Why Do Baby Teeth Need Fillings?

Why Do Baby Teeth Need Fillings?

When taking care of our children’s teeth, most parents know that regular brushing and flossing is essential. However, many are unaware that even baby teeth can get cavities and need fillings. A filling for a baby tooth may seem strange, but it’s essential to keeping your child’s oral health in check.

Baby teeth are incredibly important to a child’s development – they help them chew properly and hold space in the jaw for permanent teeth to come in correctly. If a cavity or decay is left untreated on a baby tooth, the result could be pain and infection that can affect the permanent tooth below it.

Parents often ask why their child’s baby teeth need fillings if they fall out anyway.   Baby teeth are not as strong as adult teeth, as they are only needed for the first 12 years of a child’s life.  They often develop decay which may require a filling.  There are many reasons why a dentist may fill a cavity in their teeth, including:

The Tooth May Become Painful

A dentist may do a filling on a baby’s tooth if they believe that the tooth could become painful.  The tooth can become painful and infected if the decay is close to the nerve.  Instead of waiting for the tooth to cause pain, placing a filling is best to prevent this.

The Baby Tooth Is Not Ready To Fall Out

Baby teeth start to fall out at 6, and the last baby tooth is lost at around 12 or 13 years of age.  If a child develops decay in a tooth that is not due to falling out for another couple of years, the tooth will require a filling.  However, if the tooth is very close to falling out, you may have the option to leave the tooth as it is and not get it filled.

Is It Better To Have The Tooth Removed Instead Of Filled?

Baby teeth are not only needed for your child to eat but are also crucial for maintaining gaps for the adult teeth.  If baby teeth are removed too early, the teeth can shift around and not leave enough room for the adult teeth to come through.  The baby teeth guide the adult teeth into the correct position in the mouth.  Having the teeth filled keeps the tooth in the mouth until the adult tooth is ready to come through, which avoids many potential problems.

Another vital point to keep in mind is that, for a young child, it can be pretty traumatic to have a tooth removed.  A bad experience in the dental chair as a child can develop into a lifelong fear of the dentist.


If your child develops a cavity in a baby tooth, a trip to the dentist is needed.  The dentist will decide if the tooth will require a filling or if it is close to falling out and can be left alone.  The best treatment, whenever possible, is to keep the tooth until it is ready to fall out naturally.

A sugary diet and inadequate cleaning cause dental decay.  Preventing decay is important in baby teeth as well as adult teeth.  Having the correct diet and cleaning routine as a child can help develop good habits for the rest of their life.

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