Do Kids Need To Get Cavities Filled?

Do Kids Need To Get Cavities Filled?

Team Children Pediatric Dentistry

Teeth, including baby teeth, may be strong — but they are still susceptible to bacteria, plaque, and decay. Over time these things can wear down the tooth’s enamel and cause a cavity to form. 

As an adult, you know that this situation would warrant a trip to the dentist and likely a filling. But is the protocol the same for a baby tooth? What happens if you don’t fix a cavity in a baby tooth? Knowing what to do can set your child up for oral health success. 

Signs of a Cavity

According to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentists, more than half of kids will experience tooth decay by the age of 5 years. As a parent, it is so important to know the signs so that you can take action before things get worse, including:  

  • Tooth pain
  • Tooth sensitivity
  • Gum pain and/or bleeding
  • Visible hole in the tooth
  • Dark or white spots on the tooth

Keep in mind that some kids won’t have any symptoms at all. This is why routine dental appointments every six months are crucial. 

Why You Should Get a Kid’s Cavity Filled

In nearly every situation, if your child has a cavity in a baby tooth, the dentist is going to recommend getting it filled. Below are a few reasons why you may want to comply with the recommendation. 

Tooth Decay Can Spread

If your child has a baby tooth that is impacted by tooth decay, it may not be long before it spreads to other teeth. After all, it is a bacterial infection. Once it eats through the enamel, it will continue to spread to surrounding teeth, the gums, and even the jaw bone. 

What’s worse, this infection can eventually make its way into the bloodstream and be carried throughout the body. This can lead to a medical emergency. 

Cavities Can Impact Nutrition

Having an ailing tooth can cause your child to not want to eat. They may realize that certain temperatures of foods or certain textures cause more pain than others and may refuse to eat or drink. 

This can make it tough to get your child to maintain their nutrition level — especially when it comes to younger kids. 

Cavities Can Damage Permanent Teeth

Cavities in baby teeth can impact permanent teeth. If the cavity causes tooth loss, for example, the teeth surrounding it will begin to shift. This can cause major issues when the permanent tooth is ready to erupt. In addition, bites can become misaligned and speech can be disrupted. 

And, yes — tooth decay can spread from a baby tooth to a permanent tooth, too. 

Pediatric Oral Care at OCPD

At Orange County Pediatric Dentistry, we work with kids of all ages to ensure that they have the best foundation for a lifetime of oral health. This means when a cavity shows up, filling it is necessary. It also means that taking steps to prevent them in the first place is key — such as developing a good oral hygiene routine and showing up for those routine dental appointments. 

To learn more about your child’s oral health, contact us today at 845-928-2206. Or, request an appointment online. 

Frequently Asked Questions

How are cavities in baby teeth treated?

If caught early, a cavity in baby teeth can be treated with a dental filling. If left untreated, alternative treatment may be needed. 

Do they sedate kids for a dental filling?

Local anesthetic is used for numbing the area so that no discomfort is felt. However, sedation is available for those kids who need it.