Have you ever heard a dentist say that a child can’t have white fillings? There’s a lot more to it than that, actually. Yes, children can have white fillings, but there are certain criteria to meet.
White vs. Metal Fillings
Young children often have a harder time sitting still, holding their mouth open, or making it challenging for a dentist to isolate a specific tooth during treatment (meaning they can’t keep saliva off of the tooth during the procedure.) When that’s the case, a traditional amalgam silver filling may be best. Silver fillings can be placed even if the tooth isn’t dry, so they work well if a child is a little squirmy or has a heavy salivary flow.
However, white composite fillings are less invasive to teeth, so pediatric dentists prefer them when possible. Kid Focus Dentistry offers both composite and silver fillings for children, depending on the unique circumstances of the child.
White fillings help preserve as much tooth structure as possible since the material bonds closely with the tooth enamel. On the flip side, silver fillings must be wedged into place, requiring additional tooth structure to be cut out. But with a white filling, only the area of decay needs to be removed (making it a more conservative procedure.) Plus, the composite comes in a variety of shades and can be matched to the natural color of your child’s tooth.
Some types of white fillings even contain fluoride, helping prevent recurring tooth decay in children with a high cavity risk.
Signs of Tooth Decay in Children
Most cavities will cause some type of discomfort when eating or drinking certain foods, particularly sweet ones. For example, fruit juice or birthday cake. But decay in baby teeth can spread extremely quickly, so it’s important to schedule regular checkups with a dentist to have your child’s teeth assessed. Symptoms like a toothache or a visible hole in a tooth could easily evolve into an abscessed tooth in a short period of time.
Since many cavities aren’t visible without the help of dental X-rays, it’s important to ask about getting bitewing X-rays taken at least once a year. These small images allow your family or pediatric dentist to screen for cavities between teeth and just under the biting surfaces, where kids get tooth decay the most often.
Other symptoms of cavities include:
- Food getting stuck in teeth
- Sharp edges on teeth
- Floss catching or breaking around a specific tooth
- Pain when biting or chewing
How Does a Children’s Dentist Place White Fillings in Kids?
To place a white filling in a child’s tooth, our Wheat Ridge dentist needs to isolate the tooth with small pieces of cotton, which help prevent saliva from flowing into that area. Then a special conditioner is used, the tooth is rinsed and dried, and the white filling is placed. A special light cures the white filling so that it hardens into place.
Why Specifically Choose a Pediatric Dentist?
Dentists who work specifically with children often have better resources, equipment, and training to perform pediatric dental procedures, such as white fillings in kids’ teeth. Whereas a traditional family practice may not be able to isolate the tooth as easily, making it impossible to offer white fillings for kids.
If your child has a cavity in a visible tooth, visiting a kid-friendly dental practice means you can ask about getting a white filling instead of a silver one. Plus, the team at Kid Focus Dentistry can take extra steps to keep your child comfortable throughout the entire process. We want them to enjoy their dental experience, so that they’ll want to continue seeing us for checkups in the future!
Pediatric Restorative Treatments (Fillings) in Wheat Ridge
Kid Focus Dentistry offers child-focused dental care in Wheat Ridge. Our dentists are committed to providing a positive environment where every child feels safe and well cared for. If you suspect that your child needs a filling, call our office today to discuss how we can help.