When a child suffers from severe tooth decay, pediatric dentists are faced with a dilemma of how to treat the teeth that are affected. When restoration is recommended by our dentists, parents often ask, “If they are baby teeth, can you just pull them?” However, restoring baby teeth is important for the following reasons:
- Baby teeth save space for the permanent teeth. If the baby tooth is lost early, the neighboring teeth may drift, causing there to be less space for erupting permanent teeth, leading to space and cosmetic issues down the line—not to mention costly orthodontia needs. The baby tooth acts as a natural space maintainer, and should be restored, rather than pulled, for this reason.
- If left untreated, your child may begin to have pain from the cavity. Pain typically begins with sensitivity to hots and colds, but will later progress into a throbbing, spontaneous pain.
- A decaying baby tooth may have an abscess forming underneath the roots that can't be seen or felt. Because the permanent tooth develops right underneath this infection, a large cavity could cause irreversible harm to the developing permanent tooth underneath.
- Baby teeth function to allow children to speak and eat in their daily lives.
These are all important reasons to see your pediatric dentist and receive treatment for cavities, even if those cavities are in baby teeth.