As soon as a child has teeth that touch their sides together it is important to start taking x-rays to check for decay in between their teeth. Baby teeth are very small, with a thin enamel protective layer. The pulp of a baby tooth is very large – which means that decay can travel quickly through the inner dentin layer towards the pulp. As well as helping children to chew and speak, baby teeth hold spaces in the mouth for the adult teeth to erupt normally. Large areas of decay, or unnaturally missing baby teeth can lead to problems with spacing for adult teeth.
We generally place white fillings in children’s teeth, as they allow the cavity prepared in the tooth to remain smaller, and are more conservative than silver fillings. If decay is deep and reaches the large pulp of a baby tooth, a special type of root canal is done at the same time as the filling to soothe the tooth.