Unfortunately, many children suffer from cavities. According to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, 42 percent of children aged 2 to 11 have had dental caries in their primary teeth, and 23 percent suffer from untreated decay. If your child has a cavity, our dentist can sometimes restore the look and function of his or her tooth with a composite filling at our Clearwater, FL office. This restoration is a tooth-colored plastic and glass mixture that repairs and protects the tooth. Composites can also be used to improve the aesthetics of a smile by changing the color of the teeth or reshaping a disfigured tooth. To learn more about composite fillings or find out how our dentist can mend your youngster’s smile, contact Sunset Pediatric Dentistry today to schedule an appointment.
To determine if your child has a cavity and requires a composite filling, our doctor will examine his or her teeth and gums at his or her routine cleaning and examination. In addition, she may take a digital x-ray of your youngster’s mouth to spot the early signs of decay. If your child suffers from numerous or frequent cavities, the dentist may recommend placing sealants or using a fluoride treatment to fortify his or her enamel. We always recommend placing sealants on all permanent adult back (posterior or molar) teeth.
How is a composite filling placed?
Composite fillings are placed much like traditional restorations. First, the dentist will use local anesthesia to numb the tooth and surrounding tissue, ensuring your child’s complete comfort throughout the procedure. Next, she will remove the damaged portion of the tooth and clean the remaining enamel. The dentist will then apply the composite resin material in layers and use a special light to harden the material after each application. After applying the final layer of composite, she will shape it to fit the tooth. Finally, the dentist will polish the restoration to make it smooth and naturally beautiful.
What are the advantages of composites? Conventional amalgam restorations are made of metals like silver or gold, which are easily visible in the mouth. Composite fillings are much more discreet since they more closely match the color of the tooth. This is especially important when front teeth are being restored. Unlike metal fillings, the composite material actually chemically bonds to the tooth structure, which provides further support to the tooth. In addition, composites have increased versatility, since they can be used not only as a filling for decay but also to repair chipped, broken, or worn teeth.