Even if your child brushes and flosses after every meal, they may occasionally need a tooth filling. So that you know what to expect, we’ve put together a few of the most frequently asked questions about children’s fillings. Keep reading to learn more.
How Do I Tell If My Child Needs a Tooth Filling?
Ideally, your child should see the dentist at least twice a year, and during that appointment, the dentist will examine your child’s mouth and take x-rays to see if your child has any cavities. Between appointments, if your child shows any of the following symptoms, they may have a cavity and need a tooth filling:
- Visible black or gray decay
- Worn out enamel
- Broken enamel
- Pain in a tooth
- Sensitivity to hot or cold
If your child has any of those symptoms, make them an appointment to see the dentist. While waiting for the appointment, you can try to minimize the pain with ice packs, salt water rinses, teething gels, and over-the-counter painkillers approved for use with children.
When Do Children Need Tooth Fillings?
Children need a tooth filling anytime they have a cavity. This can happen in your child’s first tooth as well as in any of their other baby teeth. Many children also get cavities in their adult teeth. The first adult teeth to erupt are usually the six year molars, which can be challenging to brush as they are in the back of the mouth. Additionally, some children or teens may even need fillings while they are in the midst of getting orthodontic treatment, but luckily, the dentist can usually work around the fillings.
How Common Are Fillings for Kids?
If your child needs to get a tooth filling, they are not alone. Dental caries is the most common childhood health issue in the United States, and in fact, 42 percent of children ages two to eleven have some type of tooth decay.
What Is the Process of Getting a Tooth Filling?
If your child needs a tooth filling, the procedure is relatively straightforward. The dentist starts by giving your child a local anesthesia. You can also choose nitrous oxide or “laughing gas” to help your child relax or sedation dentistry if necessary. Then, the dentist removes the decay from the tooth and puts in a filling. The filling can be made of metal or composite resin.
If the decay extends into the roots, your child may need a root canal. The process is essentially the same as a regular filling, but if your child’s roots aren’t developed yet in that tooth, the dentist may have to delay the procedure.
How Can You Avoid Dental Fillings for Children?
Proper oral hygiene is essential. Try to have your child brush or floss after every meal, and if that’s not possible, you may want to have them chew sugar-free gum after meals. On top of that, you may want to consider sealants. They give the teeth extra protection against cavities.
If you think your child needs a tooth filling or if you just want to learn more, contact us directly. At Dentistry for Children and Teens, we offer a wide range of dental treatments and orthodontics, and we have two conveniently positioned locations.