My daughter is seven years old. One of her baby teeth has a cavity and her pediatric dentist says it needs filled. I’m struggling with this prognosis. If the tooth is going to eventually fall out, does it really need filled? Or, is the dentist just wanting the money?
If the tooth with the cavity on it happens to be one of your daughter’s eight front teeth, there is no reason to have it filled. However, if the tooth in question is in the back, there are several reasons to fill it, as it could be a few years before the tooth falls out since some baby teeth stay in a child’s mouth until age 12 or more. In fact, there are some adults who still have baby teeth due to no permanent teeth growing in under them. An x-ray is the only way to know this or not. Needless to say, if the tooth with the cavity is a back tooth, she needs to have it filled in order to keep the tooth and hold the space for the adult teeth to come in correctly. Letting things go and not filling the tooth will cause further decay to build up and she will eventually have to have the tooth extracted, which can be a traumatic experience for a child. If the tooth is pulled, a space maintainer will be needed, in order to keep the space for the adult tooth. If the tooth is removed or comes out too soon, and nothing is put in its place, the other teeth takeover the space and will prevent the eruption of the permanent tooth. This would cause a definite need for orthodontics in her future. Another point to consider, if the tooth in question is her last baby tooth, is is likely it is her six-year molar. This is a permanent tooth and would most definitely require a filling.
This post was written by the office of Phoenix pediatric dentist, Dr. Hillary Peck.