What are fillings and what are they for?
Filings can be silver or tooth-color composite. During an oral exam, one of our pediatric dentists will inspect the teeth to ensure they don’t have any cavities. If a cavity is found and depending on how bad the cavity is based on an X-Ray to properly examine the tooth, the dentist may suggest either a root canal or filling. A root canal will only be done if the cavity is severe enough that its better to remove it rather than use a filling, which fills in the gap left by the cavity (decayed portion of the tooth). They are used to help treat and protect parts of the tooth that has been exposed to damage and be used as a healthy tooth would normally be used.
Types of Fillings
There are 2 forms of fillings, white fillings (composite) which look exactly like a normal tooth and has the same strength, or silver fillings (amalgam) which are stronger and more durable.
Why is it better to use white (composite/tooth colored) fillings?
White fillings provide a more natural look to a childs teeth, especially in the case of front teeth. Composite are more effective in smaller areas where they are more visible and Silver fillings can be put between molars where they wouldn’t be noticed. It is an effective approach in restoring damaged teeth to seem as they have been the entire time.
How are fillings placed in/around the damaged teeth?
The best way to place a filling is when a child is at ease, which is usually the help of oral sedation or nitrous oxide (laughing gas). After the sedation takes effect, the gum area is numbed with a small injection. The child will hardly feel it, calming them and helping them without stressing them out compared to without sedation. Once the area is numb, one of our dentists will clean out the cavity before putting a special resit to help the filling hold to the tooth. After the resin is applied, the filling (either composite or amalgam) will be placed into the cavity. To finish the process, we use a special blue light which hardens the material to help it stay in place. The final step will just be a quick review to ensure they can bite without issues. The entire procedure is fairly quick and painless.
Are there any side-effects from the fillings?
Once the child goes through the sedation and numbing process, they don’t feel pain. However, they still feel a slight sense of pressure such as the gentle stream of water or a dental tool. As the tooth had modifications to it, the child may be more sensitive and uncomfortable with it until he gets used to feeling the tooth being a bit different.
How do you take care of composite, tooth colored fillings?
After having the fillings placed, it is very important for children to maintain good oral habits by brushing and flossing two times a day. This way they can prevent recurrent decay from happening and can keep their fillings strong.