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Does Tooth Decay In Baby Teeth Affect Permanent Teeth?



Cavities in milk teeth or primary teeth are not the only reason leading to compromised health of permanent teeth. A mouth full of cavities has a very high rate of bacterial content. The existing bacterial army attacks the new permanent teeth which start to come out by the age of 6. The invasion of bacteria leads to cavities/ infection in the young erupting permanent teeth.

Cavities are caused due to multiple reasons however; poor diet and oral hygiene are the most common ones. If the cavities are left untreated for a long period of time, it affects the health of primary dentition. Eventually, this may lead to infection of the underlying permanent teeth.

Usually, small cavities are treated with small fillings and big cavities are treated with big fillings. However, the cavities close to the nerve of the baby’s tooth require special attention and needs to go through half or complete root canal treatments. The main focus of these treatments is to restore the baby tooth, control the progressing decay and, maintain the infection-free environment for the permanent teeth to develop.

In case there is a lack of treatment of the infected primary teeth, bacteria will continue to move deeper into and through the root canals infecting the underlying bone. Such a situation may cause an acidic environment around the erupting permanent tooth. This, in turn, will impact the health of the newly developing permanent tooth leading to adverse effects as well.

Decays and infections in baby teeth should be diagnosed and treated, followed by practicing good oral hygiene, dietary guidance and regular appointments with the dentist preferable once in six months.

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

We can conclude that the cavities in baby teeth may not lead to cavities in permanent teeth if a hygienic routine and prevention methods are being followed diligently.


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Dr. Sanjeet Shanker BDS, MDS - Prosthodontics and Implantology

Dr. Devanjali Soin BDS, MDS PGD - Aesthetic Dentistry and Orthodontics