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When Does a Child Need Dental Fillings?

pediatric dentists (Wheat Ridge)

One of the most common questions family and pediatric dentists (Wheat Ridge) hear from parents is, “Why do children need fillings if their baby teeth are going to fall out anyway?”

If you’ve wondered the same thing about pediatric dental fillings, you’re in good company. Filling children’s cavities is about more than just treating active disease. Children’s cavity treatment actually leaves a long-lasting impact on their developing adult smile for the rest of their life.

How to Know if Your Child Needs a Filling

Not every cavity is visible to the naked eye. Unfortunately, if you can physically see a cavity in your child’s tooth, it’s probably quite large. Most cavities start out as tiny holes in the deep grooves of the chewing surfaces, or between teeth where you can’t see them at all.

Our Wheat Ridge dentists will use diagnostic X-rays to see inside of and around teeth to determine the presence or extent of any active cavities.

Sometimes we can catch cavities along the gumlines while they’re in the earliest stages of demineralization. By cleaning those areas thoroughly and applying fluoride, we can remineralize the weak enamel before a physical hole forms inside of the tooth.

Regular checkups every six months help us intercept cavities as early as possible before too much damage is done.

The Importance of Filling Children’s Cavities

A child’s tooth isn’t nearly as dense as the permanent, adult counterpart that will erupt one day. When a baby tooth has active tooth decay, any family or pediatric dentist (Wheat Ridge) will recommend treating it as early as possible. Otherwise, the decay will continue to expand into the tooth and even “jump” to adjacent teeth. Untreated children’s cavities will continue to grow until the decaying tooth structures are removed.

But the cavities don’t just spread to neighboring baby teeth. If they become severe enough, the tooth can abscess and infect the adult tooth that’s forming underneath.

Pediatric dental fillings prevent oral disease from spreading. Thus, eliminating the risk of painful dental emergencies and avoidable dental work.

Which Types of Fillings are Used for Kids?

Most of our Wheat Ridge fillings are minimally-invasive composite restorations. This white material bonds better to teeth and also blends in with your child’s smile, making them almost invisible when they’re smiling or laughing.

Occasionally, some dentists may still use silver fillings on kids. Especially if they tend to have a heavy saliva flow and it’s difficult to keep the tooth dry. Stainless steel crowns are another option when cavities are too large to fill.

“What if We Just Pull the Tooth Instead?”

Baby teeth are temporary. But they serve an important role in oral development. Any time a baby tooth falls out prematurely because of trauma or is extracted, it potentially jeopardizes the eruption patterns of surrounding teeth. Like books on a shelf, removing one of them causes the others to tilt in another direction. With baby teeth, this can lead to impacted adult teeth, delayed eruption, and even changes in the shape of your child’s jaw or face.

The modest cost of pediatric dental fillings or other children’s cavity treatment protects both the tooth being treated as well as their entire mouth. Not to mention potentially save you from thousands of dollars in orthodontic therapy several years down the road.

That being said, there are still occasional times when a tooth needs to be removed. Usually because of severe infection or too much structural damage. When that happens, our kid’s dentists will place a special device called a “space maintainer” until the adult tooth is ready to erupt into that space.

Need a Pediatric Dentist in Wheat Ridge?

The child-focused providers at Kid Focus Dentistry offer comprehensive care for young patients, including children’s cavity treatment. From small fillings to pulp and crown therapy, we work with your family to identify the best care plan for your child’s stage of life.

Call Kid Focus Dentistry in Wheat Ridge today to request an appointment!

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