What Happens If A Cavity Is Left Untreated

What Happens If A Cavity Is Left Untreated?

Team Children Pediatric Dentistry

Despite your child’s oral hygiene routine, cavities can appear at any age. And, when they do, they need to be promptly treated by a dentist to reduce any further spread of decay or risks that come along with it. 

Signs Your Child May Have a Cavity

How do you know if your child has a cavity? Believe it or not, there are a few signs you can look out for, including those that are visible. 

  • Toothaches 
  • Sensitivity to temperature when eating and drinking
  • Sensitivity to sweets
  • Pain while chewing
  • A hole or pit that is visible
  • White spots or other dark discolorations

Of course, with smaller children, they may not be able to express what they are feeling. If they are extra fussy or unsettled, or refusing to eat, look at their teeth — and make an appointment with their pediatric dentist. 

What Happens If You Leave a Cavity Untreated? 

Cavities need to be treated by the dentist or they will continue to grow and spread throughout the mouth, turning them into more complex issues. A cavity left untreated can even lead to tooth loss.

Toothaches Become More Painful

An untreated cavity means that the decay has been left to spread. It will go through the enamel into the inner, soft layers of the tooth. This can lead to more intense toothaches with radiating pain. 

This increases sensitivities, too, making it even more difficult for your child to enjoy the foods and beverages they want without feeling pain and discomfort. 

Quality of life will decline with poor sleep, unwillingness to eat, and discomfort in daily activities. 

Infection and Abscess

As decay eats away at the tooth and makes its way inside, it can lead to infection and inflammation throughout the entire tooth and surrounding areas. It may even cause a pus-filled abscess to form on the nearby gums. 

At this stage, the cavity will likely require a pulpotomy to remove the pulp and clear out the infection in the tooth and roots. 

Without treatment, the infection can spread into the bone and nearby teeth. It may even spread into the bloodstream and become a serious medical emergency. 

Impact Speech Development

When a tooth hurts, kids may adjust how they speak to avoid any unnecessary discomfort. Doing so, however, can interfere with their speech development. It can also disrupt their ability to focus and learn while in school. 

Frequently Asked Questions about Cavities 

How long does a filling last? 

On average, fillings last between 5 to 10 years. They have been known to last upwards of 15 years with excellent care. 

Do cavities in baby teeth need to be treated?

Yes, cavities in baby teeth are usually treated to reduce the spread of decay and eliminate the pain. Your child’s dentist will determine the best course of action. 

Cavity Prevention at Marigold Pediatric Dentistry

The best way to treat cavities is to prevent them. At Marigold Pediatric Dentistry & Orthodontics, we offer comprehensive oral exams, routine professional cleanings, fluoride treatments, and dental sealants to help fight against cavities. 

Contact us today at 973-821-7161 to make an appointment.