If your child's baby tooth has a cavity, you may wonder what your next move should be. You may wonder if you need to treat the cavity since baby teeth eventually fall out anyway. Here are a few things you need to know about treating cavities in baby teeth.
Cavities in Baby Teeth Do Need to Be Treated
It is important to treat cavities in baby teeth, usually by filling them. This is the case even if the cavity is initially free of pain. When left untreated, the infection in your child's tooth will eventually spread throughout the mouth, causing your child to experience cavity-related discomfort. It is also important to maintain the structural integrity of baby teeth since these teeth serve as placeholders until your child's adult teeth come in.
If you take steps to treat the cavity when it is small, the procedure is usually a relatively simple, in-office procedure. However, if you wait until the cavity has a chance to grow and spread to the nerves of the mouth, your child may need a more extensive procedure, such as a root canal.
You Have Options When It Comes to Filling the Cavity
When it is time to fill the cavity, talk to your dentist to determine if your child needs to undergo sedation dentistry for the procedure or if local anesthesia will be sufficient. Do not feel as if you have to automatically opt for general anesthesia; instead, talk to your dentist about things you can do to make local anesthesia an option. Due to the cost and risks associated with complete sedation, it is a smart idea to explore other options.
For example, if you are concerned that your child will not be able to sit still for the length of time that is required to fill the cavity, you can see if the dentist office gives young children the ability to play a video game or watch a movie during the procedure. Both of these activities can help get your child's mind off the dental work that is taking place.
You can also ask your dentist if the use of nitrous oxide (laughing gas) is a viable alternative to complete sedation for your child. Nitrous oxide is low risk; your dentist will administer the nitrous oxide during a mask before and during the procedure. Afterwards, oxygen flows through the mask to clear any remaining traces of the nitrous oxide. The nitrous oxide also promotes relaxation, making it easier for your child to remain still during the procedure.
Contact a local pediatric dentist for more information and assistance.