Gentle Care for Cavities
Tooth decay is the single most common preventable chronic childhood disease, and even with great at-home oral care, your child may end up with a cavity. If your child has a cavity, it’s very important to see Dr. Wendy Yang for a filling ASAP. The sooner their cavity is filled at Sprouting Smiles Pediatric Dentistry , the more likely you are to avoid common complications like tooth infections. Call (858) 888-9298 today to schedule a consultation.
Common Types Of Dental Fillings
Composite, Amalgam, Glass Ionomer
Our San Diego pediatric dentists offer a few different types of fillings at Sprouting Smiles Pediatric Dentistry. Most commonly, we use composite fillings, which are tooth-colored and are made of a special blend of resin and crushed glass. They are very strong and durable, and look natural in your child’s mouth.
Glass ionomer is a type of clear or tooth-colored filling that’s made of silica, calcium, alumina, and a few other materials. This type of material is very resistant to wear, so it’s also a great option.
Amalgam fillings, which use a blend of metals including tin, mercury, zinc, and silver to restore a cavity. Amalgam is very durable and strong, but it does discolor the tooth since it has a silver-gray color, so it’s mostly only used for baby teeth rather than adult teeth.
Recognizing The Signs
How Do I Know If My Child Needs a Filling?
Tooth sensitivity is a common sign of a cavity. If your child complains of a tooth that’s sensitive when they consume hot or cold foods or drinks or sugary snacks, this could be due to a cavity. Discomfort when biting or chewing may also indicate the presence of a cavity.
You may also be able to recognize a cavity visually. Looking into your child’s mouth using a flashlight, look for brown, black, or gray spots on a tooth, or for visible pits or holes in the teeth. If you notice any of these issues, they may have a decayed tooth.
Toothaches also may happen, and indicate a serious cavity that may have caused a tooth infection. If your child has a serious toothache that lasts 1-2 days without getting better, contact Sprouting Smiles Pediatric Dentistry right away for a consultation with Dr. Wendy.
What to expect
What is the Filling Process Like for Kids?
The filling process is fast, pain-free, and usually takes less than an hour at our San Diego office. First, Dr. Wendy Yang will clean your child’s mouth and numb the treatment area to ensure they feel no discomfort during the process.
Then, Dr. Wendy will use a dental drill to gently clean out the cavity and remove damaged enamel. Once the cavity has been prepared, she will apply the filling material directly into the cavity, where it will be hardened and shaped using special dental tools.
When the overall shape of the filling looks right and your child’s tooth has been restored, Dr. Wendy will check your child’s bite to make sure it fits properly, and make final adjustments to ensure the filling looks and feels completely natural. Then, you and your little one will be sent home.
FIND OUT MORE ABOUT DENTAL FILLINGS
WILL DENTAL FILLINGS HURT?
No, getting dental fillings doesn’t hurt since the dentist uses a combination of numbing gel and lidocaine (a local anesthetic) to ensure the process is painless. The dentist then uses a dental drill to clean out all the decayed parts of the tooth and washes it with a dental cleaning solution. The dentists then vacuum the decayed parts and debris using a suction pipe. The treatment only takes about 20 to 45 minutes, and you should be cavity free and have solid dental fillings.
However, depending on how deep the cavity is, where the cavity is located, and how many cavities you have, you may experience some pain and discomfort following the procedure. This pain should disappear within a week or two. If it doesn’t, make it a point to see your dentist.
SHOULD MY CHILD GET FILLINGS FOR BABY TEETH?
Yes, fillings for baby teeth are just as important as they are for permanent teeth. Baby teeth aren’t immune to cavities, which can cause intense pain and lead to other dental problems like infections. Cavities also hint that you’re feeding your child an improper diet or they have a poor oral hygiene routine. Dental fillings remove cavities, preventing them from spiraling out of control into more severe issues.
The dentist will pick a filling material for your child based on the severity of their cavities. They’ll then clear out the cavity before inserting the filling material to fill the void left by the cavity. This material will later harden and restore normal functioning to the damaged teeth.
HOW LONG DO PEDIATRIC FILLINGS TAKE?
Pediatric filling takes as little as 15 minutes to an hour, depending on the size and depth of the cavity. Larger cavities usually take longer to fill, and the same goes for filling multiple cavities. The local anesthetic usually lasts for several hours after the procedure. When it does, you can use OTC painkillers to manage mild pain and discomfort your child might experience.
We recommend that you help your child gently brush around the filling site 24 hours after the procedure. Let them rinse their mouth with a warm salt solution and instruct them to spit gently. Administer anti-inflammatory medication for any pain and inflammation. Lastly, ensure your child gets adequate rest to promote healing of the filling site.
CAN A CHILD EAT NORMALLY AFTER A DENTAL FILLING?
Your child will have to switch up their diet for the first few days or weeks after getting dental fillings. They must adopt a restricted liquid diet consisting of smoothies, sugarless milkshakes, and smoothies. After the first few days, they can switch to softer foods like noodles, scrambled eggs, pudding, and the like.
Please note, until normal functioning is achieved, you should avoid feeding your child any hard foods that may dislodge the feeling or cause discomfort when they bite into it. Also, avoid giving them sticky and chewy food that may dislodge the dental filling.