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Direct Dental Plans of America, Inc.

Direct Dental Plans of America

Do Cavities in Baby Teeth Have to be Filled?

While it's true that baby teeth are not permanent and are only in a child's mouth for a limited amount of time, they are important and necessary. Baby teeth should always be properly cleaned and cared for. Ignoring baby teeth by not brushing, flossing or visiting the dentist for a regular dental check-up is not advisable. Baby teeth are susceptible to cavities, and if a cavity develops, it should be properly treated by a dentist.

When a baby tooth shows signs of decay, the best course of action is to have the tooth evaluated by a dentist as soon as possible. As with adult teeth, a cavity in a baby tooth can grow larger if left untreated. In many cases, a small cavity in a baby tooth can be filled with a white filling material that is not noticeable to others. If a cavity in a baby tooth is not treated in a timely manner, the tooth might eventually need a crown. In more rare circumstances, a baby tooth with severe decay might require a root canal or extraction.

Should a Baby Tooth With a Cavity be Pulled Out?
If your child's baby tooth has a cavity, it is possible that your dentist might recommend that the tooth be taken out. This is not an uncommon recommendation when the tooth is quite loose and on the verge of falling out anyway. However, there are several reasons that a dentist might advise against extracting a baby tooth that has a cavity, including the following:

  • Baby teeth are necessary for chewing.
  • Baby teeth are needed to help the child pronounce words.
  • Baby teeth hold space for the permanent teeth that will eventually grow into place.

Cavities in Baby Teeth Should Not be Ignored  
When a cavity develops in a baby tooth, the cavity can cause various other problems to develop. First, the cavity can be painful to the child. Second, the cavity can progress and cause additional issues such as an infection in the root of the tooth. Third, when left untreated a cavity might negatively affect the underlying permanent tooth. Because some baby teeth are in a child's mouth for 10 or 12 years before falling out, a baby tooth with a cavity is just as essential to treat as an adult tooth with a cavity.

Your Child Should Visit a Dentist for Regular Check-Ups
Your child should visit a dentist every six months for a professional dental examination. During the appointment, the dentist should check for any signs of tooth decay. If a cavity is discovered, your dentist should be able to offer an appropriate course of action. If your dentist believes that the cavity should be filled, it's important to take his or her advice seriously. The health of your child's baby teeth is important!

If you are concerned about the cost of a regular dental appointment, and you do not have dental insurance, a membership in an affordable discount dental program can help significantly lower the cost of a regular dental appointment. If a cavity is discovered in your child's baby teeth, a membership in a discount dental plan can also help lower the cost of the filling. When it comes to your child's teeth, it's essential that the teeth are well cared for so that your child can benefit from healthy teeth for an entire lifetime. 

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