There is a common misconception that cavities in baby teeth don’t need to be filled because the teeth are going to fall out anyway. The fact is, there are many reasons why it’s important to treat your child’s decaying teeth now rather than wait for permanent ones to come up.
First let’s remember what the primary function of our teeth is – that is, to chew our food. Having an incisor or molar decaying will cause the erosion of proper eating habits. Proper chewing habits early will stay with a child through their life and as we all know, it can be difficult to break bad habits. So it’s a good idea to keep baby teeth as healthy as possible.
Baby teeth are just placeholders for the much bigger, permanent teeth. If these placeholders become damaged or fall out too early that can impact the future teeth coming in afterward. This can cause spacing issues and lead to the permanent teeth shifting. That could mean braces in the future. So saving a little bit of money now on fillings might come back tenfold in their teen years when the orthodontist calls.
One little known function of our teeth is the role they play in speech. For all languages the position of the tongue against the teeth forms how we speak. When children are learning to talk and picking up on dialects, their teeth help them form their early words. Having holes in their teeth can restrict their ability to do that.
The most important reason to get your child’s cavity filled is the dangers of the cavity getting worse. An untreated tooth can lead to abscess or infection. While your child may say it doesn’t hurt now, once it becomes infected the pain and associated problems with that will have a serious impact on your child.
So yes, if the tooth is about to fall out it may not matter to have it filled, but if a baby tooth still has several months of usefulness left, getting it properly treated is a must.