When it comes to raising healthy kids, dental cavities are the most prevalent childhood disease. The best way to treat tooth decay in kids is to prevent it with good oral hygiene habits, balanced nutrition, routine checkups, fluoride applications, and preventative dental cleanings (in Vista.)
Unfortunately, a lot of well-meaning parents may not see a need to treat tooth decay in kids. Why? Because primary (baby) teeth naturally fall out over time.
If they’re going to fall out anyway, why do kids dental cavities even matter?
#1 Baby Teeth Act as Placeholders
Let’s say for a moment that a baby tooth falls out prematurely or needs to be extracted because of a painful, aggressive cavity. No big deal, right? After all, a grown-up tooth will one day replace it.
Sadly, it’s not that simple. That baby tooth was a placeholder and guide to the developing tooth underneath it. Much like books on a bookshelf, taking one-off impacts the position of the ones on either side. Premature tooth loss can allow adjacent teeth to tilt into the space, blocking off the adult tooth below it.
What’s the result? Moderate to severe orthodontic complications a few years later. There could even be orofacial structural changes and speech delays. That’s not counting your child’s self-confidence when they look in the mirror or smile for a photograph.
By treating a small cavity today, you’re preserving a baby tooth for its intended lifespan. In turn, you’re also avoiding the need for avoidable orthodontic therapy later on down the road.
#2 Cavities in Baby Teeth Can Spread to Adult Ones
There’s a reason why pediatric dentist near you act quickly to treat tooth decay in kids. Cavities progressively spread. They can “eat” their way deeper into the tooth and nerve tissue as well as “jump” to the neighboring teeth on either side (which is one reason why flossing is so important.)
Depending on the extent of the cavity, the bacterial infection might even travel through the nerve of the tooth into the developing adult tooth underneath. Once that happens, you have cavities in multiple teeth as opposed to just one of them; a situation that could have been completely avoided with an early dental filling.
#3 Untreated Tooth Decay Can Be Life-Threatening
Most kids dental cavities can be routinely treated with a modest dental filling. If the decay spreads and progresses into an abscess, a pulpotomy or “baby root canal” is the only way to remove the source of infection. Unfortunately, untreated abscessed teeth in children can lead to facial infections and bacterial spread into the brain. While these situations are not everyday occurrences, they are all too common and require hospitalization. In rare circumstances, it may even lead to the loss of life.
Cavities and abscessed teeth cannot be treated with an antibiotic. These bacterial infections will only worsen as time goes by unless interceptive care takes place. A simple mistake of assuming the tooth will “just fall out naturally” could leave long-lasting damage.
Your Child Deserves the Best
Today, cavities in children’s teeth can be screened for and intercepted earlier than ever. A small, minimally invasive filling can save your child from painful toothaches, dental emergencies, and permanent damage to their future adult smile. With early care and routine checkups, it’s possible to take childhood’s most common disease and prevent it unlike ever before. That’s something that earlier generations never had access to! Preventative dental care – especially for children – is key to a lifetime of healthy smiles. But parents have to act early before the symptoms of discomfort or visible holes in your child’s teeth are evident.
Is it Time for a Checkup?
Plan your child’s preventative dental cleanings in Vista with Dr. Houri every six months. Since kids dental cavities spread rapidly, early intervention is crucial.
For COVID-safe, gentle kids cavity treatment in Vista, contact us today.