Good dental health is essential for children as they grow and develop, playing a vital role in their overall well-being. Parents and caregivers need to be aware of the various dental procedures that can help maintain healthy teeth, both primary (baby) and permanent (adult) teeth.
In this blog post, we’ll explore the world of dental fillings for kids, discuss the types available, the reasons for getting them, and how to care for them once they are in place.
Types of Dental Fillings for Kids
Dental fillings are one of the most common dental procedures used to treat tooth decay or cavities in teeth. They fill the decayed area with a safe, durable material, restoring the tooth to its original shape and function. Fillings protect teeth from further decay and help stave off extensive dental treatments from a lack of care.
There are various types of dental fillings available for children. At Big Apple Pediatric Dentistry, we use the following:
- Composite Fillings: These tooth-colored fillings are made from a resin material that resembles natural teeth. They are durable and relatively easy to apply, making them a good option for cavities in kids.
- Porcelain Fillings: They blend in well with the natural color of your child’s teeth, so they are often used on the front teeth. They are more expensive than composite fillings but tend to last longer.
Identifying When Your Child Needs a Filling
To catch possible cavities early on, ensure your child visits their pediatric dentist for regular checkups.
Signs that your child may need a dental filling include:
- Tooth pain
- Sensitivity to hot or cold
- Visible holes or dark spots on the tooth surface
- Pain when biting or chewing food.
If you notice any of these signs in your child, schedule an appointment with a pediatric dentist as soon as possible.
Why Fill Baby Teeth?
While it’s true that primary teeth eventually fall out to make way for permanent teeth, it is still important to address dental issues such as cavities and decay in baby teeth.
- Preserve oral health: Baby teeth help children chew food, speak clearly, and maintain proper alignment for permanent teeth. Untreated dental problems in baby teeth can lead to pain, infection, and difficulty performing these essential functions.
- Prevent infection and pain: By addressing cavities and decay with fillings, we can alleviate your kid’s discomfort and prevent the spread of infection.
- Ensure proper development: If a baby tooth is lost prematurely, it can disrupt the eruption pattern of permanent teeth. This can lead to misalignment or crowding issues in the future.
- Psychological impact: Fillings can help children feel better about their smiles and boost their self-confidence. By avoiding the stigma associated with tooth decay or cavities, kids are more likely to participate actively in oral hygiene.
What To Expect During a Dental Filling Procedure
Typically, a dental filling procedure for kids follows these steps:
- The dentist examines the tooth and may take X-rays to assess the extent of the decay.
- Local anesthesia is administered to numb the area.
- The decayed portion of the tooth is removed, and the area is thoroughly cleaned.
- The dentist applies the chosen filling material, shaping it to fit the tooth correctly.
- After the filling hardens, the dentist checks your child’s bite and polishes the tooth to smooth any rough edges.
Caring for Your Child’s Dental Fillings
Once your child has a dental filling, it’s important to take extra steps to ensure the area remains healthy.
The following tips will help you keep your child’s fillings in optimal condition:
- Brush twice a day with fluoride toothpaste and a soft-bristle toothbrush
- Floss daily
- Limit sweet and sticky foods, as well as sugared drinks
- Use dental sealants to protect eroded tooth surfaces from decay
- Visit the dentist for regular checkups and professional cleanings
Protect Your Child’s Smile
Early intervention is the key to maintaining optimal dental health and setting the foundation for your child’s lifelong oral hygiene habits. If you think your child may need a filling, contact Big Apple Pediatric Dentistry today. Dr. Henry Martinez and his team are committed to providing your child with the highest quality of care and keeping their teeth healthy for years to come.
If you’re searching for a pediatric dentist in Pheonix, AZ or dental sealants for kids, call (602) 935-7427 or complete the online booking form. Act now for a brighter, healthier smile tomorrow!
Frequently Asked Questions
Can Kids Eat After Fillings?
Yes, children can eat after having a dental filling. However, they should avoid excessively hard or chewy foods for 24 hours to give the filling time to set and maintain its integrity. It’s best to feed them soft foods that are easy to chew.
What Happens if You Don’t Fill Kids Cavities?
If a kid’s cavities are left untreated, they can cause severe infections and require a root canal. Additionally, the infection could spread to other parts of the body, leading to more serious health concerns.
How Do I Prepare My Child for Fillings?
Discuss the procedure with your kid and explain why having their cavities filled is important. Let them know they won’t feel any pain or discomfort to help them stay calm. Additionally, you should bring comfort items such as a favorite toy or blanket to make the experience more pleasant. For more information, read Preparing For Your Childs First Visit.