What are the benefits of tooth-colored fillings?

Fort Worth pediatric dentistFor many decades dental decay was repaired using silver amalgam. These fillings can be unattractive, and there has been much discussion about the safety of dental amalgam. So when an alternative product became available, it gained popularity very quickly. If your child developed a cavity, your pediatric dentist was able to offer you a choice between a repair using amalgam or a safer plastic based, tooth-colored composite resin.

The benefits of tooth-colored fillings include:

  • Less tooth needs to be drilled away with composite fillings. This means much of the tooth’s integrity remains intact; and the composite resin actually bonds the tooth making it stronger.
  • A tooth-colored filling is much more aesthetically pleasing than the silver filling that over time can darken. With composite resin, a tooth repair is virtually undetectable.
  • A tooth repaired using composite resin is much less likely to experience sensitivity to temperature.
  • Even though dental amalgam has been deemed a safe repair for dental decay, it does contain mercury making its use a source of concern for some.

There are major differences in the way each of these cavity fillings are placed. With the amalgam process, much more of the tooth’s structure is removed; it’s then filled with the amalgam. With tooth-colored fillings, the delivery of composite resin requires the tooth remain dry. The resin is placed in small increments and cured before the next application is applied. This type of repair requires more time and expertise than placing amalgam.

Your pediatric dentist will explain the differences and advantages of composite resin versus amalgam. But before the need for a filling arises, there are many things you can do to help safeguard your child against dental decay.

Encourage and supervise your child’s daily oral care … they should be brushing at least twice every day with a fluoridated toothpaste. They should floss every day to remove what their toothbrush missed.

Limit sugary snacks and beverages – reserve them for special occasions. Provide nutritious fruits, vegetables, proteins, dairy, and grains for optimum dental health.

Make sure you child visits their pediatric dentist every six months starting at the age of one year. Regular visits will remove plaque from teeth that contributes to dental decay and/or gum disease. Preventive measures such as fluoride treatments and dental sealants are available to help your child maintain excellent dental health as they grow.

Maintain your child’s oral health and come see our team today. Contact Fort Worth Children’s Dentistry to schedule your visit!

Why are the primary teeth so important?

childrens dentist Tarrant CountyPrimary teeth are also known as deciduous, milk, or baby teeth. Your baby’s teeth actually begin forming in the womb, and usually start to erupt around six months of age. Over the next three years twenty baby teeth will come in. Your child should see a children’s dentist starting at twelve months of age. This first visit usually involves a dental exam to make sure your child’s dental progress is on track, and to make sure any evident dental problems are attended to.

The primary teeth serve very distinct purposes:

  • They reserve proper spacing for permanent teeth. Adult teeth are preparing to come in as baby teeth are lost. Primary teeth will begin to fall out around age six allowing permanent teeth to begin to emerge. If a baby tooth is lost prematurely, your children’s dentist may recommend placing a space maintainer to prevent already erupted adult teeth from shifting blocking the emergence of a tooth in its correct place.
  • Teeth play a very large role in word formation. As your child learns to talk, they will use their tongue and teeth to form sounds and learn proper word pronunciation.
  • Chewing. As your child develops the ability to eat solid foods, the teeth play a very large role in consuming a nutritious diet. Of course, early foods will be soft; but as your child grows and starts to eat other foods, proper nourishment from fresh fruits and vegetables; protein; grains; and dairy will be enabled by healthy teeth.

Daily oral maintenance for your child’s primary teeth is very important. Wiping newly formed baby teeth with a soft cloth until your child is able to allow you to brush their teeth is acceptable. Once several baby teeth have erupted, use a soft bristle toothbrush and an age appropriate pea size drop of toothpaste to clean your child’s teeth. It will be some time until your child learns to spit out toothpaste, so never use a fluoridated toothpaste for your baby or toddler.

In an effort to keep your baby’s teeth cavity free, never put your child to bed with a bottle containing anything but water. Milk, formula, and juice can linger in your baby’s mouth after they fall asleep. The sugars from these beverages can allow plaque to form on teeth leading to dental decay.

For more questions or to schedule an appointment, contact our caring team today!