5 Benefits of Tooth-Colored Fillings for Kids
What are tooth-colored fillings?
Receiving news that your child needs a filling can be upsetting and alarming, to say the least. And we understand why. But it is essential to realize that cavities happen, sometimes despite even the best efforts to teach your child a proper oral hygiene routine.
Thankfully, when your child does have a cavity, a filling can treat a small hole or cavity in your child’s tooth. You don’t need to worry about your child having a mouth full of metal either, as tooth-colored fillings are designed to match your child’s natural teeth.
Tooth-colored fillings, also commonly referred to as composite fillings, are dental restorations custom-designed to match your child’s natural teeth. As the name would imply, these fillings create a consistent look in your child’s mouth and are more natural-looking than amalgam fillings (silver-colored fillings). And though tooth-colored fillings are mostly used on front teeth, advancements in dental technology have made it easier for dentists to use composite fillings on the back teeth.
Parents are turning to tooth-colored fillings for many reasons, specifically for the following.
1. Tooth-colored fillings look natural and are aesthetically pleasing.
We know that having a mouth full of metal fillings, or even traditional metal braces, can be less than ideal. After all, our smiles are essential to our overall look. Though they serve a critical dental purpose, metal fillings can cause unintended embarrassment for children and adults. But tooth-colored fillings, as their name implies, blend in with the remaining teeth. No one but you, your child, and their dental team, will know that your child has a filling.
2. Composite fillings provide less risk for dental decay.
When your child receives a composite filling, there will be less risk of further decay because the filling bonds with the tooth. So put simply, composite dental fillings project the teeth and prevent decay from spreading. This means a healthier smile and overall mouth for your child.
3. Your child’s tooth will be stronger.
Though amalgam fillings are quite strong, quite a bit of the natural tooth structure needs to be removed for the filling to be effective. As we said earlier, the composite resin in tooth-colored fillings bonds with your child’s teeth. This helps the team at Pediatric Dental Specialists of Greater Nebraska to more conservatively treat your child’s cavity, maintaining more of their natural tooth structure.
4. Composite fillings are less likely to cause an allergy than amalgam fillings.
Unfortunately, some patients have metal allergies. Although very few cases have been reported according to the American Dental Associations, amalgam allergies do occasionally occur. Symptoms are similar to a skin allergy and include itching and rashes during a flare-up. If you or others in your child’s extended family have a metal allergy, it is essential to inform your child’s pediatric dentist. Once an allergy is confirmed, your kids’ dentist can be better equipped to treat them. Thankfully, composite filling allergies have not been reported in the medical or dental community.
5. Some people experience more tooth sensitivity with amalgam.
Experiencing some sort of sensitivity after a dental filling is rather common. Patients often report more sensitivity after receiving an amalgam filling than a composite filling. Sensitivity can be in response to pressure changes in the atmosphere, exposure to air, sweet foods, or exposure to extremely hot or cold foods or beverages (like when eating ice cream). In most cases, the sensitivity will go away in just a few weeks. But even a few weeks can feel like a long time to a young child who doesn’t understand why their tooth hurts.
How to Lessen the Risk of a Cavity for Your Child
Though it may still happen, here are eight ways to help your child prevent a cavity.
- Make tooth-brushing time a fun experience.
- Take your child to their pediatric dentist every six months for a dental cleaning and oral examination.
- See if your child needs a fluoride treatment.
- Have dental sealants placed on your children’s teeth after they turn six and before they turn 14.
- Get a nightguard for your child if they grind or clench their teeth when sleeping.
- Make sure your child drinks enough water each day to stay hydrated and to help wash away food particles.
- Avoid sticky foods.
- Pack healthy snacks in your child’s school bag and for outings.
Practicing the above habits isn’t a guarantee that your child won’t develop a cavity, but it will significantly lessen the risk.
Your kids’ pediatric dentist can help you determine if tooth-colored fillings are right for your child.
If your child has a cavity and needs a filling, be sure to ask their dentist if a tooth-colored filling is an option. Parents will appreciate that fillings will not alter their child’s smile long-term. And in the short term, your child will appreciate a tooth that doesn’t hurt when they enjoy a bowl of their favorite ice cream or a popsicle on a cold summer day!
If you live in the Greater Nebraska area, now is the time to request an appointment for your child at one of our four convenient locations in Grand Island, Hastings, North Platte, or Omaha. Pediatric Dental Specialists of Greater Nebraska offer expert dentistry for children and are an excellent choice if you are seeking a child dentist.