Getting Cavities Filled at a Pediatric Dentistry Visit

Pediatric Dentistry Middletown, NY

Pediatric dentistry is a field that focuses on the oral health care of young patients. Typically, toddlers, children, and adolescents visit a pediatric dentist until they are 18. Pediatric dentists offer general services, such as exams and cleanings, and more in-depth procedures, such as cavity fillings or dental sealants to protect the teeth.

Cavities affect patients of all ages, which is why routine pediatric dentistry visits are necessary. In the event that a cavity does occur, a simple dental filling can restore oral health. Here is an overview of what to expect when a child gets a cavity filled by a pediatric dentist. This information can be helpful for parents who are preparing their children for an upcoming appointment with a pediatric dentist.

Understanding cavity fillings from a pediatric dentist

Getting a cavity filled can be frightening for children because the procedure requires numbing agents and dental tools. However, parents and children can rest assured that pediatric dentists will use a gentle approach to help children feel safe and secure. A pediatric dentist may show a child the dental tools and explain what each one does to help them understand that there is nothing to be afraid of. Additionally, the procedure is often explained beforehand to help the child know what to expect. Here are the steps that a pediatric dentist typically follows to fill a cavity: 

  1. The child's oral cavity is numbed, so there is little to no pain.
  2. Laughing gas may be administered via a facial mask to help calm the child's nerves.
  3. The cavitied tooth will be thoroughly cleared out with a dental drill.
  4. Once cleared, a water pick will be used to remove any remnants in the cavity of the tooth.
  5. A dental material will be placed within the cavity of the tooth to fill it, and the tooth will be sealed off in order to prevent further damage. 

After the filling has been completed, the child may experience slight sensitivity around the tooth, which is completely normal. Pediatric dentists recommend being gentle and not eating anything too hard or tough in the first 24 hours after the procedure. 

How to know when fillings are needed

In general, cavities need to be filled whenever they are present. It is difficult for parents to identify them, especially in the teeth of young children. There are often no apparent symptoms, which can make diagnosis even harder. Fortunately, with routine pediatric dentistry visits, thorough examinations can be done to identify any warning signs. In certain cases, cavities are severe enough that there are noticeable symptoms. Common ones include the following:

  • Black or brown spot on a tooth
  • Bad breath 
  • Discomfort or pain in or around the tooth
  • Swollen or tender gums 

If a parent suspects that their child has a cavity, they should examine the child's teeth for any of these symptoms. If the parent is unsure whether their child has a cavity, it is best to schedule a pediatric dentistry visit, as it is always better to be safe than sorry. 

Keeping cavities at bay

In pediatric dentistry, there may be more cavity procedures performed than in general dentistry. Younger patients do not always have the best oral hygiene routine, which is to be expected. Additionally, some children receive high amounts of sugar or acids from the beverages and foods that they consume. For example, juices, candies, and sodas are typically favorites of younger patients, which increases the chances that cavities will develop. 

Pediatric dentists have a few recommendations for parents and children to help keep cavities at bay. These can apply to patients of all ages, but they are especially worth considering for toddlers, children, and teenagers:

  • Brush twice a day or after every meal
  • Floss in between each tooth at least once a day to get rid of left-behind debris
  • Limit juice and soda intake because they can contain high amounts of sugar
  • Avoid consuming candies that are highly acidic or sugary, as these can decay the teeth at a much quicker rate
  • Visit the pediatric dentist regularly 

Find out more from a pediatric dentist

Pediatric dentistry visits can go far in the prevention of cavities. Even when a cavity does occur, the dentists can take the appropriate steps to treat it right away, whether that be a filling or a more involved restoration, such as a crown. To determine whether your child requires a filling, you should consult a professional. Reach out today to ask questions or to schedule an appointment.

Request an appointment here: or call Hudson Valley Pediatric Dentistry at (845) 363-4177 for an appointment in our Middletown office. 

Check out what others are saying about our dental services on Yelp: Pediatric Dentist in Middletown, NY.

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