Do You Need to Fill Cavities in Baby Teeth?

If your child has a cavity, you may be tempted to left it untreated. After all, baby teeth eventually fall out to make room for permanent teeth. Before you make this decision though, you need to understand how important it is to treat tooth decay in children. Read on to learn why dentists recommend filling cavities in baby teeth.

Why Do I Need a Filling for a Tooth That’s Going to Fall out?

The biggest issue parents have with child fillings is the fact that the teeth will fall out. Why pay for a filling that will only be around for a few months or years? There are many reasons why we recommend getting a filling or other cavity treatment for baby teeth, including:

  • Preserve placeholders for permanent teeth, reducing the need for braces in the future
  • Maintain proper speech development
  • Improve chewing abilities
  • Minimize teeth shifting
  • Prevent oral pain and further tooth decay
  • Boost a child’s confidence

Baby teeth serve an important function for a child’s overall development. If we can treat the tooth decay and preserve the tooth, it will improve the child’s oral health moving forward. That is why you need to fill cavities in baby teeth, even if they are going to fall out.

Types of Fillings for Baby Teeth

If your child’s tooth develops a cavity, there are different ways to treat it. The most common fillings for baby teeth include:

  • Metal fillings: Typically made from amalgam, metal fillings are the most affordable options for cavities in baby teeth. The issue with metal fillings is that they do not look like natural teeth, and they are particularly noticeable in front teeth. Amalgam fillings are designed to last 10+ years, so they are plenty durable for baby teeth.
  • Composite fillings: Composite fillings might be slightly more expensive than metal fillings, but they look like natural teeth enamel. Your child will not lack any confidence when he or she smiles because the filling blends in with the rest of the smile. Composite fillings are durable and long-lasting, but they require slightly longer to install than metal fillings.
  • Sedative fillings: Sedative fillings are used when a child needs immediate pain relief. They do not require any drilling. Resin and other materials are applied directly to the tooth to fill the decayed areas. This is a good option for children who do not sit well in a dental chair, but they are not right for everyone.

In some instances, your pediatric dentist may recommend a root canal, dental crown, or other oral restoration for a decayed baby tooth. This usually occurs when the decay has extended beyond filling treatment. If the tooth is getting ready to fall out anyway, your dentist may recommend removing it slightly prematurely. During your consultation at Clinton Dental Center, we can recommend the best treatment for your child’s smile.

How to Prevent Cavities in Baby Teeth

The best way to treat a cavity is to prevent it from ever forming. Daily brushing and flossing will significantly reduce your child’s risk of cavities. Teach your child how to properly brush your teeth at an early age, and make it an exciting part of the day. Check out our guide for How to Make Teeth Brushing Fun for Kids.

In addition to daily brushing and flossing, we recommend twice-yearly dental exams for your child with professional teeth cleanings. Maintain a healthy, well-balanced diet with a limited amount of sugary drinks. You could also explore the option of dental sealants, which prevent 80% of cavities in children for two years. We provide these services and other tooth decay prevention options here at Clinton Dental Center. If you’d like a consultation for pediatric dentistry, fillings or tooth decay treatment, please contact us at (586) 949-5363.