One of the primary causes of tooth decay is the presence of Streptococcus mutans, an oral bacterium often found in the mouth of adults. However, the cavity-causing bacteria can easily be transmitted from a parent to his or her child. One study suggests that the likelihood of your child being infected with a cavity-causing Streptococcus bacterium increases with age. Around 30 percent of three-month-old babies are infected, but more than 80 percent of 24-month-old toddlers host the bacteria. The bacteria are usually inadvertently transmitted to a child by his or her mother, and the risk of cavity development correlates with the age at which the bacteria began colonizing the child's mouth. Once a cavity develops, it needs to be treated. Here are a few reasons to fill a cavity in a primary tooth:
If your child's cavity is not filled, the decay can continue to progress. Eventually, oral bacteria will be able to access the interior of your child's tooth. A serious infection could result. If the infection remains untreated, it can spread to your child's jawbone or even become systemic.
Once decay becomes severe, your child's pediatric dentist may have no treatment options other than extraction. The missing tooth can impair your child's ability to speak or chew properly. In addition, it can increase your child's chance of having misaligned teeth. If the decaying tooth is lost too early, it may not serve as an effective placeholder for adjacent teeth. This can cause your child's teeth to shift improperly.
Decay can sometimes seem contagious. If dental decay in a tooth remains untreated, it can spread to adjacent teeth or even incite gum disease.
In addition, even though your child's permanent teeth still lie beneath the surface. The untreated decay in a primary tooth can spread and cause decay in your child's underlying adult teeth.
Having a toothache can be quite uncomfortable. When your child first develops a cavity in his or her tooth, he or she may experience little discomfort. However, as the decay progresses and the cavity deepens, dental nerves may become inflamed, causing your child serious amounts of pain.
Some people may feel that it is not necessary to have the cavity in a primary tooth filled. After all, the tooth will eventually be replaced by a permanent tooth. However, dental problems stemming from the decaying tooth may develop. If you believe that your child has developed a cavity in primary tooth, schedule an appointment with a dentist, such as Barnstable Dental Associates, today.