“If it’s going to fall out anyway, do we really need to worry about this cavity?” This is one of the most common questions that we hear from parents about baby teeth. Taking a child to the dentist can be stressful for any parent, especially when the visit includes filling a cavity or extracting a tooth. A parent’s instinct is to protect his or her child and to shelter them from any encounters that could potentially be traumatizing, so we completely understand where parents are coming from when they ask, “Is this procedure really necessary for a baby tooth?”
The health of deciduous teeth, or baby teeth, is crucial when it comes to the mouth’s transition from childhood to adulthood. It’s great to bring kids into the office so that they may become comfortable with a dentist examining their teeth and a hygienist cleaning the “sugar bugs” every six months. Regular dental visits allow your dentist to envision how your child’s adult teeth may develop in the future. For example, we may recommend consulting with an orthodontist if she notices significant spacing or crowding of baby teeth, in hopes of preventing the child from needing full braces later in life. Additionally, we are able to take x-rays that will allow us to gather information about the patient’s mouth- including noting if the child is missing any permanent teeth and predicting if they will have wisdom teeth in the future. All of this information allows us to put together a plan for optimum oral health for the patient.
A baby tooth that has decay, or a cavity, can be approached in a few ways. Sometimes, depending on the child’s age, we may be able to wait until the tooth falls out. However, if the tooth in question is one that we expect the child to have for a few more years, we will likely recommend removing the decay and filling the cavity. If the decay is too large for a successful filling to be completed, then we may recommend extracting the tooth. In instances such as this, we often recommend placing a spacer to prevent the child’s remaining teeth from shifting and closing the gap where the baby tooth was removed.
We love talking to children about dentistry because they tend to be very curious about their teeth!
Give us a call at (773) 883-1818 or email us to schedule an appointment.