“If a cavity is found in a child’s baby teeth, what is the point of filling it? It’s just going to fall out in a couple of years anyway!”
This is a very common misconception that adults have toward their child’s baby teeth.
Baby teeth, properly known as primary teeth, are not expendable the way they may seem to be. Any type of issue regarding a child’s primary teeth should be taken just as seriously as with an adult’s teeth.
Primary teeth certainly are tiny and cute, but they also serve an important function: they “save a spot” for the future permanent teeth that will begin making their arrival around age eight. If a primary tooth suffers decay, it is highly important that the cavity is filled to prevent further spread of the decay. For if the tooth decays to the point that it is not salvageable, removing it can pose a serious threat to the proper eruption and placement of the future permanent teeth.
When a primary tooth is removed before the permanent tooth is ready to erupt, a gap is left. The adjacent primary teeth can drift into the gap that was left behind. This can cause some serious trouble for the permanent teeth’s ability to properly align once they begin coming in.
In the case of a necessary removal of a primary tooth, a spacer is commonly recommended in order to help combat the issues of future crowding and misalignment. A spacer fits into the gap left behind by the removed tooth and prevents the drifting in of adjacent teeth. Once the permanent teeth begin coming in, the spacer is removed.
Primary teeth also serve other important functions, such as allowing for proper chewing and speech. When primary teeth are left to decay, the resulting pain can cause a child to “favor” that side of the mouth and begin to chew improperly. Losing a primary tooth at a very early age can also have a negative impact on beginning speech patterns.
Here at Montgomery Dentistry, we care about every aspect of your child’s dental health. A pain-free and well-maintained set of teeth will ensure that your child is confident and able to happily develop. Please give us a call if you have any questions or concerns regarding your children’s teeth or if you would like to schedule and appointment.
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