Should Tooth Decay In Young Children Be Treated With A Filling?

According to new research by the University of Manchester, one in ten British children at the age of five have a filling and about two in five have tooth decay.

However, many dental experts claim there is no need to fill milk teeth unless they cause pain or discomfort, as they will fall out anyway. Some specialists believe that fillings put children through procedures that are not really necessary and should be avoided as long as the condition does not interfere with the child’s daily routine.

Researchers found that the vast majority of parents would prefer their child’s dentist to monitor the situation and take measures if necessary, rather than carry out a filling treatment immediately.

Commenting on the matter, Dr Gail Topping, from the University of Dundee, stated that there was no formal guidance on how to treat children with tooth decay and, in most situations, it is up to the dentist to decide whether treatment of a milk tooth is needed.

Cases vary from patient to patient and specialists should assess the situation by weighing the risks and benefits for each individual child, she added.

Cases should also depend on the depth and severity of decay. Shallow decay with correct care can be arrested. Deep decay can result in the infection of the nerve,  as children’s teeth often have open apices of the root; the infection can then affect the permanent adult teeth; in which case treatment is highly recommended.

Fissure sealants will prevent decay on the chewing surfaces of teeth not only in childhood but adulthood as well.


For more advice on children’s oral hygiene, read the following articles:

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The number of five-year-old children with tooth decay is falling. But in spite of that, over one in four children have the condition, figures released by Public Health England suggest.

Based on 133,000 dental examinations in the UK, the Public Health England survey covered more than one-fifth of the nation’s five-year-olds. Results showed that the proportion of children with tooth decay was 27%, down from 30% recorded during the previous analysis in 2008.


Fillings: The Basics The clinical term for fillings is Restorations. These are used to restore the shape, form, and function of teeth that are decayed, broken or worn away. They can be placed in the front or back teeth.

How do we assess teeth that are in need of fillings? There are essentially three ways of examining teeth that may be in need of fillings: Visual examination.