Chances are that your heart will sink when your pediatric dentist informs you that your child needs to have a cavity filled. You never want to see your child in pain and you especially don’t want them to be afraid of going to the dentist. Fortunately, cavity filling is a relatively simple process that is easy and comfortable for patients. Understanding all about cavity filling can help you to explain the process to your child and alleviate their fears regarding their upcoming dental visit. Here at Mountain View Pediatric Dentistry, we make the comfort of your child our priority, ensuring that they can obtain superior oral health without any undue hardship.
Does the Cavity Filling Process Hurt?
Many people, especially children, fear going to the dentist. This fear is primarily due to an aversion to pain, which they are convinced will occur. Some dental procedures can, in fact, be painful, though there are often anesthesia and other pain relief methods to minimize any potential discomfort. Some soreness and sensitivity are normal following the cavity filling process, but a local anesthetic is applied to the area prior to the procedure. After the surrounding area has been numbed, the patient will feel nothing while having a cavity filled. Ultimately, having a cavity filled helps to relieve the pain that comes from having a cavity.
The muscles of the jaw may feel tired and sore following any dental procedure, due to the amount of time the mouth has to remain open. Teeth may also be more sensitive following having a cavity filled. This occurs because the nerves of the tooth become irritated after the tooth has been drilled into, which leads to sensitivity. This sensitivity is often to hot or cold temperatures and usually fades within days following the procedure. However, the procedure itself should be painless. Care is even taken to reduce any pain from the application of the anesthesia, as a numbing gel is applied to the area. The slight sting that occurs when the anesthesia has been applied is not from the needle, but rather from the anesthesia beginning to work. It is important to keep in mind that having cavities filled in the early stages will be far less painful for your child and far less expensive for you.
What is the Cavity Filling Procedure?
Understanding the cavity filling procedure can go a long way toward alleviating the concerns of your children. It is a fairly simple process that is oriented around providing superior comfort to patients. The first step the dentist will perform is to apply a numbing gel to the area around the tooth. From here, a local anesthetic will be applied to numb the entire area, which will ensure that no pain is felt throughout the process. Then the dentist will use a drill or other tools to remove the decayed area from the tooth. Following this, the dentist will clean out the bacteria and debris from the cavity to make room for the filling. Finally, the filling will be placed, and the dentist will often buff and polish the tooth to match the appearance of the surrounding teeth. Certain filling types may require slightly different procedures. For example, composite fillings are done in layers to provide a natural appearance to the tooth.
Types of Cavity Fillings
There are multiple types of cavity fillings that are available, though some are used much more commonly than others. For example, gold fillings are rarely used as they are incredibly expensive and don’t match the rest of the teeth. Amalgam fillings are the silver fillings that many people think of when picturing having a cavity filled. These fillings are durable and last over a decade, though they are used primarily on the teeth in the back of the mouth. They are also a relatively inexpensive option for dental fillings.
Composite fillings are made of powdered glass quartz or other ceramic particles. These fillings can be made to match the surrounding teeth, which provides an exceptionally natural appearance. Porcelain fillings are made of ceramic materials and are another option for a natural appearance, though they tend to be more expensive than composite fillings. Glass ionomer fillings aren’t used very commonly, though they can be great options for children with developing teeth. They don’t last as long, generally less than 5 years, but they release fluoride, which can help to strengthen the teeth and prevent further decay.
How Long Will a Filling Take?
The total amount of time that a dental filling will take depends on many different factors. If you are having multiple cavities filled, it is likely that the process will take more time. The material of the filling may also impact the total amount of time that the process takes. In general, a dental filling takes around an hour, including time for x-rays and for the dentist to explain the procedure. They may, however, take as little as 15 minutes in some situations. When you bring your child in for a dental filling, plan on being there for around an hour and keep in mind that the anesthesia will often last for several hours following the procedure.
Contact us for your Cavity Filling Needs!
Whenever a cavity forms, it is important to have it filled as quickly as possible. This can prevent the decay from escalating and help protect the other teeth. It is similarly important to follow the appropriate steps to prevent cavities from ever forming in the first place. Teach your children the importance of brushing their teeth twice a day for at least two minutes and flossing on a daily basis. Ensure that they obtain regular dental cleanings, generally twice a year, as well as visit the dentist whenever a problem occurs. Fluoride can also provide many benefits to the health of the teeth. Building these good habits in the early stages will help to create a firm foundation for the oral health of your children. To learn more about how to implement excellent oral hygiene practices or to schedule your child’s dental visit, contact us at Mountain View Pediatric Dentistry today!