What Parents Need to Know About Tooth Decay in Children

When a child has a cavity in one of their teeth, it can lead parents to ask, “Is it best to pull the tooth? After all, they’ll be losing this tooth eventually anyway.”

As simple of a question as it is, there is a long and complex reason for why dentists recommend filling cavities in children’s teeth as early as possible. To understand why, it’s essential to grasp the following concepts:


Baby (Primary) Teeth Decay Rapidly

A small cavity in a baby tooth can expand at a rapid pace, usually much faster than what we would see in an adult tooth. This is because the enamel is less dense, making the tooth weaker overall (which is one property that makes it possible for baby teeth to shrink away once it’s time for the adult tooth to come in.) As such, delaying a filling even a few months could result in loss of the entire tooth and infection in the adult tooth near it.


Primary Teeth Guide Adult Tooth Placement

Pulling a tooth prematurely can cause a change in biting patterns and tooth placement. In fact, it could cause adult teeth underneath to become impacted or erupt out of alignment. Preserving the tooth is a smart investment in your child’s adult smile.


Abscessed Teeth Can Result in Dangerous Circumstances

When decay isn’t treated, it typically leads to an abscessed tooth. For children, dental abscesses can cause facial swelling and in rare situations, infection that spreads into the brain. Although not as common, these deadly emergencies are preventable with routine dental care.


While these are just a few examples, they don’t include other concerns like changes in speech patterns or difficulty eating. If you suspect that your child has a cavity, contact Centre for Dentistry today to schedule an exam in Brighton or Ferntree Gully.