Pediatric Dental Fillings in Portland, Oregon
Tooth decay is a common problem for children, whose dental hygiene habits often take time to develop and improve. When the decay continues, it can create a cavity, or small hole in the tooth enamel. Cavities must be treated so that the decay stops spreading and the hole doesn’t widen. Pediatric dentists often use fillings when a child has a cavity.
What Is a Filling?
When a child gets a filling, a pediatric dentist drills out the small cavity, getting rid of all the lingering decay. After the cavity is drilled out, it leaves behind a hole in the tooth structure. Then, the dentist fills in the missing part of the tooth with a material that takes the place of the decayed enamel. Once the filling is in, your child won’t feel a difference between the tooth and the filling.
Types of Fillings We Perform
We offer two types of fillings we perform at Fox Kids Dentistry & Orthodontics:
- White-colored fillings: Made of composite, white fillings look natural in the mouth and match the color of the existing teeth. The composite material molds to the tooth and is hardened using a blue LED light. We use white-colored fillings for small and medium cavities for both baby teeth and permanent teeth. Composite fillings are the most common restorative material used in dentistry.
- Silver-colored fillings: Silver fillings are made from an amalgam and used far less frequently than white-colored fillings. They work best for large, complex fillings on adult teeth, and are rarely used in pediatric patients. For larger cavities on baby teeth and adult teeth, stainless steel crowns (or caps) have replaced the use of amalgam and are much more common in modern dental settings.
We also perform a variety of other restorative services including:
- Crown placement (also known as “Caps”)
- Root canals for baby teeth (also known as “pulpotomies” or “pulpectomies”)
- Extractions for stubborn baby teeth that won’t come out on their own or require specific dental attention
What Happens When a Child Gets a Filling?
While children may feel scared to get a filling, you can reassure them that the procedure doesn’t take very long. There are three necessary steps to filling a cavity for a child:
- First, we numb the area where the filling will be placed.
- Then, our pediatric dentist drills out the decayed material and removes a bit around it, too, so there is no decay left in the tooth.
- Finally, we apply the restorative material in the hole, waiting until it hardens and sets to release the patient.
The Benefits of Using a Children’s Dentist for Fillings
We have filled many cavities as a pediatric dentist in Portland. A few of the benefits of using a children’s dentist for this procedure include the following:
- We understand kids’ anxiety about dental procedures.
- We have small instruments to fit kids’ mouths.
- We understand children’s tooth development.
What Are Restorations? Are They The Same as Fillings?
All fillings are restorations, as they “restore” the teeth to their original state. But, not all restorations are fillings. Crowns are considered restorations because they fit over the tooth and essentially replace the real tooth. Fillings are best suited for teeth that have small and medium sized cavities. Crowns or caps are usually reserved for cavities that are large or for teeth that have undergone nerve treatments.
Are There Alternatives to Dental Fillings?
While dental fillings are often necessary, there are alternative options that can be explored to treat dental cavities before needing to actually have a filling performed. Historically, cavities have been treated with a “surgical” approach— this includes traditional fillings and crowns, where a dental drill is used to remove the decayed tooth structure. However, there is a more modern approach to treat cavities “preventively” and “medically.” This generally includes the implementation of a more regimented oral hygiene program at home, the use of fluoride, and most recently, the use of silver diamine fluoride.
Treating cavities medically has allowed dentists to be more conservative in preserving tooth structure, without having to compromise the overall health of the tooth. And even better, preventive and medical approaches tend to be cheaper, faster, and much easier for the patient!
Choose Fox Kids Dentistry & Orthodontics for Your Next Appointment
If you need a pediatric dentist for filling cavities in Portland, or you want to schedule a checkup for your child because you suspect tooth decay, contact us online or give us a call at 503-223-5039. Our dentists are specialists trained to work with children, and we provide excellent care. We look forward to seeing you and your child.