Dental Fillings for Children in Brisbane
One of the most common oral health concerns among children is tooth decay. Along with being drawn to sugary snacks that cling to their teeth and gums, most young children have a difficult time practising good oral hygiene habits, such as thorough brushing and flossing. As a result, food particles and bacteria left in the crevices of their teeth can quickly lead to dental issues, such as cavities. When this occurs, it’s essential to seek professional dental care sooner rather than later to prevent minor oral health problems from progressing to severe ones. Fortunately, the trusted team at Kids Dentists Brisbane can help restore your child’s smile quickly and easily. Here’s what you need about dental fillings and maintaining your child’s healthy smile before scheduling their next appointment.
What is an Adhesive Restoration?
Tooth decay can develop in a child’s mouth quickly, often without you or your child realizing it. Common signs that your child has a cavity include:
- Dental pain, particularly while eating hot, cold, or sweet foods
- Discoloration, including white or dark spots
- Holes, chips, or cracks in the surface of the tooth
If you notice one or more of these symptoms, be sure to schedule an exam with your child’s dentist right away. If tooth decay is identified, the dentist will likely recommend an adhesive restoration, also known as a filling, depending on the condition and location of the tooth.
Adhesive restorations are often used in restorative dentistry, especially for young children. They are required when a tooth has formed a cavity or in circumstances where the tooth may not have formed properly. An adhesive restoration is a tooth-coloured filling that is placed in a primary or permanent tooth. It may cover one or more surfaces of the tooth. An adhesive restoration is a colour matched to the tooth surface, which will help restore the tooth’s function and natural size, shape, and colour.
What are White Fillings?
White fillings are the common name for Composite/Glass Ionomer (GIC) fillings. At Pure Dentistry, we use white fillings for restoring the suitable front and back baby and adult teeth. We may need to do this in cases of dental decay or to restore broken-down teeth. We strive hard to ensure that the final result matches the natural shade of the teeth.
Are Fillings in Baby Teeth Necessary?
While having your child undergo any dental procedure can seem overwhelming, in cases where tooth decay is present, fillings or other restorative dental care is critical. Many people think that keeping primary teeth healthy and strong isn’t as important as caring for permanent teeth, which isn’t true. The health and wellbeing of baby teeth can have a significant impact on the development of your child’s mouth, including learning how to speak correctly, adequately chew their food at mealtimes, and, most importantly, hold a space for their permanent counterparts. With this in mind, when dental issues present themselves in primary teeth, they should be taken seriously and treated quickly. Furthermore, neglecting to treat cavities and other oral health problems in baby teeth can lead to significant dental issues, such as pain, infection, and tooth loss.
What Happens During a Pediatric Dental Filling Procedure?
Dental filling procedures can seem intimidating to parents and children alike. Still, it’s important to remember that they are a routine dental procedure that is usually quick, minimally invasive, and completely safe. Here’s what you can expect during your child’s dental filling procedure:
- The dentist will assess if the child would benefit from dental treatment using happy gas
- The dentist will carefully remove the decay and soft part of the infected tooth.
- Next, the tooth is thoroughly cleaned.
- Finally, an adhesive restoration is placed to restore the tooth’s shape, colour, and contour.
After your child’s tooth has been cleaned and restored with an adhesive restoration, their tooth should immediately look and feel better. Caring for a dental filling is as easy as caring for one’s natural teeth: be sure your child brushes twice a day, flosses once a day, and continues to see the dentist every six months for routine dental exams and professional cleanings.
Are There Alternatives to Having a Dental Filling Placed in a Baby Tooth?
Fillings have become a widely accepted dental restoration for children. They have been used for a long time in paediatric dentistry to help protect children’s teeth from developing further oral health concerns, such as infection. They are often used to repair a decayed tooth to prevent it from deteriorating further or if your child’s tooth structure is compromised. A filling is designed to fix minor to moderate tooth damage. Once it’s in place, your child’s smile will be safer from additional decay and healthier as a result. Fillings aren’t the only option for paediatric dental restorations, though.
In some cases, a stainless steel dental crown or a Zirconia crown may be needed for more extensive decay or if the tooth structure is compromised. Crowns are often made from stainless steel and are a common alternative to fillings. These strong metal caps cover the entire tooth and are difficult to lose or damage. They have a smooth polished surface, which makes them easy to clean and maintain. Dental crowns can be an ideal alternative to removing a decayed tooth and can be designed to conserve space in your child’s mouth for a permanent tooth to come through. Dental crowns will fall out naturally when your child’s baby tooth falls out. To keep your child as comfortable as possible during their restoration procedure at Pure Dentistry, we can place fillings and dental crowns in our clinic using a local anaesthetic or as part of treatment under a general anaesthetic depending on their unique needs.
Another option to treat severe tooth decay in a child’s tooth is a root canal treatment which is called pulpotomy or pulpectomy in children;s dentistry and are different to root canal therapy for adults. Paediatric root canals are very similar to adult root canals. They are used to clean out decay and infection inside the tooth’s pulp while filling the remaining hole with a specialized filling material and covering the remaining tooth with a dental crown to protect and support it. Root canals in baby teeth are becoming a more widely accepted treatment to maintain the lifespan of a primary tooth for as long as possible. As with regular adhesive restorations and dental crowns, local anaesthetic is used during root canal procedures on baby teeth to ensure your child’s appointment is as comfortable and smooth as possible.
No one wants their child to lose a baby tooth due to tooth decay, but that is a probable outcome if left untreated. Oral health concerns will not resolve on their own over time; in many cases, they will continue to progress until there is no other option but to remove the tooth to relieve your child’s discomfort and stop the infection from spreading. Because of the critical role of your child’s primary and permanent teeth, tooth extraction for children is always the last resort for us to pursue. It’s only chosen when there is no other option to restore the health and wellbeing of your child’s mouth.
For children at a higher risk of developing tooth decay, including those with physical or mental disabilities, fissure sealants for children can be an invaluable preventative dental treatment to keep their primary teeth in tip-top shape. Fissure sealants are made from the same tooth-coloured material as fillings and are carefully applied to the grooves or crevices of a child’s back teeth where cavities are most likely to form. This procedure is non-invasive, quick, and does not require the use of anaesthetics.
Tips to Prevent Tooth Decay in Baby Teeth
Dealing with childhood tooth decay and dental restorations can be a stressful endeavour for parents and children alike. The good news is that cavities are preventable. Here are some practical tips to keep your child’s smile healthy and strong while keeping tooth decay at bay.
- Avoid putting an infant to bed with a bottle.
- Assist your child in brushing their teeth with a soft-bristled toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste until they can manage the task independently (around age 7 or 8).
- Replace sugary drinks, such as soda and juice, with water.
- Offer a well-balanced diet filled with fibre-rich fruits and vegetables, lean proteins, and low-fat dairy options.
- Bring your child to a kids dentist in Brisbane twice a year for check-ups and professional cleanings.
- Set a good example for your child by practising good oral hygiene daily.
The Dentist can Keep Your Child's Smile Healthy
If you suspect that your child has a cavity, don’t worry. Our experienced team at Kids Dentist Brisbane can help your child regain a beautiful, healthy, functional smile quickly and easily. To make sure that their treatment goes as smoothly as possible, scheduling an appointment as soon as you notice a dental concern is best. Remember, untreated oral health issues will only get worse if left unaddressed indefinitely. To learn more about restoring the health of your child’s smile, how to prevent tooth decay from developing, or to schedule your child’s next appointment, contact us today.