Your child’s teeth are subject to decay just like yours. Still, many people don’t feel that a pediatric cavity is important because a primary tooth is eventually lost during the natural shedding process. However, a decayed baby tooth can have a significant impact on a child’s oral health.

If your child displays signs of a cavity, such as dental discoloration, discomfort, or pits in the tooth material, you should not delay treatment. Here are a few reasons to have a pediatric cavity treated as soon as possible. 

Avoid Misaligned Teeth

As a cavity progresses, a large portion of the tooth material may be lost. If too little of the tooth is available for a restorative treatment, the tooth will probably need to be extracted.

Each primary tooth acts as a placeholder for the permanent tooth that will eventually replace it. When the baby tooth is lost before it is naturally shed, the underlying adult tooth is likely to remain beneath the gums until its natural time of shedding arrives. Thus, a lengthy period may pass before the permanent tooth actually erupts.

During this period, the gap left by the missing primary tooth remains unfilled, giving the child’s other teeth enough time and space to shift out of their normal positions. This unwanted dental movement can cause a dental misalignment that will eventually require an orthodontic correction. Your child’s straight teeth could become crooked and crowded because of the early tooth loss.

Prevent the Spread of Decay

Your child’s teeth start to decay as they are exposed to acids produced by the bacteria in the mouth. The microbes feed on simple sugars from the carbohydrates in your youngster’s food and beverages and release acids as waste products from their digestive process.

The decay occurs as the acids demineralize the tooth material. Once decay starts, it can spread to nearby teeth, including your child’s underlying permanent teeth. Thus, the adult teeth can begin to decay before they even erupt.

Avoid Relentless Pain

As a parent, more than likely, you hate to see your little one in pain. As a cavity deepens, it breaches the dentin layer, which lies just underneath the tooth enamel.

The dentin includes sensitive nerve endings that may be increasingly inflamed as they are exposed to temperature and pressure changes because of the hole in the tooth. As your child eats hot or cold food or beverages, they may feel discomfort. Additionally, they may find it painful to simply chew.

The decay may move to the pulp, which is the innermost layer of the tooth. The pulp includes the blood supply and nerves of the tooth.

As the pulp is breached, it may become infected, further inflaming the nerves. This inflammation can cause such intense, relentless discomfort that the child is unable to sleep at night. The youngster may also develop an abscess on the gums near the decayed tooth. In addition, the child may experience facial swelling and increased body temperature.

Avoid an Invasive Treatment

The early treatment of a pediatric cavity can help prevent the decay from spreading. A small cavity may be treated with a simple filling. However, as the cavity grows, it may require more extensive treatments. A larger filling may be needed, and the tooth may need to be covered by a dental crown.

If the tooth becomes infected, it may require a pulpectomy. During the procedure, the dentist drills a hole in the tooth and extracts the infected pulp. The empty tooth is disinfected and filled before it is subsequently capped with a dental crown.

If your child is experiencing symptoms of decay, contact Snodgrass-King to schedule an appointment.