Tooth Colored Fillings for Children
Proudly serving Newton MA and surrounding towns.
Diagnosing Childhood Tooth DecaySometimes cavities in baby teeth are extremely obvious. Your child has a visible hole in their tooth, discoloration, or food that catches each time they eat. Other times we may never realize there’s a problem unless we’ve taken routine X-rays to check between teeth and just under the outermost layers of enamel. Diagnostic X-rays such as bitewings show us areas that aren’t visible to the naked eye. In addition to screening for tooth decay, they give us insight related to your child’s oral development, in case interceptive therapy is needed. The most common places for childhood cavities to develop are between back teeth and in the deep grooves and pits of chewing surfaces.
Metal (Amalgam) vs. White FillingsYears ago, amalgam (silver) fillings were the norm. Although durable, they contain an alloy of metals, making them both unattractive and concerning for some people. Even still, placing a silver filling required removal of excessive healthy tooth structure to keep the restoration held in place. Fortunately, today we have a less invasive and more attractive option: tooth colored composite fillings. These white restorations come in a variety of shades to match the surrounding enamel structure. But most importantly, they’re capable of bonding to smoother surfaces and thereby require less alteration to healthy structure. Instead of wedging them into a widened area, the composite naturally bonds to the pores of your enamel to help keep it in place. This minimalist design is ideal for smaller, naturally less dense baby teeth with cavities.
Isn’t the Baby Tooth Going to Fall Out?Tooth decay (cavities) are one of the most common childhood dental issues. Left untreated, this bacterial infection can spread into adjacent teeth, developing adult teeth, and deep into the affected tooth’s nerve, leading to abscesses. Although “baby” teeth do eventually fall out, they play an integral role in your child’s natural orofacial development. Premature tooth loss (or just pulling a tooth instead of placing a filling) can lead to serious side-effects, such as:
- • Speech disorders
- • Nutritional problems
- • Irregular jaw development
- • Tooth misalignment
- • Impacted, unerupted adult teeth
- • Loss of self-confidence
Keeping Your Child ComfortableFirst and foremost, the best way to ensure a pain-free experience for your child is to intercept tooth decay as early as possible. Although not all cavities cause discomfort, many do. When we’re treating those areas, we’ll use a local anesthetic to thoroughly numb the tooth and thereby minimize unwanted sensitivity. That way we can gently place the filling without your child feeling anything other than a bit of light pressure. Happy gas is also available to help put them at ease! Placing the filling itself is quite straightforward. We’ll isolate their tooth with soft cotton, drying it thoroughly. After the decay is removed, the composite material is shaped by hand so that the newly repaired area reconstructs the tooth’s typical anatomy. Finally, a bright light is used to cure the filling and harden it permanently into place. Side note: like all restorations, dental fillings aren’t invincible. It’s important to help your child with their oral hygiene habits (including daily flossing) to prevent recurrent tooth decay. Routine cleanings, fluoride treatments, and preventative dental sealants can also help to reduce their chances of new cavities in the future.
Can Cavities be Reversed?A physical cavity (hole) in your child’s tooth is impossible to reverse, which is why fillings are essential. However, if we intercept the earliest stage of tooth decay — called enamel demineralization — before it ruptures through the outer layer of tooth structure, the decay process can be halted and reversed. This technique requires exceptional brushing and flossing each day, combined with supplemental fluoride therapy to place minerals back into the weakened tooth structure. Demineralized areas frequently look like frosty white spots along the gums, or around orthodontic brackets.
Your Family Dentist in NewtonWaban Dental Group offers comprehensive family dentistry in a central location. Why travel to different cosmetic and pediatric dental offices when you can take your entire household to the same provider? Schedule your appointment today!
Our multi-specialty practice offers adult, pediatric, and orthodontic dental services, with a main focus on your dental health and satisfaction. Convenience, quality care, decades of experience, and a top notch team are what sets the Waban Dental Group apart. Our knowledgeable staff is a trustworthy source for everything from routine cleanings to orthodontics. We look forward to caring for you.