When your child has a cavity in a primary tooth, it may seem futile to fill the cavity. While the tooth is not permanent, it is still important to treat the tooth with restorative dental procedures. Any cavities left in your child's mouth can result in damage to nearby teeth, cause unnecessary pain if there is an abscess, and can cause problems with the permanent tooth below the primary one. 

Untreated Cavities Get Larger

If you leave a small cavity in your child's mouth untreated, this decay is only going to get larger. It could be years before this primary tooth is ready to fall out, and during that time your child is susceptible to pain from hot and cold foods. The tooth with decay will be sensitive, and the decay can spread. Untreated, the decay can spread down into the root of the tooth, causing significant pain for your child. 

Dental Emergencies Can Be Avoided

When you treat cavities immediately, you will avoid the need for most dental emergencies. The pain and suffering your child will endure because of a dental emergency is more traumatic for your child than a routine dental office visit to fill a cavity. While your child may not want a cavity filled, they will be distraught if they need to get emergency dental treatment due to pain.

Untreated Cavities Can Become Infected

Leaving cavities untreated can cause an infection within the tooth itself, which is known as an abscessed tooth. This is a painful condition, and the infection can spread into the jawbone. Bacteria gets into the tooth because of the decay, causing an infection to set in. Treatment for an abscessed tooth includes a course of antibiotics, and possibly extraction. If the infection is bad enough to cause the tooth to be loose, the tooth will be extracted. The infection must be cleared up to avoid problems with the developing tooth underneath.

Children are not always capable of telling you what is wrong, so it's important to know the signs of an abscessed tooth. Signs that your child has an abscessed tooth include:

  • the tooth is darker than the teeth around it.
  • your child complains of pain when chewing.
  • a fever is present, along with facial swelling.
  • there is a pustule in the gums.
  • your child's breath is bad.

With the proper care of primary teeth, you will ensure that the permanent teeth developing below the surface will be strong and healthy. Keep your child's mouth healthy with routine dental visits twice a year. Contact a dental office like Southridge Pediatric Dentistry if you have more questions.