Tooth decay in baby teeth

Does Tooth Decay in Baby Teeth Affect Permanent Teeth?

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  • Cavities that are left untreated for a long time not only compromise the health of primary dentition but can also lead to infection that can affect the underlying permanent teeth.
  • Decays in baby teeth should be diagnosed, treated and then maintained by good oral hygiene practice, dietary guidance and six-monthly regular appointments with the dentist.

Cavities (also called dental caries or tooth decay) in primary teeth (baby teeth or milk teeth) are not the single governing factor leading to compromised health of permanent teeth.

Cavities are caused by multiple reasons; poor oral hygiene and diet being the most common ones.

Cavities that are left untreated for a long time not only compromise the health of primary dentition but can also lead to infection that can affect the underlying permanent teeth.

Small cavities need small fillings, big cavities need big fillings. Cavities close to nerve of the baby tooth should be evaluated for half or complete root canal treatments. The whole point of these treatments is to arrest the progressing decay, restore baby tooth and maintain infection free environment for the permanent teeth to develop.

SEE ALSO: Why Does My Child Have Cavities Despite Regular Brushing?

Where there is lack of treatment of decayed primary teeth, bacteria continue to progress deeper into and through the root canals into the underlying bone. This may cause acidic environment around the developing permanent tooth, the response to which is related to the age of the child and status of development of the erupting permanent tooth.

Also, the bacterial content of a mouth full of cavities is very high. When the new permanent teeth start to erupt by the age of 6 years, these existing bacteria invade them leading to cavities in young erupting permanent teeth.

Decays in baby teeth should be diagnosed, treated and then maintained by good oral hygiene practice, dietary guidance and six-monthly regular appointments with the dentist.

Treated and maintained dental health of once affected primary dentition can certainly lay a strong foundation for upcoming permanent teeth.

Thus, cavities in baby teeth need not necessarily lead to cavities in permanent teeth if necessary, treatments, routines and prevention method are diligently being followed.

Dr. Imneet Madan
Laser Specialist Pediatric Dentist
Visiting Faculty, AALZ, RWTH Aachen University (Germany)
Neurolinguistic Programming Coach
Six Sigma Green Belt
MSc Lasers Dentistry (Germany)
Masters in Pediatric Dentistry
MBA (Hospital Management)
Bachelor of Dental Surgery
Children's Dental Center, Dubai
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