Nearly everyone will need a filling from time to time, and that includes children! No matter how diligent you and they are, decay can crop up and eat away at teeth. The trick is to catch things early before any further damage can develop.
At each cleaning and exam appointment, we’ll thoroughly check your child’s teeth for any sign of wear or decay, or for a true cavity. A cavity is the ”hole” that appears in a tooth when decay takes over.
Every cavity needs to be filled, even on baby teeth. Baby teeth need to be maintained until permanent teeth come in because they help the adult teeth come in properly.
Although tooth decay is a primary cause of cavities in children, but there are others. Chipped teeth, underdeveloped or misshapen teeth can often also often benefit from a filling.
Like adult teeth, baby teeth fillings can be made of a tooth-colored composite resin or of metal. Metal fillings are popular for children because they take less time to place. They’re also less expensive than composite fillings. They’re a smart, cost-effective option for fixing a tooth that will eventually fall out. Be sure to check with your dental insurance as they may only cover a certain type of filling.
Getting Rid of Decay
Before we place a filling, we’ll remove the tooth decay from your child’s tooth as thoroughly as possible. Sometimes the extent of decay will require that we place a crown instead of a filling. Learn more about crowns here.
Unfortunately, decay can recur. Teeth with cavities between them in particular can see a repeat of decay. In these cases, we will need to take care of the new decay and then refill the tooth.
Encourage your children to always use good oral hygiene (brushing, flossing, limiting sugar) when caring for fillings or crowns, whether on baby teeth or on permanent teeth.
Dr. Nick will discuss the use of sedation for your child. Sometimes nitrous oxide (“laughing gas”) is best to relax the child, or we might recommend oral sedation. The decision depends on your child, the procedure, and the amount of time it will take.
If there is more than one filling or crown to place, your child’s ability to sit still will determine if we do the work in one setting or several. Our goal is to always successfully complete the appointment without upsetting your child, so we will make the best decision based on your child’s personality and capabilities.