There are many different reasons that your child may develop cavities in his or her primary teeth, such as sucking a bottle filled with milk or juice at bedtime or regularly eating sugary snacks. Regardless of how a cavity forms in a primary tooth, it is important to have it effectively treated as soon as possible. Here are a few reasons why:
The decay in a primary tooth can spread to adjacent teeth.
Dental decay can cause a cavity that forms in a primary tooth to spread to other nearby teeth.
Decay usually begins when bacterial acids erode or weaken tooth enamel. Bacteria in your child's mouth secrete acid as a byproduct of digestion. As a child consumes sugary items or starchy carbohydrates, he or she supplies oral bacteria with food and may be compromising his or her oral health.
The same acid that caused the original cavity may start to decay adjacent teeth.
The cavity may cause irreparable damage to the tooth.
When a cavity first develops, it may be easily filled using dental composite material. A large cavity in your little one's tooth may be filled and capped with a dental crown. However, as the cavity becomes worse, more invasive dental procedures may be needed.
Once the decay moves beyond the enamel of tooth, it may spread more quickly. Although the dentin layer is hard, it is not as hard as the outer enamel layer. In addition, after the enamel and dentin layers are compromised, oral bacteria have access to the interior pulp. Once the bacteria invade the pulp within inner chambers of the compromised tooth, a tooth infection can develop. Your child may require antibiotics to help fight the infection. In addition, a pulpotomy or pulpectomy may be needed to treat the tooth. If the damage to the tooth is too great to be treated by a pulp removal procedure, extraction may be necessary. A primary tooth that is extracted before it should be shed is unable to serve as a place-keeper for the adult teeth that will emerge in the future.
The cavity may spread decay to an underlying tooth.
If your child's cavity is not treated promptly, decay may even spread to the adult teeth that lie beneath the primary teeth in the gums. Your child's permanent teeth could be damaged before they even erupt.
To learn more about the detrimental effects of untreated cavities and to have any existing cavities in your child's mouth treated, schedule a consultation with a family dentist in your area.