Why does my child need a filling?

The Practice is a family dentist and we have many young patients who pop in to our West End dental clinic for their regular dental check-up. At times, we do find cavities in children’s teeth and this may require some restorative dentistry – a tooth filling. 

You may be asking yourself, is it normal for children to get fillings? We understand it can be quite worrying to discover your child needs a filling, but due to several reasons, it’s more common than you think.

Why are dental fillings needed in baby teeth? 

Sometimes dental fillings are necessary, even in baby teeth. It may seem pointless, as these teeth will be falling out anyhow, but there are a few important reasons why our dentists recommend fillings in baby teeth, including: 

For chewing and speech – If there is decay present in a tooth, it can worsen and the tooth may need to be extracted, which impacts chewing and the development of speech.

To help keep teeth in position – If a tooth has to be extracted due to decay, there’s a big chance other teeth may shift to fill that space. Your child may have alignment problems and they may require orthodontic treatment in the future. 

Decay can spread to permanent teeth – Because the permanent teeth sit below the baby teeth, if the baby tooth has decay it can spread into the gum and into the permanent tooth. This could cause problems when the permanent tooth is ready to come through.

It can cause pain – Cavities and decay that isn’t treated in a baby tooth can cause your child pain. Infection can cause abscesses and the bacteria can spread to other parts of the body. 

Reasons why your child may need a filling

The most common reason your child will require a filling will be because of decay or cavities. Decay and cavities can be caused by a high sugar diet and not maintaining good oral health. 

Other reasons for fillings include: 

  • Root canal treatment.
  • Poor tooth development.
  • Damage caused by an accident or trauma. 

west end dental clinic

Types of fillings for children

The dentists here at The Practice commonly use tooth-coloured filling material called composite resin. This substance is suitable for both baby and adult teeth. It’s strong, doesn’t take long to apply and looks as natural as possible. 

Adhesive restorations are commonly used for children. If our dentist notices decay, these tooth-coloured fillings can be placed on one or more surfaces of the tooth. 

Fissure sealants can also be used to prevent tooth decay and are commonly applied to erupted teeth. This is done by filling in the pits and fissures in the molar teeth where dental decay is most likely to occur. It helps create a smoother surface for better brushing and less chance of food getting stuck in these areas. 

What happens during the dental filling procedure? 

We know it can be worrying, but rest assured, a dental filling is a routine procedure and our experienced dentists at The Practice have years of experience working with children. 

During the procedure our dentist will administer an injection to numb the area, then remove the decay. The tooth will be cleaned and the filling applied. Once it’s applied the procedure is complete and you can go home with no recovery period. 

Caring for fillings in children

There isn’t a specific way to care for fillings in children, you just need to care for them as you would for their natural teeth, including regular brushing and flossing. 

How to avoid fillings in children

There are a few ways you may be able to help your children avoid fillings, including: 

  • Limit sugary foods and drinks – Eating a lot of sugary food and drinks can increase the chance of decay and cavities in teeth. Always encourage children to drink plenty of water after eating sugary foods to help wash away the acid that causes decay.. 
  • Encourage good oral hygiene – Children should brush their teeth twice a day and floss at least once a day.
  • Book regular dental appointments – At The Practice we recommend all our patients book in for a teeth clean and check-up at least every 6 months

With proper dental care and encouragement, you can help reduce the chance of tooth decay and fillings. However, if you think your child may need a filling, or they are due for their regular check-up, Book an appointment online, or call our West End dental clinic on (07) 3733 3223 to speak to our friendly dental team. 

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