Parents are usually shocked when they’re told that their children’s baby teeth need fillings. They often assume that baby teeth won’t need fillings because they’re destined to fall off, anyway. However, just because a baby tooth is destined to fall off doesn’t make it useless. There are several reasons to ensure a baby tooth’s well-being, and failure to do so can affect your child’s long-term dental health.
Nova Children’s Dentistry uses cutting-edge techniques to provide the safest tooth-colored dental fillings to treat cavities. We use composite resin and other tooth-colored materials to ensure the fillings remain virtually indistinguishable from actual teeth. Please schedule an appointment at our offices in Ashburn and South Riding, VA, to determine if your child needs fillings.
What are fillings?
Fillings are dental components that seal a small hole or crack in the tooth. They can also seal cracks caused by injuries, but they’re usually used to seal cavities caused by bacterial decay. Fillings restore the affected tooth’s health and prevent the bacteria-induced infection from spreading deeper into the tooth. If left untreated, the infection would spread into the root canal, necessitating a more complex root canal treatment or even an extraction.
What are the types of fillings?
- Metal Fillings: Silver-amalgam and cast-gold are the most effective metallic fillings. They’re extremely durable, but they’re also highly visible, making it obvious that the child has fillings.
- Tooth-Colored Fillings: Composite resin, porcelain, and glass ionomer are the most effective materials for tooth-colored fillings. These materials aren’t as strong and durable as metal fillings. But they can be designed to resemble the exact shade of the surrounding teeth, making them virtually invisible.
Why do cavities have to be filled?
Cavities, also known as caries, are the most common dental problems amongst children. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) states that 38% of children between 2 and 11 have cavities on baby teeth, and 21% of children between 6 and 11 have cavities on permanent teeth. By the time children reach their teenage years, 58% of them have had cavities.
Cavities are chronic conditions that worsen with time. The bacteria in the mouth interact with traces of the food particles and beverages in your mouth, such as sweets, fruity drinks, etc. They consume the food particles to produce acid, which interacts with other components to form plaque and tartar. The acids and plaque corrode the enamel, leading to cavities.
Initially, the cavity only affects the outer protective layers of the teeth, i.e., the enamel. However, the cavity eventually digs through the enamel and reaches the internal pulp chamber, thereby infecting the entire tooth. At that stage, the only way to control the infection is through a root canal. And if you still don’t seek treatment, the affected tooth eventually has to be removed.
As such, cavities must be filled as soon as possible to avoid further complications.
Do cavities on baby teeth have to be filled?
Even though baby teeth are destined to fall out, you must fill the cavities in baby teeth as well. The baby teeth are placeholders for the permanent teeth. Without baby teeth, your underlying jawbones and surrounding teeth will drift away and cause severe misalignment problems. As such, the permanent teeth will come out crooked and misaligned, leading to orthodontic problems.
As such, cavities on baby teeth must be filled to maintain optimal oral health until the permanent teeth erupt.