While you may see the logic of having a permanent tooth filled if it starts to show signs of decay, you may not be so keen if your dentist wants to fill one of your child's baby teeth. This may seem a step too far on a tooth that is, after all, just temporary and will eventually fall out. Why is your family dentist advising a filling and what happens if you don't want the treatment?
Tooth Age and Stage of Decay
Dentists may opt to leave cavities alone on baby teeth that show signs that they are going to fall out soon. So if your child's tooth is wobbly, your dentist may decide that a filling isn't needed. However, if your child's tooth isn't close to coming out, your dentist may advise treating any signs of decay as soon as they are spotted. After all, baby teeth can last for years and it is better to treat decay early rather than leave it to develop into a bigger problem.
The amount of decay on your child's tooth may also play a part in whether your dentist fills the tooth or not. If there is a very small amount of decay, your dentist may advise a watching brief or the application of fluoride varnishes to try to prevent the decay from spreading. If the tooth has a significant amount of decay or a large hole, your dentist is more likely to want to fill the tooth to fix it.
How the Tooth Affects Your Child
While your child may not notice the start of decay on a tooth, they may notice more advanced stages of decay. Your dentist is not likely to want to leave a tooth untreated if your child is in pain or has started to notice that the tooth is more sensitive. Pain will make your child miserable and increased sensitivity may affect the way they eat.
What Happens If You Don't Want a Filling?
Good dentists don't fill children's teeth for no reason and it is important to listen to the reasons why your dentist wants to give your child a filling. If decay spreads, your child may experience toothache, abscesses and even damage to other teeth near the decayed tooth.
In some cases, leaving a tooth unfilled may make the treatment your child ultimately has more stressful for them. Fixing early decay is typically a simple process that may only require a numbing gel rather than a numbing injection. Fixing advanced decay could be more of an invasive and stressful experience for your child, especially if the tooth ultimately needs to be taken out early.
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