Tooth Decay in Children

Primary (baby) teeth are typically brighter and whiter than their future permanent adult replacements. But did you know that the enamel in baby teeth isn’t as strong and resistant to tooth decay?

When a primary tooth develops a cavity, the lesion can spread very quickly. Not only will it go deeper into the tooth all the way to the nerve (causing an abscess), it can also spread to adjacent teeth or into the permanent tooth below.

As a parent, you may be asking our Wyndham dentists if it’s better to pull the baby tooth or have it filled. Since it will eventually wiggle loose anyway, does it hurt to go ahead and take it out?

The answer is: it depends on how much longer your child needs to have that tooth. If it wouldn’t naturally fall out for a couple of more years, then removing a baby tooth because of a cavity can lead to a chain-reaction affecting their smile. For example, the teeth next to it might tilt into the gap, causing the adult tooth underneath to become impacted. The tooth misalignment doesn’t just cause orthodontic concerns, it leads to an imbalanced bite where one side wears down more quickly, leading to broken teeth. Even TMJ disorder can develop.

Usually it’s best for your child to have the cavity intercepted as early as possible, and treated with a small white filling. Composite restorations are minimally invasive and free of mercury, making them safer for teeth. That way the tooth can go on working as it needs to until nature says it’s time to fall out.

If our Wyndham family dentists do need to remove the tooth — because of severe decay — we recommend a temporary space maintainer to help maintain proper tooth alignment until the adult tooth erupts.

Schedule your child’s checkup at Wyndham Dental today!