We all know that baby teeth fall out eventually as our children grow. For this reason, many parents in Dallas and Richardson, TX, often try to avoid seeking treatment for cavities in baby teeth. Why treat what’s falling out anyway? Well, there are a number of very serious reasons children should receive treatment, even if the problem is located in a baby tooth.
Baby Teeth and Tooth Decay
Just like adults, babies and toddlers can develop cavities. Often, falling asleep for a nap or bedtime with a bottle of milk or a sippy cup of juice leads the teeth coated in sugars, increasing the risk of a cavity forming. When these cavities form, they continue to grow and spread throughout the tooth. Since baby teeth may take months to years to fall out, the cavity could lead to an infection. Children then experience serious pain and a risk of premature tooth loss, a major factor in misalignment in the teen years. If you want to see for yourself what happens when you let a cavity go untreated, simply do a Google image search for “baby bottle tooth decay.” What you’ll find is not only heart breaking, but avoidable.
How do we treat the issue? For some children, we may not even need to place a filling. By applying silver diamine fluoride, we can stop the progression of decay and protect the tooth. If a tooth is nearing the time to fall out, this option is cost-effective and protects the tooth from worsening decay and infection. However, we typically recommend silver diamine fluoride for the side and rear teeth, as the decayed portions will turn black after application.
As for fillings, we can use a metal-free composite resin to treat the cavity in one visit and offer a natural looking restoration. The tooth then looks healthy, bright, and is no longer vulnerable to the worsening conditions of untreated tooth decay.
Preventing Future Cavities
What can we do to avoid cavities in childhood? We have a few ideas, including:
- Also brush their teeth before bed and again in the morning. For babies you can wipe the teeth with a piece of cloth or gauze
- Don’t let them fall asleep with a bottle or cup that contains anything other than water
- Bring them in for an initial visit at age one (once the first baby tooth erupts) and then for regular checkups and cleanings twice a year after
- Reduce consumption of sugary foods and drinks
Does Your Child Need an Exam?
We want to help your little one enjoy optimal oral health. For more information on our approach to children’s dentistry, schedule a consultation by calling the Viva Dental Family Dentistry office nearest you at (214) 337-7800 (Dallas) or (972) 437-6000 (Richardson).