Children's Dental care, Dental Health Problems, Tooth Decay
If your kid’s tooth has suffered considerable decay, it might be time for some restorative dentistry, including tooth fillings. Under the right, albeit unfortunate, circumstances, harmful bacteria can multiply and erode your child’s teeth. All teeth should have an outer layer called enamel, but this protective layer can decay over time if we are not careful of our children’s oral hygiene habits.
Some genetic conditions contribute to weaker enamel layers in children’s teeth, but in all cases, good dental hygiene can be the difference between regular teeth and premature tooth loss.
If bacteria degrades a tooth’s enamel enough, they can access the soft tissue within, including blood vessels, nerves, and the tooth’s root. Your pediatric dentist has to clear that infection, and they might recommend a pulpectomy or baby tooth root canal as treatment.
This is where dental fillings come in. It won’t matter if the infection overtook a primary tooth or permanent one; if the only way to clear the infection means endodontic treatment, your kid will benefit from having their teeth filled.
Dental health professionals recommend filling teeth because this method ensures their integrity. When you remove the soft tissue within a tooth, you run the risk of weakening the tooth and leaving it more brittle than before. But a dental filling helps in keeping the tooth strong and functional.
Some parents are worried about potential side effects from dental fillings; fortunately, this treatment does not increase allergies in children or increase any risks to their overall health.
Dental Fillings Vs. Other Treatments
You might have read or heard about dental sealants; you might even have some yourself. Dental sealants are an excellent preventative method, but they are different from dental fillings.
As a general rule of thumb, it might be easier to remember the distinction between the two treatments if you keep in mind that dental sealants prevent cavities while dental fillings treat existing caries.
What Are the Types of Dental Fillings?
Pediatric dentists like Dr. Nanna Ariaban have several types of dental fillings at their disposal. Still, they will recommend one material over another considering the extent of the tooth’s damage, the patient’s age, and the type of tooth affected.
- Amalgam (Silver) Fillings. Highly resistant materials to both wear and a patient’s natural chewing force, they are an excellent choice for molars. This material is not as expensive as its other counterparts, and it remains a durable and reliable option for treatment. Unfortunately, these materials are darker than others used for dental fillings, making the treatment much more noticeable when patients open their mouths. Due to updated health notices, we would not recommend this treatment for children under the age of 6 or with mercury allergies.
- Porcelain. This material is much more similar to most patients’ natural tooth color, and it remains resistant to staining. These materials are very durable and can last up to 15 years, but they are also considerably more expensive than their traditional counterparts.
- Composite Resins. These are ideal for repairing front teeth damage; however, they are not suitable for repairing larger cavities because they are less durable than amalgam options or other alternatives. This material is also susceptible to staining, so you might want to pay special attention to your child’s diet if they get this type of treatment. With proper care, they could last up to 10 years.
- Cast Gold. Yes, patients can get golden fillings. This alternative is the most expensive out of all other options. Depending on the supplier, this material can increase treatment costs up to 10 times more than traditional amalgam fillings. One positive aspect is they won’t corrode, and they are very good at withstanding chewing forces.
How Does a Child Get Dental Fillings?
Dental fillings are a restorative dentistry treatment that usually follows another treatment like pulpectomy or root canal. We described the conditions leading to a dental filling at the beginning of this article, but we would like to describe the process of getting a tooth filled.
It’s relatively straightforward. Keep in mind that we have to numb the area to minimize pain during the treatment. We have to drill into your kid’s tooth and remove tissue, something that would prove very painful without an anesthetic. By now, you will have already determined the type of dental filling needed for your treatment, and the dentist will fill your child’s tooth in a matter of minutes.
We will seal the hole used to clear the infected tissue, and your kid will be ready to go on about their day. This treatment is quick. Still, we advise all patients to wait a couple of hours before eating anything to let the anesthetic wear off. Your kid might feel a little weird as their bit adjusts to the filling, but this should smooth out quickly.
Get in Touch With a Professional
Here at Polkadot Pediatric Dentistry, you will find a team ready to help your kid’s teeth be as healthy as possible. We know that caring for children is more complicated than some professionals believe; that is why we have tailored every aspect of their experience here in our dental practice to be as comforting as possible.