Should Dentists Fill Children’s Primary Teeth?

Young boy brushing teeth

Most parents believe baby teeth inevitably fall out as children get ready for their permanent teeth to grow in. However, the importance of baby teeth should not be overlooked. Baby teeth are extremely important to children for various reasons. Just because our baby teeth eventually fall does not mean they are not important.

Our human bodies are remarkable in the sense that everything we are born with or develop has a function. We need twenty baby teeth and twenty permanent teeth. Baby teeth ideally should fall when permanent teeth are ready to erupt, however this is not always the case. Therefore, dentists should fill children’s baby teeth to prevent dental problems.

Baby Teeth Hold Space for Permanent Teeth

To begin with, prior to permanent teeth growing in, baby teeth hold the space needed for permanent teeth to grow. The main purpose of baby teeth is to save a space for permanent teeth to erupt. If a tooth is not filled, it could cause the other baby teeth to move into the empty space.

When baby teeth are decayed and get removed it can cause problems. This would cause future problems for the permanent teeth. Fillings prevent baby teeth from shifting, thus enabling the proper eruption of permanent teeth. Baby teeth that are lost at an early age pose problems for permanent teeth. It is possible for permanent teeth to not only shift into the wrong position, but permanent teeth could also get blocked.

Fillings Fix Cavities to Prevent Tooth Decay

Moreover, baby teeth that have decay should get fillings. Fillings prevent further spreading of the decay. When a child has a cavity in their baby teeth and the baby teeth are not ready to fall, they should get a filling. A filling will prevent the tooth from having other dental problems.

Otherwise, an untreated cavity will get deeper and bigger. It is less expensive and easier to fix a cavity at an early stage. Untreated cavities that do not get fixed can cause painful pain and result in infections. There are serious consequences to not filling in cavities including toothaches. Cavities can be fixed by filling them at an early stage and saving baby teeth.

Purpose of Baby Teeth

Furthermore, baby teeth are not just there to hold space for permanent teeth. As previously stated, baby teeth are important for several reasons. Baby teeth help children develop speech. Speech is developed normal when children have their baby teeth. Children who are missing baby teeth can develop speech difficulties. Without teeth a child’s speech is impaired. Sounds are not made in the proper form. It is difficult to pronounce words properly and speak when teeth are missing.

Children are then negatively affected when speaking among other children. Lastly, baby teeth allow children to chew their food. Children who do not have their baby teeth filled and have tooth decay, no longer have teeth to chew their food. Just as babies who have not developed their teeth cannot eat whole foods, children with missing teeth cannot eat whole foods. It is best to fill baby teeth than to have them pulled out.

Based in New York, Dr. Nadia Kiderman is an oral health specialist and dentist.

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