If your child has some mild decay in his or her baby teeth, you may wonder if a filling is really a necessary procedure if the tooth will soon fall out. Mild decay doesn't always require fillings if a tooth is about to fall out, but in some cases it's a necessary procedure. Read on to find answers to your questions and see how a pediatric dentist can treat mild decay in primary teeth.
Why Is Mild Decay a Problem in Baby Teeth?
Even mild decay can make eating painful for your child, and he or she may not get necessary nutrients because of it. Baby teeth also provide the necessary space for incoming adult teeth. If mild decay isn't treated, it could get worse and actually spread to incoming adult teeth.
Do Baby Teeth With Mild Decay Need to Be Extracted?
Baby teeth with mild decay usually don't need to be pulled since the decay isn't severe and hasn't affected underlying structures, like the root canal. Like adults, children can get fillings to eliminate the decay. In fact, it's more ideal for a tooth not to be pulled too early so that incoming adult teeth don't cause crowding.
Are Treatments for Mild Decay Painful?
Your child may balk at dental treatments for decay, but these procedures don't always require anesthetic shots or dental drills. Some pediatric dentists use dental lasers instead of dental drills to eliminate the need for shots. Fluoride treatments can also be used to halt decay. They may be all your child needs until the tooth falls out.
Instead of placing a filling, the dentist can also resort to a stainless-steel crown. Once the infected tooth is cleaned and dried, a dentist can place a crown over the tooth. The stainless-steel crown doesn't eliminate the current decay, but it acts like a "pause" button and stops further decay. When the baby tooth is ready to fall out, the stainless-steel crown will fall out as well.
When Is a Filling Usually Recommended?
If your dentist believes the tooth isn't quite loose enough to fall out soon, he or she may recommend a filling. The pediatric dentist can use numbing gels beforehand so that the anesthetic shot isn't as painful for your child. If your child is really anxious, then a dentist could also use nitrous oxide, or laughing gas, which can calm nerves and reduce the sensation of pain.
For more information about your child's dental health, reach out to a pediatric dentist in your area today.