Does your child have cavities that require dental fillings? Are you confused by all the different types of dental fillings and aren’t sure about which to pick? Then you might find this article extremely helpful. We break down some of the most commonly used dental fillings for children and the pros and cons of each type. Keep reading if you’d like to learn more!
What Are Dental Fillings?
When excessive bacteria and plaque build up in your mouth, they could cause your tooth enamel to decay. Over a period of time, this decay grows and creates cavities in your teeth. Dental fillings are materials used to fill in cavities so your teeth remain protected from further damage.
If a cavity is left unfilled, it could lead to infections and damage your teeth further and in some cases, it could also affect your jawbone. This is why regular dental check-ups are important for your children as a dentist can spot the signs of cavities and treat them at the earliest.
There are various dental fillings available to fill in your child’s cavities. You need to pick one based on the filling’s durability, its look, your budget, and a dentist’s recommendation. Keep reading to learn more about different dental fillings that could be suitable for your child.
Different Types of Children’s Dental Fillings
Every one of these fillings has its own set of advantages and disadvantages. We recommend discussing your options with your child’s dentist before making a decision about the type of filling you want to use.
Silver amalgams or metal amalgams are a combination of silver, tin, mercury, and copper. They’re one of the most affordable fillings available and they also last long, for well over ten years. Silver amalgam fillings can be used to restore any type of tooth damage, including filling in large cavities.
However, amalgam fillings can contract and expand over time, creating cracks in your child’s teeth and causing tooth strain. Some parents also prefer to not opt for silver amalgam because they have concerns about the mercury content present in the fillings. While the ADA has no clinical evidence to prove that amalgam fillings could be harmful, some parents prefer a more prudent choice anyway.
The silver color of the fillings stands out against the natural color of your child’s teeth and is easily noticeable. We recommend opting for silver amalgam fillings if you want a durable and affordable filling as opposed to an aesthetic one.
Composite Resin Fillings
Composite resin fillings or tooth-colored fillings are made of acrylic resin, plastic materials, and powdered glass. They’re a popular choice with many parents as they’re a safe and effective dental filling material for children. Composite resin can also be colored to match the natural color of your child’s teeth. This means that they’re undetectable and blend in well with neighboring teeth.
The material is quite durable and can bond well with your child’s tooth, making it stronger and less likely to move or break. Composite resin fillings can also help preserve more of your child’s natural tooth structure.
However, composite resin is more expensive than a metal amalgam filling. So if you have a strict budget, then they may not be ideal for your child. The process of placing composite resin fillings also takes a lot longer than amalgam fillings. This could pose a potential challenge to the dentist, especially if your child is fidgety and cannot sit still for long periods of time.
Stainless Steel Crowns
Stainless steel crowns are an ideal choice for primary teeth for many reasons. Baby teeth are not as large or thick as permanent teeth, therefore, when you get a cavity, it takes away more tooth structure. Stainless steel crowns have a very high success rate for the lifetime of a tooth and rarely, if ever, need to be replaced. They also require little chair time or cooperation from a patient.
The biggest downfall is there color, being silver and not the most aesthetically pleasing (Suri Cruise rocked one for a while!). Additionally, they do contain nickel so if your child has an allergy, an alternative option will need to be selected.
Which Dental Filling Would Work Best for Your Child?
There isn’t one particular type of dental filling that is universally agreed upon as the most suitable filling for children. Talk to your pediatric dentist and get their professional advice on which fillings would benefit your child’s condition.
A dentist might recommend different fillings based on the nature of your child’s cavities, and the extent of the filling process. You also need to think about budgetary and aesthetic considerations when picking out a dental filling for your child’s teeth.
Most importantly, if your children are old enough, don’t forget to ask them for their opinions too. While the final decision still lies with you, it’s important to listen to your child’s choices and wherever possible, try and incorporate them into your decisions.
If your child needs to have their cavities filled, get in touch with our pediatric dentist at The Children’s Dental Center in Coralville, IA. Our team provides all the dental care and services that your child may need, including, routine dental check-ups, dental sealants, and dental fillings. Contact us today to schedule your child’s dental appointment. If you have any questions for us, feel free to call us at 319-626-KIDS (5437) or contact us online!