One of the most common treatments performed at Hacienda Pediatric Dentistry is dental fillings. Try as we might, we can’t always get the best of those pesky cavities.When your child has a toothache or tooth sensitivity, more often than not, they have a cavity that needs to be filled. At our office in Hacienda Heights, Dr. Sheu, our pediatric dentist, will be there to explain every step of the process and take care of your child’s teeth. They’ll be smiling and snacking like normal before you know it!
What are dental fillings for?
A dental filling is a tooth-friendly material used to fill cavities. This material is usually made of strong, durable substances that meld well to the tooth structure.
When children get cavities, they need to get those cavities filled. Otherwise, the cavity could get so deep that it reaches the tooth pulp or nerving, causing immense pain. Bacteria can also infect the teeth and gums when a cavity is left untreated. This could cause bleeding, swelling, abscesses, and sickness.
By filling a cavity, the pediatric dentist is able to seal off the sensitive areas of the tooth and protect it from further decay from bacteria. Fillings also preserve the appearance and functionality of the tooth, so your child can eat, speak, and smile with ease.
What causes cavities?
Cavities are the result of extreme dental decay in one particular area. Our mouths naturally have bacteria in them. These bacteria consume sugar and turn it into acids that can wear away the tooth enamel. If enough tooth enamel is worn away from the acid produced by the bacteria, a tiny hole or cavity is formed.
In order to prevent cavities, kids should be brushing and flossing regularly to remove plaque (a combination of bacteria, sugar, and saliva). Considering what the role of sugar is in the process of developing a cavity, we also recommend supervising your child’s sugar intake. This doesn’t just mean candy and cupcakes. Other culprits include all types of carbs, such as fruit and bread.
Are fillings safe?
Some parents are concerned about how safe getting fillings. We’re here to assure you that our pediatric dentist is extremely skilled at performing the procedure and has had years of experience and training working with kids! As a pediatric dentist, Dr. Sheu designed her office with her young patients in mind, making sure that she has tools of all sizes, shapes, and functionalities to work with cater to every child’s needs.
Recently, there has been concern over the use of silver fillings as they contain small amounts of mercury. While there is no research to support that silver fillings are unsafe, our practice does not use them. At Hacienda Pediatric Dentistry, we use tooth colored fillings comprised of tooth-colored resin. The fillings we use are purposefully designed to protect your child’s teeth against further decay. They are extremely strong, natural-looking, and even compatible with sealants!
Unlike silver fillings, white fillings blend in with the appearance of natural enamel, so nobody will notice the difference! Furthermore, the tooth-colored filling preserves more tooth structure than other tooth fillings.
Tooth colored fillings are comprised of a natural-looking, tooth colored resin that provides durable and long-lasting protection against further tooth decay. Compatible with dental sealants, tooth colored fillings allow your child to maintain their self-esteem and confidence while they talk, smile and eat. An added benefit to a tooth-colored filling is that we are able to preserve more of the natural tooth structure.
Getting dental fillings are completely safe. In fact, it would be more dangerous not to get your child’s cavities filled! Cavities can result in serious infections and even sepsis if the bacteria enters the bloodstream. Talk to your pediatric dentist, so your child can receive the treatment they need.
What should my child expect when getting a tooth filled?
Kids are often afraid of getting their teeth cleaned due to the “depraved dentist” tropes used in popular culture. However, there is nothing to fear! In reality, cavities hurt more when they are untreated than when they are being filled.
To alleviate any anxiety or fear your child has about seeing the pediatric dentist for a tooth fillings, you can walk them through what to expect beforehand.
First, our pediatric dentist will talk to your child to make sure they feel comfortable. Together, they will go over your child’s x-rays and the doctor will show your child where the cavity needs to be filled.
Afterward, the pediatric dentist will use local anesthesia to numb the area that will be operated on. This is necessary not because the operation is painful, but because the cavity might be so deep that it reaches the pulp, which is extremely sensitive. Depending on the case, the pediatric dentist may only use anesthetic oral gel or use it in combination with a shot of anesthesia.
Then, the affected area will be thoroughly cleaned of dental decay and plaque. Following this, the tooth will be etched with acid to make it easier for the filling to stick to the tooth.
Finally, the pediatric dentist will apply the white filling and let it harden with the help of a special light. As a finishing touch, the tooth is polished, so it looks natural.
This whole procedure should take no longer than an hour at most!
How long do dental fillings last?
Dental fillings are very strong and durable, so they can last up to 12 years with good oral care. Your child will probably lose their first few dental fillings with their baby teeth, so getting those replaced shouldn’t be an issue. For older children who get dental fillings on their permanent teeth can expect to get their dental fillings replaced in a decade or so. If your child notices sensitivity in a tooth that has been filled, it may be a sign that filling needs to be refurbished or replaced.
If you have more questions about dental fillings, give us a call! Our pediatric dentist is an expert with children’s fillings and she’s more than happy to help your family.