No parent - or child - wants to hear that they have a cavity. Whether it was discovered during a routine cleaning or because of symptoms, the first question that dentists hear is:
Do we really need to get the cavity filled or should we just wait until it falls out?
As dentists, we understand why you are asking. Nobody wants their child to go through the dental procedure if they don’t have to. And, who wants to pay for a filling that is inevitably going to fall out? Unfortunately, the answer is not so easy.
Factors to Consider
Dentists will consider a few factors when trying to determine whether a cavity in a baby tooth should be filled.
Factor 1: How Close the Baby Tooth is to Falling Out
If a tooth is close to falling out, there may not be any need to move forward with a filling. Your dentist will be able to address the situation and determine if the tooth should likely get loose and fall out in the next several months. Through x-rays, the dentist can see how much of the baby root is left, as it begins to dissolve as the adult tooth gets closer.
Factor 2: The Size of the Cavity
There are different steps a dentist may take based on the size of a cavity. If it has reached the inner dentin layer, it can grow at a rapid rate. If this is the case, the baby tooth should be filled. If it is even bigger, a crown may be recommended - or an extraction.
However, if the cavity is tiny or even just a pre-cavity spot, your dentist may recommend that you step up your child’s oral hygiene and come in for more frequent visits to monitor the spot. This may keep you from having to go through with the filling.
Factor 3: Level of Cavity Risk
You don’t want one small cavity to spread bacteria and infection onto other teeth or your child may be dealing with more than one cavity. The pediatric dentist will review the situation and be able to determine if this cavity could pose a risk to other teeth. If so, a filling may be recommended.
Each of these factors is important in determining the next step to protecting your child’s oral health. They are all taken into consideration when developing the treatment plan that may involve a filling, an extraction, or nothing at all.
The Importance of Addressing Cavities
It is important to address cavities. Maybe your dentist will suggest filling it or maybe not. But if your child has a cavity - or has the symptoms of a cavity - then you must seek the attention of a pediatric dentist and let the professional determine the best course of action. Otherwise, you may find that other issues may arise.
Below are a few things that can possibly happen if baby teeth are damaged by unaddressed cavities:
- Nutrition and health can be negatively impacted if it hurts to eat.
- Adult teeth may not grow in appropriately.
- Severe tooth pain may occur if not treated.
- May lead to overbites or other issues with bite alignment.
- Can negatively impact self-confidence.
- May lead to infections and spread to other teeth throughout the mouth.
Get Cavities Assessed at Dental Buddies of Vero Beach
The team at Dental Buddies understands that you don’t want your child to undergo any unnecessary dental procedures. But, our goal is to ensure the best overall oral health for each of our patients. If your child has a cavity, we will assess the situation and many different factors to determine the best course of treatment - for now and the future.
Or, request an appointment online!