Filling Cavities: How Pediatric Dentists Fix Holes in Kids’ Teeth

What should you know about filling cavities in kids' teeth and what to expect at the pediatric dentist? Read this post to learn about this dental procedure.

Did you know that 90% of adults have had a cavity at least once in their lives? Many people get their first cavities in their childhood since children haven’t usually learned the importance of good dental hygiene yet. If you have a child who has a cavity or two, you might be wondering what the process of filling cavities might be like for your child. 

You also might be curious about what kind of dental fillings your family dentist might use. Keep reading and learn more about treating kids’ cavities with dental fillings. 

How Kids Get Cavities

Cavities are one of the most common dental problems around and they usually come about when people don’t brush or floss their teeth very often. Children, especially young children, are often guilty of not caring much about their dental hygiene. The reason why cavities form has to do with the various strains of bacteria that live in the mouth. 

These bacteria love to feast on sugar once it is introduced into the mouth. Keep in mind that sugar doesn’t have to be in the form of candy or fruit juices. Carbohydrates are complex sugars and are found in bread, pasta, potatoes, and other foods. 

Carbs can cause cavities in kids just as much as candy. Once the bacteria start to devour sugar in the mouth, they produce acid. This acid is powerful enough to start degrading the tooth enamel. 

This will not only weaken the enamel as a whole, but it will also create cavities. If you catch your child’s cavities early, you might not need to find a dentist to fill them. However, most people can’t see the beginning stages of cavities. 

As such, you might only notice your child’s cavities once the cavities are in their later stages. If you notice that your child has dark brown spots or little holes in your teeth, it’s time to think about pediatric dentistry. If you let the cavities go on for too long, they can actually start to cause pain. 

That’s because the cavity will eventually go so deep into the tooth that it will start to affect the tooth’s nerves along with the tooth pulp which is a sensitive, blood-rich tissue within the tooth. But what should you expect when it comes to bringing kids with cavities to the dentist?

How Dentists Fill Cavities in Children

Before your pediatric dentist can fill your child’s cavity, he will need to drill out the cavity. This is important because the enamel surrounding the cavity will not be in good shape. If you leave the decayed enamel in the tooth, it will continue to eat away at the tooth and the cavity will only get larger and worse even if you fill it. 

For that reason, the dentist will need to use a drill to drill away at the tooth until all the decayed tissue is gone. Because this is a painful procedure and because your child may be nervous, the dentist may use some sort of sedative on your child. The most common sedative is nitrous oxide, also known as laughing gas.

Your dentist will administer the laughing gas by providing a mask for your child to breathe through. After a few moments, the nitrous oxide will ensure that your child is numb to mild pain. More than that, the gas will make your child far less nervous about the procedure. 

Drilling out the cavity shouldn’t take a very long time unless the cavity is very deep. It may also take longer if your child has many cavities. Once the dentist is done drilling, he will use a certain material to fill the hole in the child’s tooth. 

If the cavity is not filled, there is a chance that food or bacteria could get lodged in the hole. Because the hole is too narrow to clean with a toothbrush, another cavity would likely occur in the hole. To fill the tooth, you and your dentist will need to choose between a variety of different fillings. 

The dental filling cost is something to keep in mind but the appearance of the filling is also significant. 

Types of Dental Fillings

The most attractive type of filling is one that matches your child’s tooth color. This way, no one will be able to see the filling in the first place. Composite resin is a common material for filling cavities in children. It is tooth-colored and relatively affordable. 

However, it may not be as strong as other options. For example, porcelain fillings are also tooth-colored and are much stronger than composite resin. However, they are more expensive. 

If your dentist needs to fill cavities in baby teeth, there is no point in opting for porcelain fillings since they are expensive and your child is going to lose that tooth anyway. Composite resin fillings are best for baby teeth. However, if your child has some adult teeth with cavities, porcelain may be the better option instead as the fillings will last much longer. 

There are also metal fillings. Metal fillings are not as popular as they used to be since they are very visible. Silver amalgam fillings are the most traditional types of fillings. 

Because they are made of metal, they are very durable. However, they are not the most attractive, especially for the front teeth, since they are very visible. 

All About Filling Cavities in Children

Filling cavities in children isn’t as complicated as you might expect. Your pediatric dentist will need to drill through the child’s cavity to remove any decayed enamel. Then, your dentist will choose a type of filling for the cavity such as composite resin to match the color of the tooth. 

To find more helpful topics like this, check out the healthy living section on our website.

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