The Importance of Primary "Baby" Teeth

A common question I hear when discussing decay on a child's teeth is, "Why do a filling when they are just going to loose the tooth anyway?"  While this may seem like a good point, the fact of the matter is that primary teeth, otherwise known as 'baby teeth' serve a VERY important purpose.  Primary teeth not only serve the purpose of helping with mastication (chewing), but they serve the very important function of space maintance.  When primary teeth are lost too early there is no longer anything keeping the teeth behind it from moving forward.  This loss of space usually results in crowding out the permanent tooth that was to replace the baby tooth that was lost.  This usually results in the need for orthodontic treatment that is more costly than simply doing the filling to begin with.  When a filling is not an option or if for whatever reason a primary tooth is lost and it will be sometime before the permanent tooth erupts it is usually necessary to do a space maintainer appliance to avoid this potential crowding and misaligned occlusion.