Baby teeth will eventually come out of a child's mouth and be replaced with adult teeth, but the health of a child's baby teeth is very important. When a cavity forms on a baby tooth, a dentist will not simply ignore it. The dentist is likely to talk to you about it and suggest one of the following three options for treating the problem.
Use A Filling
A filling is the best, easiest, and most cost-effective method for fixing decay on a baby tooth, but this option can only be used if the cavity is small. Early detection of cavities is important for this reason; however, there are times when cavities go unnoticed for a long period of time. For example, if a two-year-old gets a cavity and you do not suspect anything like this, you may not take the child to the dentist for another year or two. This gives the decay a year or longer to spread and eat away at the tooth. If this occurs, a filling might not be sufficient for remedying the problem.
Place A Crown On It
A dental crown is often the second method considered for fixing decay on a baby tooth, and this option works well when a cavity has spread over a large part of the child's tooth. A dentist can remove all the decay from the tooth and cover it with a metal or porcelain crown. This crown will stop the tooth from developing any more decay and should be sufficient until the tooth falls out of the child's mouth.
Extract The Tooth
When neither of the first two options is feasible, the only other option is to remove the tooth from the child's mouth. Unfortunately, when this happens, the dentist will usually need to complete a second step afterwards, which involves inserting a device called a space maintainer in the child's mouth.
Space maintainers are designed to hold gaps in place, and this is important to save room for a tooth to come through when it erupts. When the tooth erupts, it may push the space maintainer out of place, or the dentist can simply remove the space maintainer to let the tooth come through all the way.
Baby teeth can get cavities just like permanent, adult teeth, and these types of cavities need to be addressed. If you have questions about your child's teeth, contact a family dentist or a clinic like All About Smiles to find out more information.