The question is often asked, “Do we really need to fill baby teeth?”
We hear this concern every day. While it’s true that baby teeth come out there are some other considerations that we need to talk about.
Baby teeth serve many functions:
a: Baby teeth help a child to chew food properly. As the first function of the digestive system, baby teeth help the digestive system to stay healthy.
b: Baby teeth help a child to develop speech. The front teeth help the child to develop sounds and letters that are critical to communication.
c: Baby teeth save space for adult teeth. They allow a child to grow and save space for the adult teeth to come in. Without the baby teeth biting and chewing problems can develop as the adult teeth come in without enough space.
d: Baby teeth are an important part of aesthetics and the way a child gains self confidence. Missing or decayed baby teeth can lead to opposition that stays with your child for life.
It is a fact that 42% of children aged 2 to 11 years old have had cavities. Sixty percent of children have cavities before they are 5 years old. This is outlined in the info-graphic below along with other facts about baby teeth.
A few more fun facts about fillings and baby teeth:
- Dental cavities if left untreated can cause more cavities. When decay is present in the mouth the germs spread to other teeth, which could turn one cavity into many in a relatively short period of time. Cavities are contagious so fillings stop the decay process, preventing other cavities. (source credit: https://www.nidcr.nih.gov/research/data-statistics/dental-caries/children)
- Dental cavities in your child are the same as the ones you get as an adult. Contrary to popular thought, baby teeth have roots! This means that they can cause pain and swelling. This type of discomfort can be enough to distract from their studies causing them to get lower grades, or even miss school altogether. Fillings are a much cheaper option to missing work and school. (source credit: https://www.cdhp.org/state-of-dental-health/schoolandbeyond)
- Untreated cavities in baby teeth can lead to pain and abscesses. A North Carolina study found that children with poor oral health were 3 times more likely to miss school because of a toothache. An estimated 51 million school hours are lost in the US each year due to dental pain. Fillings are a viable way to make sure that school and work hours aren’t missed. (source credit: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3222359/)
- The worst time for a toothache is on a weekend or holidays when most dental offices are closed. Fillings take these possibilities off the table. Opting for a dental filling makes it less likely that you have that helpless feeling when it comes to your child being in pain.
- Dental fillings stop the progress of decay and allow you to keep the baby tooth. This is important because baby teeth serve as space holders for the unformed adult teeth. Pulling baby teeth before the adult teeth are ready to erupt causes the teeth to shift often resulting in the need for braces which may cost over $6,000! Talk about saving you money!! Filling baby teeth is definitely a cheaper option.
- Finally, taking care of your child’s baby teeth is an important opportunity to teach your children how to take care of their teeth and their dental health. Neglecting to fill baby teeth can be the wrong message to send.
The earlier we treat the decay, the easier it is to prevent the spread of decay and further issues. We want to work with you to keep your child in school, out of pain and learning how to take care of their teeth!
Shout out to our sources of additional dental information for your reading pleasure!