Tooth decay is the most common chronic childhood disease, and almost always leads to dental caries, more commonly known as cavities. In fact, most Americans have had at least 1 cavity by the time they reach adulthood. Fortunately, they are simple to treat, and easy to prevent. A dental filling can treat cavities within an hour-long appointment. And by making sure your child visits their pediatric dentist for regular cleanings and exams every 6 months, you can help your little one prevent cavities altogether.
1 out of 7 adolescents ages 12 to 19 have at least one untreated cavity.
To begin the procedure, your child’s dentist will clean and numb the treatment area to ensure your child feels no discomfort. Your child can also be sedated during the filling procedure so that they feel safe and comfortable.
Next, your child’s dentist will begin using a dental drill to remove any tooth enamel that is decayed and damaged, and to prepare the tooth for a filling. Once the decayed material has been removed, the area will be cleaned and sanitized to prepare for a filling.
After selecting a composite resin material that matches the color of your child’s tooth, the dentist will apply it directly into the cavity. Using dental tools, the filling material will be shaped so that it looks and feels like part of your child’s natural tooth structure. Refinements are made to ensure that your child’s bite feels natural, which completes the treatment.
The bacteria that cause cavities love to feed on sugars and simple carbohydrates. Because of this, a proper diet and nutrition are essential for preventing cavities.
As a rule, if you give your child food that is good for their body, it will be good for their teeth, too. Choose water and milk over fruit juice and soda. For meals and snacks, feed them fresh fruit and vegetables, lean meats, healthy dairy products like yogurt, and whole grains. You should avoid feeding them excessively processed, sugary foods and starchy snacks like cookies, potato chips, candy, and snack cakes.
Your child’s teeth must be brushed twice a day for two minutes. If you are not brushing your child’s teeth properly or they are not brushing as you instruct them to, they will have a much higher risk for cavities. Good oral hygiene habits help eliminate bacteria, sugar, and acid, and keep your child’s smile healthy.
Even if your child is brushing and flossing regularly, improper techniques can reduce the effectiveness of their oral hygiene habits. If they only brush for 30 seconds instead of 2 minutes, for example, they won’t clean their teeth thoroughly, and could be at a higher risk of developing cavities. Observe your children as they learn to brush and floss, and supervise them to make sure they are using the proper techniques and thoroughly cleaning their mouths.
Studies have shown that around 60% of tooth decay involves genetic factors. Some children may be born with weaker enamel than others, which can raise the risk of developing cavities, even with proper nutrition and diet, good oral hygiene, and regular visits to the dentist.
Around 20% of children ages 5-11 have at least one untreated cavity.
Your child may report feelings of sensitivity or discomfort when chewing, eating hot or cold foods, or eating very sugary foods. This is a common sign of a cavity. More advanced decay may result in intermittent toothaches and pain.
You may also be able to recognize visual indicators of tooth decay. If you look inside your child’s mouth and see a dark brown or black stain on their tooth, or you think that you can see visible pits or holes in your child’s tooth, it may be a cavity or tooth decay. If you suspect that your child has a cavity, contact your child’s dentist right away for an oral exam.
Cavities aren’t always deep enough to cause pain or discomfort, but this doesn’t mean that they can be ignored. Over time, cavities will always become more serious, and could even result in an infected tooth if they are not treated. We highly recommend contacting your child’s dentist about treatment with a filling or SDF (silver diamine fluoride) if you suspect your child has a cavity, even if they aren’t feeling any discomfort or pain.
No. Dental fillings do not hurt at all. In fact, after having a filling placed, your child won’t have to worry about tooth pain or sensitivity caused by a cavity, so they can smile brightly and eat their favorite foods without any more discomfort.
The process of getting a filling is minimally-invasive, and your child’s mouth will be numbed to ensure they don’t feel any pain. In addition, we offer sedation to make sure that your child can remain completely comfortable.
Fillings are used to replace decayed enamel, which will continue to degrade if it’s left untreated. Your dentist prepares the tooth by removing any remaining unhealthy enamel, and then it’s replaced with the filling material.
This stops the progression of the cavity by eliminating all damaged tooth material, as well as the bacteria that contributes to decay. In turn, this keeps your child’s smile bright and healthy.
Yes. Dental fillings for kids are usually covered in some way by most insurance policies, though you may be subject to a deductible or yearly maximum coverage for your child, depending on your insurance plan. As always, we recommend contacting your insurer directly if you have any questions about your child’s coverage and want to make sure that their fillings will be covered.
Nearly 80% of Americans have had at least one cavity before the age of 18.