Are White Fillings for Baby Teeth Necessary? | Sprout


Are White Fillings for Baby Teeth Necessary?

Many parents assume that fillings in baby teeth aren’t necessary for their child. After all, baby teeth will eventually fall out and permanent teeth will arrive in place of them, right? So what’s the big deal?

White fillings, otherwise known as “Resin” fillings are a popular method for treating decay or enamel fractures in baby teeth because they have the look and feel of real teeth, have the safety and efficacy approval of the FDA, and are long-lasting.

The truth is, the health of baby teeth can determine the health of their permanent replacements. Treating decay now will prevent serious issues later. Keep reading to find out why fillings in baby teeth can be a crucial first step in helping your child develop a healthy smile well into adulthood.

Why Fix Baby Teeth?

There are several reasons to fix baby teeth. According to the CDC, leaving decayed or damaged baby teeth untreated can also increase the risks of: 

  • Oral infections
  • Speech problems
  • Issues with eating and digestion
  • Severe pain
  • Difficulty learning and/or focusing in school

What is a resin filling?

Resin fillings are a dental composite made from ceramic acrylic (the same material used to make grandpa’s dentures), and protected by other ceramic particles such as glass or quartz. Patients prefer these fillings over the silver amalgam alternative used in traditional dentistry because they can accurately imitate the color and appearance of tooth enamel making them more aesthetically pleasing.

When Do We Use Resin Fillings?

Resin fillings in baby teeth can help treat decay or enamel fractures that are small to medium in size. When a larger restoration is needed, your child’s dentist may recommend stainless steel crowns as a better option. 

If your child has baby teeth that have cracked, broken, or decayed, it can lead to space loss and result in their permanent teeth growing crooked or in the wrong place. When a cavity is left untreated for example, the damage can cause a dental infection which may ultimately lead to a gum boil or even worse, a malformation in the enamel of the newly emerging adult tooth. 

At Sprout Kids Dentistry, we can assess the extent of your child’s dental decay or broken teeth and provide expert recommendations to help determine what the best treatment options are. Whether it’s a white resin filling, a stainless steel crown, or a different treatment option, evaluating the risks and benefits is very important.

Advantages of Resin Fillings

White fillings are becoming increasingly popular in pediatric dentistry for several reasons:

  • They provide a perfect color match for natural teeth
  • Resin fillings are durable and can last anywhere from 1-7 years
  • Sometimes they can be used to correct minor enamel imperfections or enamel fractures
  • There is a reduced risk of fillings coming out
  • Resin isn’t prone to expansion like other materials

Disadvantages of Resin Fillings

Though resin fillings are generally a great option, they aren’t suitable for every patient. Some disadvantages include:

  • They last approximately half as long as silver amalgam fillings
  • They’re more expensive than other types of fillings
  • Placing resin fillings in teeth is a longer process
  • This type of filling can only be used to repair small or moderately sized cavities

How Long Do Fillings Last?

Resin fillings will not last as long as silver amalgam fillings. A white filling will last an average of 2-7 years. With proper care, they may last ten years or longer. Every child is different, however, and the lifespan of resin feelings will depend on several factors, including the following:

  • Oral hygiene
  • Diet
  • Genetics
  • The patient’s overall health

Are Resin Fillings Safe?

It’s natural for parents to worry about the safety of resin fillings. Fillings have been the subject of controversy over the years, especially regarding the safety of amalgam fillings. 

While amalgam fillings developed a bad reputation because they contain trace amounts of mercury, the debate around resin fillings has to do with the Bisphenol A component found in plastics and resins (BPA). Concerns are largely related to whether BPA leaks into the body and potentially accumulates in fatty tissue. 

To address concerns, Sprout Kids Dentistry uses Beautifil Kids SA made by Shofu, and Grandeo SO made by Voco. These are BPA-free composite resins for white-filling procedures and sealants.

Composite Resin Fillings Procedure

Receiving resin fillings is a fairly simple process that can be completed in one visit. There are a few steps to expect during an hour-long appointment for white fillings at Sprout Kids Dentistry. 

Step One: Selecting a Shade

The first thing a dentist will do when considering a resin filling procedure is determine which color will match your child’s teeth best.

Step Two: Anesthesia

The next step is to give an injection of Novocaine to numb the area around the decayed tooth. This will ensure the procedure is painless. 

Step Three: Removing Decay

If the patient needs a filling due to a cavity, your Sprout Kids dentist will remove the decayed part of the tooth that has been damaged. 

Step Four: Cleaning and Drying

After removing any existing decay, the dentist will ensure the tooth is clean and dry before placing the filling. Moisture prevents proper bonding to the tooth, so this is a very important step. If the patient requires tooth shaving, this will be done during this step as well. 

Step Five: Dental Bonding

Bonding refers to the process of repairing cracks or fractured enamel. This includes repairing medium-sized chips.

Step Six: Layering Resin Material

After the tooth has been cleaned, dried, and bonded, the next step is to begin the process of layering the white filling material. This entails using a curing light to allow the white filling material to set. 

Step Seven: Shaping and Polishing

The final step is for the dentist to shape, contour, and polish each repaired tooth to ensure a perfect look and bite. 

Keep Your Child’s Smile Happy and Healthy with Sprout Kids Dentistry

Going to the dentist should be a safe and comfortable experience for children, especially when they’re getting something done to their teeth like fillings. If you’re looking for the right dentist in the Boston area to help your child relax during dental work, look no further than Sprout Kids Dentistry. Schedule a consultation with us today by filling out our online contact form so we can help your little one get their oral health back on track!

Dr. Michelle Anderson is a pediatric dentist board certified by the American Board of Pediatric Dentistry.

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