One of the most frequent question we face in our regular practice.. Why to fill the tooth when anyways it is going to fall off at one point!!!! This is one of the valid question which need a responsible answer.
Before going into the main topic, It is very important to understand that…”tooth is a tooth”, irrespective of deciduous or permanent teeth, it has to be treated and restored. You may wonder why!!! And what is the necessary of doing so…but the truth is, every tooth has its own unique function like every organs in the body. On losing those, you may tend to lose its own funtionality along with its supporting structure which end up with a mess in oral cavity.
So now, let us focus on primary teeth ( also called as milk teeth or deciduous teeth)
what will happen if you dont restore the primary teeth???
- Speech impairment or alteration in the phonetic or pronounciation:
Yes, it is a true fact that every position of the tooth(both front and back) plays a vital role in Kids speech ability and it is well known that it is the vital age to learn phonetics. Any missing tooth or an altered position of tooth leads to airflow imbalance causing mislead in phonation.
- Misguidance in the eruption pattern of permanent tooth:
The eruption pathway of permanent teeth are guided by the preceding primary teeth. When there is a premature loss of primary tooth, more chances for the succeeding permanent tooth to loss its path and may erupt either out of the alignment or do not erupt at all( which we call as impacted tooth).
- Spread of infection to the succeeding permanent tooth:
When the primary tooth is left untreated for longer time, there are more chances for pus formation which inturn affects the underlying permanent tooth
- Impairment in the jaw bone growth:
This is a rare scenario, when the child’s oral health is very poor causing premature loss of multiple teeth at the early stage of life, the growth of the supporting structures like gums , soft tissues and bones are affected and showing some sort of retardation later.
Now i hope it will be understood why it is so important to restore the primary tooth.
So how to manage them!!!! Let us have a brief of that.
It is not that easy to protect primary teeth as the primary teeth are more prone for tooth decay when compared to the permanent teeth.
- Have regular follow ups with your child’s dentist
- Hydrate your kid well with adequate water intake. This helps to prevent the PH drop in the oral cavity thereby helping the tooth from caries attack.
- Maintain proper oral hygiene. Always help your kid to brush twice daily and make the habit of rinsing the mouth after every meal.
- Whenever you spot a black or brown discolouration on the tooth, it is an alarming sign to start with the preventive interventions
- Initial preventive methods start with the flouride application. Either by tooth paste or in office application as recommended by your dentist. (* It should not be taken by your own as overdosage of flouride has its own consequences)
- Pit and fissure sealants. These are white coloured sealant material preferred for the initial caries attack which helps to prevent the tooth from further damages
- When the decay is considerably deep, conservative management takes up the role. certain filling materials like silver amalgam( not preferred nowadays by most of the dentist due to the concern of mercury toxicity) , GIC and composites are used
- When the kid elicits pain or sensitivity or mild swelling, it means the decay is on or close to the vital structure called pulp or sometimes the infection have crossed beyond the root (swelling condition). Here comes the next level of management where root canal treatment(pulpectomy) or pulpotomy are considered. Followed by stainless steel crown placement( so as to prevent the tooth from breakage).
- When the tooth is completely gone (grossly decayed), removal of the tooth followed by placement of space maintainer is recommended. This will help to retain the space for the permanent tooth to erupt.
Likewise the milk teeth are prevented and restored. It is always better to take early intervention right from better oral hygiene.