tooth.
So you can understand why your dentist would want to fill a tooth or restore it, rather than ignore it or pull it.
What if the Decay is Too Extensive?
In some instances, a tooth may be so decayed that we have no choice but to pull it. When this happens, the dentist might recommend the insertion of a space maintainer, to protect the space where the tooth was removed, until the permanent tooth is ready to come in.
Prevention is Key
As with most dental conditions, the key is prevention. Proper hygiene is especially important with your child’s primary teeth because of the role they play while they are in your child’s mouth and because of the effects of untreated tooth decay on your child’s permanent teeth. Make sure that your child brushes and flosses correctly (or help him or her) and that sugary snacks are out of bounds in your house!
Your child’s primary teeth are extremely vital to his or her healthy growth and development. You simply can’t ignore any problems with them just because they will fall out one day.
Call a dentist in your area to discuss any concerns you might have about your child’s teeth and to schedule a pediatric dental examination and cleaning. Dentists care deeply for our youngest patients and caters especially to their needs.