As a parent who cares for their child, you may be even more nervous about your child receiving a filling than they are. If your child’s pediatric dentist has determined they need a filling to fix a cavity, there are few ways to prepare. One of the best ways to prepare yourself and your child before their filling appointment is by knowing what to expect before, during, and after the procedure.
How Cavities Happen
If you’re surprised your child has a cavity and needs a filling, you’re not alone. About 20% of children aged 5 to 11 years have a tooth affected by decay. It is still possible for your child to get cavities, even though they brush their teeth twice a day. This is why flossing is so important. Tooth decay occurs when bacteria, bred from sugar and food particles, in your mouth make acids that attack the enamel. When tooth decay is left untreated, holes, or cavities, are created in the teeth. These cavities need to be filled to prevent pain and infection.
Prepare with your Child’s Dentist
In order for you to know what to expect and better prepare your child for a filling, it’s a great idea to discuss with your child’s pediatric dentist prior to the appointment. Determine what type of filling will be used for your child’s tooth, if any sedation will be necessary, and if any after-care instructions need to be followed.
The Day of the Appointment
When your child is brought back into the exam room, the dentist will reexamine the affected tooth or teeth, and determine the size of the cavity or cavities. If you and your child’s dentist determine your child won’t be able to sit still enough or is too anxious and needs sedation for the procedure, this will be administered before the procedure begins.
When the patient and pediatric dentist are ready to proceed, the dentist will administer a local anesthetic to numb the area and help keep your child comfortable while traces of decay are removed from their teeth. Next, the dentist will fill the cavity with the composite filling and seal it immediately with a UV light.
It’s important to check with your child’s dentist for specific instructions. Generally, fillings may cause your child’s mouth some discomfort that can be solved with a cold cloth against their face or over-the-counter pain relievers like children’s ibuprofen or acetaminophen.
For more questions about children’s fillings and what to expect, contact Charlotte Pediatric Dentistry.