Baby teeth – why fix them?
You just found out your child has a cavity. Your wondering how your child is going to sit through an appointment. It’s just a baby tooth, and it’s going to fall out eventually, right? Yes, but baby teeth are still important.
Primary teeth (baby teeth) have softer enamel than permanent teeth (adult teeth), so the rate that the decay grows in primary teeth is much quicker!
When decay grows rapidly, and if a cavity is not fixed, it can reach the tooth’s nerve. This is when a toothache can start, and sometimes an abscess forms. An abscessed tooth is an infection in the bone at the root of the tooth. Infection of any form is not good to have in your body. So just another reason baby teeth need to be looked after!
In some cases, if a primary tooth has decay, we can apply a substance to halt a tooth from decaying more. This is called Silver Diamine Fluoride (SDF). SDF stains the decay or soft tooth structure black, so it’s not ideal for all situations, but it’s beneficial to prevent a cavity from growing larger.
Primary teeth hold the space for an adult tooth to eventually erupt. When a child loses a primary tooth prematurely, or it’s removed because of an abscess (infection), the teeth tend to move and shift. When there is a space, it’s natural for teeth to want to move or ‘collapse’ into the open space.
This causes issues because when the adjacent teeth move into that spot or collapse, the adult tooth under that space doesn’t have enough room now to erupt.
That’s why if a primary tooth needs to come out, we’ll recommend a ‘space maintainer.’ (Also known as a tooth ring.) This holds the space for the adult tooth to erupt and to help avoid more invasive orthodontic treatments later on. Sometimes orthodontic treatment is still needed, but it can help eliminate more complications down the road. Baby teeth are just as important to maintain and take care of because they hold the space for adult teeth and pave the way to good oral health.
The verdict – good habits start young! We like to take a preventative approach to avoid any problems or complications. We recommend bringing your child in for a checkup and cleaning every 6 months. That way we can educate, monitor, and prevent!
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