When it comes to a dental visit, parents are often more nervous than their children. Therefore, we encourage parents to bring their children when they have a cleaning. This allows the child to explore the office, meet the staff, and even play with some Legos in the kids’ area. More often than not, this makes for a stress-free initial visit for both the child and the parents.
What happens when a cavity is detected at that initial visit or a subsequent exam? Regardless of a child’s age a filling or other restorative procedure can be a little scary the first time.
When seeing a child for the first time, I follow five simple steps to ensure that they have a positive experience.
We use composite, tooth-colored fillings, when restoring children’s teeth. In addition to looking more natural, composite has distinct advantages over the traditional silver fillings. Composite is a stronger material, which allows the dentist to be less invasive when placing a filling. It is also bonded to the tooth and immediately hardened with a UV light. This makes the filling more resistant to fracture, both immediately and long term.
Honestly, the last thing that parents usually consider when choosing a dentist for their children is their background in cosmetic dentistry. Unfortunately, a significant amount of children’s dentistry involves the adult teeth and is often the result of trauma. Far too often, we find ourselves in the office on a Saturday afternoon with a child, like the one above, who has fallen off their bike or been hit by a pitch. When a child comes home with a broken front tooth, a parent has two priorities; eliminate the pain and make the tooth look like it did originally.
Restoring an adult tooth on a child presents distinct challenges. The teeth are often still coming in and adjacent teeth may not be present. Treatment options normally used with adults are not practical for a child who is still growing. Dental composites can be used to create beautiful restorations, but only if the dentist takes the time to recreate the subtle textures and colors that are present on the natural teeth.