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What to Expect for a Child’s Tooth Filling

Hearing that your child has cavities that need to be filled might be surprising. After all, you make sure they brush their teeth twice a day, especially before bed, so how did they get a cavity?

Cavities in children are actually quite common. The World Health Organization reports that cavities affect 60–90% of school-age children. This means children’s tooth fillings are common as well.

There are a few key things to keep in mind when preparing for your child’s visit to the dentist. At Children’s Dentistry of Las Vegas, our goal is to provide a safe and fun dental environment for your child, so they never have to fear going to the dentist.

Creating this friendly attitude toward getting a filling starts the second we find a cavity on your child’s tooth. Here’s how to handle that moment and prepare for your child’s first dental filling.

Keep Your Child Comfortable with a Great Attitude

The best way to create a positive attitude about going to the dentist is to stay calm and remember that tooth fillings for children are common. When your child’s dentist lets you know they’ve found a cavity, don’t panic.

Children pick up on their parent’s emotions, so if you remain calm and positive about the cavity, your child will too. When discussing the cavity with your child, avoiding “scary” words like “drill”. For example, some parents choose to call cavities “sugar spots” to help ease their anxiety.

This confident response to a cavity can and should be used at home as well, if you see the cavity first. Explain to your child that there’s a spot on their teeth that needs a little extra cleaning, but it will be a quick and easy visit. Then contact us to schedule your appointment as soon as possible.

Prepare with Your Dentist

dentist inspecting boy’s mouth

There are several points to consider for your child’s tooth filling, and you should discuss these with your dentist. Some questions may be:

  • What kind of filling: metal or composite?
  • What kind of sedation, if any, will be used?
  • Are there specific after-care instructions?

For child dental fillings, we recommend using composite, or tooth-colored fillings. These fillings are made from a composite resin that bonds directly to your child’s tooth, helping to prevent decay from creeping back in. They also look much more natural than shiny metal fillings, and can be a cost-effective option for filling a tooth that isn’t a permanent adult tooth.

Some children might not need sedation and may be perfectly comfortable sitting in the chair throughout the procedure. Others, however, may be nervous or a little fidgety.

The most common form of sedation is nitrous oxide, also known as laughing gas. This sedation provides a relaxing and calming sensation for nervous children. For other child’s tooth fillings, an oral sedative may be used.

Consult with your dentist to determine the best option for your child. At Children’s Dentistry of Las Vegas, we specialize in the care of all children, including those with special needs, so we’re fully equipped to customize your child’s time with us.

Talk with your child about how they’ll feel after the procedure as well. Explain that part of their mouth may be numb, but that feeling will return quickly. Make sure they don’t accidentally bite or scratch the numb area as they wait for the feeling to return.

The Day Of Their Appointment

When you arrive at Children’s Dentistry for your child’s dental filling, you’ll be greeted warmly by our professional staff, and answer questions you have. Our engaging lobbies with cheery, kid-friendly decorations will help put your child at ease.

The dentist will examine your child’s teeth to confirm the location and size of the cavity or cavities that your child’s teeth may need a filling for.

Your dentist will administer a sedative or local anesthetic to help keep them comfortable while the cavity and traces of decay are removed from their teeth. Then, the dentist will fill the cavity with the composite and seal it immediately with a UV light.

Continued Care

girl smiling at camera in black and white

Aftercare for your child’s dental filling is straightforward, but be sure to confirm any specific requirements with your dentist. General tips include:

  • Take care with the numb area of their mouth until feeling returns.
  • If they experience pain, place a cold cloth against their face.
  • Children’s aspirin or ibuprofen can be used if their discomfort is more severe.

After the pain fades, your child’s tooth filling is done! The composite will stay firmly bonded to their tooth, keeping decay at bay until their adult teeth start to come in.

Of course, the ideal way to prevent a need for fillings is proper oral hygiene. Make sure your child is brushing their teeth twice per day for the recommended two minutes. When their teeth are big and/or close enough, introduce healthy flossing habits as well. If recommended by your dentist, you can also teach your child to use mouthwash once they’re old enough to know not to swallow any.

Don’t forget to schedule regular, six-month professional checkups and cleanings to ensure your child’s teeth are as healthy as possible, and to catch potential issues early.

Children’s Dentistry of Las Vegas is Your Pediatric Choice

Whether your child needs to learn healthy oral habits, get their six-month checkup, or get a child’s tooth filling, Children’s Dentistry of Las Vegas is here to make your dental experience as welcoming and smooth as possible.

Our team of doctors specializes in pediatric dentistry, including special needs children, so your child is in caring, capable hands. With 10 locations throughout the Las Vegas area, your child’s visit with us is easy and convenient. Contact us to schedule your visit.