Composite Fillings (Tooth-Colored Fillings) For Children

More than half of children over age six have some degree of tooth decay. When cavities are left untreated, they can lead to pain, infection and even tooth loss. Fortunately, pediatric dentists can fill cavities to prevent them from worsening or causing complications. Modern dentistry has made it possible to fill cavities discreetly using tooth-colored fillings, also known as composites. Children with tooth-colored fillings can retain decayed teeth in a way that is both functionally effective and visually appealing.

DID YOU KNOW…

that tooth decay is the most common chronic disease affecting children in the U.S.? According to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, children as young as 6 months old can experience tooth decay. Tooth-colored fillings can repair damaged teeth, but the most effective form of treatment is prevention. Parents can help their children prevent cavities by limiting exposure to sugary foods and beverages.

Frequently Asked Questions

WHAT WILL MY CHILD EXPERIENCE WHEN GETTING A TOOTH-COLORED FILLING?

Your child’s teeth and gums will be numbed using a local anesthetic. The dentist will then remove decay from the teeth and clean the treatment site. A composite material will be bonded to the tooth surface and cured. Finally, the filling will be adjusted for comfort. Though most children experience little or no discomfort during this process, it is normal to feel some pressure. If your child has dental anxiety or concerns about the treatment process, speak with your child’s dentist about sedation options.

DOES MY CHILD NEED A FILLING?

Your child may need a dental filling if he or she has cavities. Though some cavities are obvious and cause pain, many are less easily seen and asymptomatic. That is why all children should visit a pediatric dentist twice yearly for a professional dental exam. Regular exams can identify tooth decay in earliest phases when it is most easily treated.

HOW LONG WILL A COMPOSITE RESIN FILLING LAST IN A CHILD?

Composite fillings are very strong and capable of withstanding normal wear and tear in children. Most tooth-colored fillings will last many years so long as children brush twice daily, floss once per day, adopt healthy dietary habits and visit a pediatric dentist regularly for exams.

Your Child’s First Visit

Children should have a dental care home – preferably with a pediatric dentist who specializes in the oral health of children and adolescents. Early childhood dental visits help a child acclimate to the dental environment and become comfortable with his or her oral care provider. By attending appointments on a regular basis, children learn to put a value on oral care and establish healthy habits that can last a lifetime. The first dental visit is different for each child depending on the age and overall oral health of the patient.

DID YOU KNOW…

that despite recommendations by the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry to see a dentist for the first time by age one, the majority of children in the U.S. do not have a first dental appointment until long after age two? Unfortunately, waiting has its consequences. As children get older, their risk for tooth decay increases – something that is more easily prevented with early oral care.

Frequently Asked Questions

WHAT WILL HAPPEN DURING MY CHILD’S FIRST DENTAL APPOINTMENT?

The first dental appointment begins with questions about your child’s medical and oral health history. You will also be given an opportunity to discuss any questions you have as a parent or any symptoms your child may have been experiencing. Depending on your child’s age, the dentist may visually examine the teeth and/or gums for signs of decay or other complications.

Older kids may have their teeth cleaned and x-rayed for closer examination. Dentists often use the first dental appointment as an opportunity to speak with parents about the brushing, flossing and the importance of fluoride. It is also the time when pediatric dentists speak with parents about teething, preventing and beverages that contain sugar.

HOW DO I CHOOSE A DENTIST FOR MY CHILD?

Parents must be selective in choosing a dentist for their children. Though any dentist is capable of caring for your child’s teeth, a pediatric dentist specializes only in the treatment of children and adolescents. Pediatric dentists know how to relate to children and how to make them feel comfortable in the dental chair. For more information about pediatric dentistry, contact our office.

HOW OFTEN SHOULD MY CHILD VISIT THE DENTIST?

Children with healthy mouths and teeth typically need to visit the dentist every six months for routine check-ups and preventative care, such as cleanings and fluoride treatments. However, your child’s dentist may recommend an alternate schedule that better accommodates your child’s needs.

6 Ways to Reduce Your Child’s Sugary Snacking

When working with her young patients, pediatric dentist and ADA spokesperson Dr. Mary Hayes teaches them this simple, but important, saying: “Sugar is fun to eat, but not good for your teeth!”

That’s because your child might love sweet treats, but the bacteria in his or her mouth loves them even more. “Sucrose (sugar) is the ‘food’ for the bacteria that cause tooth decay,” Dr. Hayes says. “Those bacteria produce acid that etches away the teeth.”

Limiting the amount of sugar your entire family eats is good for your teeth and key to your overall health. Here are some dentist-recommended ways to start saying good-bye to unnecessary sugar throughout the day.

Know the Limits

When choosing a snack, keep an eye on added sugar (sweeteners like corn syrup or white sugar that are added to prepared foods). Naturally occurring sugars are less worrisome, as they are found in healthy choices like milk and fruit.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration recommends that people age 3 and older should consume no more than 12.5 tsp. each day of added sugar. (The same as one can of soda.) The World Health Organization states that adults should consume no more than 6 tsp. of added sugar, and children should have no more than 3 tsp.

When reading labels, you’ll see sugar is listed in grams. Since 1 tsp. of sugar equals 4 grams, aim to make sure the foods you are feeding your child fall between 12 to 50 grams a day.

The Truth About Juice

Because juice is high in sugar and calories, water and milk are always the best options for your little one. In fact, if your child is under 1 years old, the American Academy of Pediatrics suggests completely removing juice from his or her diet.

Older children can occasionally drink juice, but if they do, there are two things to remember:

  • Children ages 1-6 should have no more than 4-6 oz. of juice each day, according to pediatric guidelines. Children ages 7 to 18 should drink no more than 8-12 oz. (Many juice boxes are about 6 oz., so younger children should have no more than one per day, and older children no more than two.)
  • Allowing your child to sip on juice throughout the day puts him or her at higher risk for tooth decay because you’re giving that cavity-causing bacteria more opportunities to eat and produce the acid that eats away at teeth. This can also happen with juice that is watered down. “Even though the volume of sugar has decreased, you’ve added the time that it takes to drink it,” says ADA spokesperson Dr. Jonathan Shenkin.

So what’s a parent to do? Limit the amount of juice your children drink, and always offer water or milk first. If your child does drink juice, serve the recommended, age-appropriate limits at mealtimes only. When your family is done eating, clean up any leftover juice instead of letting your children leave the table with it.

Skip the Soda

Call it soda, call it pop. But sugary, carbonated beverages by any name are bad news for your child’s teeth. “One can of soda is the amount of sugar recommended for three days for a child,” Dr. Hayes says.

In fact, a February 2016 study in the Journal of the American Dental Association found a strong association between sugary drinks and poor dental health in teenagers. Researchers asked teens 14-19 in Mexico about how many sugary beverages they drank, then examined their teeth. They found 31.7% had tooth erosion, which means their enamel had been eaten away. The main culprit? Soda.

Be Picky About Sticky Snacks

If you’ve been under the impression that gummy or sticky fruit snacks are healthy alternatives, you’re not alone. Many parents are surprised to learn they are really closer to candy than fruit, especially when it comes to sugar. “Fruit rollups and other dried fruit snacks are like nature’s candy,” Dr. Shenkin says. “It is like candy, but in some respect it’s worse than candy because it sticks to teeth longer than things like milk chocolate, which is easier to wash away.”

Foods like raisins, which are often promoted as an all-natural snack option, can be troublesome. “The raisin is one of the worst foods because they’re so sticky and they actually adhere to teeth and stay there for an extended amount of time,” he says. “The sugar in that food is being consumed by the bacteria in our mouth during that time.”

Serve Carbs with Care

Whether it’s the crunch or the fact that they’re shaped like their favorite animals, kids love crackers and chips. The truth? “Many crackers are cookies with salt,” Dr. Hayes says. Not only do the carbohydrates in things like crackers and chips break down into sugar, they also tend to get stuck in the tops of your teeth for long periods of time.

Set an Example

You’d do anything for your kids. Now, are you ready to do all of the above for yourself too? Dr. Shenkin says setting an example can make a big difference in your whole family’s health. Eat well, brush twice a day for two minutes and clean between your teeth once a day. “If you want to change your child’s habits, it isn’t just about what they do,” he says. “Do the same thing with them.”

Top 9 Foods That Damage Your Teeth

What you eat matters

While these hard candies seem harmless, eat too many and the constant exposure to sugar can be harmful to your teeth. Hard candies also put your teeth at risk because in addition to being full of sugar, they can also trigger a dental emergency such as a broken or chipped tooth. Better alternative? Chew sugarless gum that carries the ADA Seal.

Ice is for chilling, not chewing

You’d be surprised at how many people think ice is good for their teeth. It’s made of water, after all, and doesn’t contain any sugar or other additives. But chewing on hard substances can leave your teeth vulnerable to a dental emergency and damage enamel. Advice:Break the habit and enjoy water in its liquid form.

Watch your citrus intake

The truth is that frequent exposures to acidic foods can erode enamel, making teeth more susceptible to decay over time. So even though a a squeeze of lemon or lime can turn a simple glass of water into a fun beverage, it’s not always the best choice for your mouth. Citric fruits and juices can also irritate mouth sores. Make sure to drink plenty of plain water.

Not all coffee is good for you

In their natural form, coffee and tea can be healthy beverage choices. Unfortunately too many people can’t resist adding sugar. Caffeinated coffee and tea can also dry out your mouth. Frequent drinks of coffee and tea may also stain your teeth. If you do consume, make sure to drink plenty of water and try to keep the add-ons to a minimum.

Sticky foods are your mouth’s worst nightmare

When it comes to picking healthy snacks, many people put dried fruit at the top of the list. But many dried fruits are sticky. Sticky foods can damage your teeth since they tend to stay on the teeth longer than other types of food. If you find yourself eating dried fruits or trail mix often, make sure to rinse with water after and to brush and floss carefully.

Beware of things that go “crunch”

Who doesn’t love the nice, satisfying crunch of a potato chip? Unfortunately potato chips are filled with starch, which tends to get trapped in your teeth. If you choose to indulge in snacks like these, take extra care when you floss that day to remove all the food particles that can lead to plaque build-up.

Swap out soda with water

When you eat sugary foods or sip sugary drinks for long periods of time, plaque bacteria use that sugar to produce acids that attack your enamel, the hard surface of your tooth. Most carbonated soft drinks, including diet soda, are acidic and therefore, bad for your teeth. Caffeinated beverages, such as colas can also dry out your mouth. If you do consume soft drinks, try to drink alongside a cup of water.

Limit alcohol consumption

Alcohol causes dehydration and dry mouth. People who drink excessively may find their saliva flow is reduced over time, which can lead to tooth decay and other oral infections such as gum disease. Heavy alcohol use also increases your risk for mouth cancer.

Watch out for sports drinks

They sound healthy, but sugar is a top ingredient for many sports and energy drinks. The American Academy of Pediatrics says sports drinks can be helpful for young athletes engaged in prolonged, vigorous physical activities, but unnecessary in most cases. Before your next sip, check the label to make sure your drink of choice is low in sugar or drink water.

Good Foods for Dental Health

Water rules

Water, especially fluoridated water, is the best beverage for maintaining your oral health. That’s because fluoride helps to make teeth more resistant to the acid attacks that can cause cavities. As of 2012, nearly 75 percent of the U.S. population had access to fluoridated water, so drinking water from your own kitchen sink can help prevent dental problems.

If you can, choose dairy

Milk, and other dairy products such as cheese and yogurt, are low in sugar, which is a good thing for your dental health. Plus, they contain protein and are full of calcium, which can help to strengthen your teeth.

Lean proteins for the win

Phosphorus-rich foods such as meat, poultry, fish, milk and eggs help to strengthen your teeth and contain valuable protein.

Fruits and veggies pack an extra punch

Fruits and veggies are an important part of any balanced diet, and they are also good for your teeth. Since they are high in water and fiber, they help to balance the sugars they contain and help to clean your teeth. Chewing also helps to stimulate saliva production, which washes harmful acids and food particles away from your teeth.

Nourishing nuts

Nuts contain protein and minerals important for overall health. In addition, nuts that are low in carbohydrates don’t add to your risk of cavities. Why? Because tooth decay is caused by acid-producing bacteria that are activated by carbs. Another benefit is that chewing nuts stimulates saliva production, which can reduce your risk for tooth decay.

How to Get a Picture-Perfect Wedding Smile

The first thing Larry Dougherty noticed about his dental school classmate Ana Paula Ferraz was her long, jet black hair. As Ana got to know Larry, she fell in love with his kindness and sense of humor.

After dental school, it was “I do” for the couple. Ana and Larry married in a small, 60-person wedding at an old estate home in Miami. One of their most special guests – the couple’s rat terrier Chi Chi, in full top-hat regalia – even rode to the wedding with Larry in the limo. “It was perfect,” Ana says. “We couldn’t stop smiling.” And they haven’t stopped since. Today, dentists Ana and Larry run their own practice and have some “been there, done that” advice to share for anyone getting ready to celebrate a wedding.

Whitening for the Wedding

The dress isn’t the only thing that’s white at many weddings. Some couples, including Ana and Larry, whiten their teeth for sparkling smiles on the big day. “If I were to whiten my teeth for a wedding, which I did, I would have a dentist do the whitening in an office,” Dr. Ferraz said. “That way, you can see results right away and not have to worry about placing whitening trays in your mouth every day.”

Because whitening can make your teeth feel more sensitive, Ana and Larry whitened their teeth a month before the big day. “We scheduled the appointment early to give our smiles time to adjust, which I recommend,” she says. “That way, by your actual wedding day, your teeth aren’t too sensitive.”

There are also some at-home options you can use, such as trays you can get from your dentist. You can also use whitening toothpaste or strips with the ADA Seal of Acceptance. That way, you know they are safe and effective. Ask your dentist which method is best for you, but above all, stay away from home remedies, which can actually do more harm than good.

Schedule a Dental Appointment Early On

“Weddings mark such momentous days in our lives, and our smiles are a big part of them,” Ana says. “The last thing you want to worry about is a toothache on your wedding day or on your honeymoon.”
If you don’t see a dentist regularly, the time leading up to your wedding can be a great time to start. Schedule an appointment a few months out to avoid painful and possibly expensive problems around your wedding. “I once cared for a patient whose wisdom teeth were infected less than two weeks before her wedding,” he says. “Having regular dental visits can help reduce your chances of a dental emergency or needing a procedure that close to the wedding.”  Need a dentist? Find one today!

Wedding Day Must-Haves

If your bridesmaids are putting together an emergency kit, there’s one item Ana recommends bringing along. “Have one of your bridesmaids carry floss and little compact mirror to make sure there’s nothing in your teeth and everything looks good,” she says. “That’s what I did.”
Regular brushing and cleaning between your teeth should help your breath stay fresh, but feel free to also pack some sugarless gum with the ADA Seal of Acceptance if you need a breath boost during the day. “Also, avoid food that can leave your breath not as fresh, like onions or garlic,” she says.

Commit to a Daily Dental Routine

Your wedding is just one small part of a long life with your partner. When it comes to your dental routine, don’t let it slide after tying the knot. Ana and Larry followed a healthy dental routine before the wedding.—and have kept up a sweet daily ritual together since then.  “We have our own little routine in the morning where we brush and floss together,” Ana says of her bathroom moments with Larry.

Sometimes, they even chat over the noisy buzzing of their electronic toothbrushes. “It can be hard to hear her but that doesn’t keep me from talking,” Larry says. “I always have something nice to say.”

7 Ways to Make Brushing Fun for Kids

If you think you’re busy, try being a kid. In addition to school, activities and family time, they’re learning how to take care of themselves and others in new ways every single day.

One of those necessary life skills every child needs to learn is brushing his or her teeth. Helping your child get in the habit of brushing twice a day for two minutes is no small feat, but a little creativity can go a long way when it comes to his or her long-term dental health.

Need to brush up on the basics of cleaning your child’s teeth? Watch the video above to find out how to brush your child’s teeth. Then, get started! Here’s how:

Have 4 Minutes of Fun

Don’t just set a timer and supervise – make brushing twice a day for two minutes an event! Crank up your child’s favorite song and have a two-minute dance party. Videos or brushing apps may also make that time fly by. (Older children might enjoy the videos on 2min2x.com, and younger brushers might like these.) Try reading a 2-minute story using all your best voices. Whatever you do, get creative and switch things up so brushing time is always a good time.

Start a Routine and Stick to It

You may be tempted to let your child skip brushing after a long day or during times when your normal schedule is off (like vacation), but keep at it. The more second nature brushing becomes the easier it will be to make sure your child is brushing twice a day for two minutes.

Reward Good Brushing Behavior

What motivates your child? If its stickers, make a reward chart and let him add one every time he brushes. If he’s a reader, let him pick out the bedtime story. Maybe it’s as simple as asking to see that healthy smile, saying “I’m so proud of you” and following up with a huge high five.

Characters Count

Who is the character your child can’t get enough of? Many children’s shows and books, including Sesame Street, have stories about brushing. Watch and read them together, so when it’s time to brush you can use that character as a good example.

Make Up a Story

Haven’t found a story or character to inspire your child? Make up your own. Your child just might be the only superhero who can brush away the bad guys that cause cavities.

Go Shopping

Let your child pick out his own toothbrush and toothpaste. (We recommend ones with the ADA Seal of Acceptance.) Choosing a character toothbrush might make brushing more fun, and fluoride toothpastes come in a variety of flavors and colors.

Make Brushing a Family Affair

Your children learn from you, so set a good example. The family that brushes together has even more reason to smile.

Travel Tips for Your Teeth

Make Time for a Checkup

Even when you’re dreaming about vacation, there’s no place like home–especially a dental home base. “Prevention isn’t only taking care of your teeth,” Dr. Messina says. “It’s establishing a relationship with a dentist.” If you can, schedule your next regular visit before your trip. “Have a thorough exam so we can spot any problems before they happen,” Dr. Messina says. You’ll have peace of mind, and your dentist will have the most up-to-date information on your teeth, including x-rays.

In Case of Emergency…

Have your dentist’s contact info handy in your cell phone or keep a business card in your wallet. “If you think you need to talk to somebody, you probably do,” Dr. Messina says. In fact, more dental emergencies can be resolved over the phone than you might think (especially if you keep up regular visits). “As a patient, it’s hard to know the difference between something that needs to be treated right away and something that can wait until you get home,” he says. ”That’s what we are here for.”

US embassy

In Case of Emergency Overseas…

If you are out of the country and absolutely in need of a dentist, Dr. Messina recommends getting in touch with the local consulate or U.S. embassy. “While talking to the concierge at the hotel is OK, ask the consulate and their employees for a recommendation,” he says. “It’s an independent recommendation and not someone who may be driving business because of a contract or to a relative.”

Forget Your Toothbrush?

Sunscreen? Check. Phone charger? Check. Toothbrush? Oops. If you find yourself temporarily without a toothbrush, Dr. Messina says you can rinse vigorously with water to wash away some of that cavity-causing bacteria. You could also put some toothpaste on a clean washcloth or your clean finger in a pinch. When you finally get to the nearest drugstore, look for a toothbrush with the ADA Seal of Acceptance. If there aren’t any Seal products, buy the softest brush you can find.

Proper Toothbrush Transport

Letting your toothbrush air dry is how you keep your toothbrush clean at home, but that’s not always possible on vacation. What’s a traveling toothbrush to do? “I’m a big fan of resealable plastic bags. Keeping your toothbrush clean and out of contact with other things is more important that making sure it’s dry on vacation,” Dr. Messina says. “A bag keeps your toothbrush separate from everything else in your luggage. When you get there, pop it open and let your brush air dry.”

How Does Fluoride Protect Teeth?

Fluoride benefits both children and adults. Here’s how:

Before teeth break through the gums, the fluoride taken in from foods, beverages and dietary supplements makes tooth enamel (the hard surface of the tooth) stronger, making it easier to resist tooth decay. This provides what is called a “systemic” benefit.

After teeth erupt, fluoride helps rebuild (remineralize) weakened tooth enamel and reverses early signs of tooth decay. When you brush your teeth with fluoride toothpaste, or use other fluoride dental products, the fluoride is applied to the surface of your teeth. This provides what is called a “topical” benefit.

In addition, the fluoride you take in from foods and beverages continues to provide a topical benefit because it becomes part of your saliva, constantly bathing the teeth with tiny amounts of fluoride that help rebuild weakened tooth enamel.

How Do I Get Fluoride?

Drink Water with Fluoride 
Fluoride is naturally found in most all water sources, rivers, lakes, wells and even the oceans. For the past 70 years, fluoride has been added to public water supplies to bring fluoride levels up to the amount necessary to help prevent tooth decay.

Community water fluoridation is like drinking milk fortified with Vitamin D or eating bread and cereals enriched with folic acid. Before water fluoridation, children had about three times as many cavities.  Because of the important role it has played in the reduction of tooth decay, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has proclaimed community water fluoridation one of ten great public health achievements of the 20th century. Studies prove water fluoridation continues to help prevent tooth decay by at least 25% in children and adults, even with fluoride available from other sources, such as toothpaste.  Today, almost 75 percent of the U.S. population is served by fluoridated community water systems.

Learn more about water fluoridation.

 

Use Toothpaste and Mouthrinse with Fluoride
Toothpaste
 with fluoride has been responsible for a significant drop in cavities since 1960. Look for one with the ADA Seal of Acceptance to make sure it contains fluoride.

  • Brush twice a day (morning and night) or as directed by your dentist and physician.
  • For children younger than 3 years, start brushing their teeth as soon as they start to appear in the mouth by using fluoride toothpaste in an amount no more than a smear or the size of a grain of rice.
  • For children 3 to 6 years old, use no more than a pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste.
  • Always supervise your child’s brushing to make sure they use the right amount and try to get your child to spit out most of the toothpaste.

Mouthwash with fluoride can help make your teeth more resistant to decay, but children six years or younger should not use it unless it’s been recommended by a dentist. Many children younger than 6 are more likely to swallow it than spit it out because their swallowing reflexes aren’t fully developed.

 

Visit Your Dentist for a Professional Application
If you have a good chance of getting cavities, your dentist can apply fluoride directly to your teeth during your dental visit with a gel, foam or rinse.

 

Take a Fluoride Supplement
Available by prescription only, fluoride supplements come in tablet, drop or lozenge forms. They are recommended only for children ages six months to 16 years living in areas without adequate amounts of fluoride in their community drinking water and who are at high risk of developing cavities. Talk to your dentist, pediatrician or family physician about your child’s specific fluoride needs.

Does teething cause a baby to vomit?

Teething is a natural process that every infant goes through. It can be an uncomfortable experience, and it can be concerning for parents and caregivers to see the infant experiencing pain and discomfort.

The symptoms of teething vary from one infant to another. Some babies do not have any symptoms at all when their teeth come in. Others may become mildly irritable, begin to drool, lose their appetite, or cry more than usual. In some cases, vomiting and fever can accompany teething.

Many people believe that vomiting while teething is normal. However, most experts now agree that teething does not cause generalized symptoms, such as vomiting, fever, rash, and diarrhea.

The caregivers of infants who experience vomiting when teething should visit a doctor or pediatrician to determine the underlying cause of this symptom.

What is teething?

Teething and vomiting

Teething typically takes place between the ages of 6 and 12 months.

Teething occurs when an infant’s teeth first begin to break through the gums. This typically takes place between the ages of 6 and 12 months.

The two front teeth on the lower jaw usually appear first, with the other front teeth following. Molars are next to break through in most cases, with the canines arriving last.

By the age of 3 years, children usually have their full set of 20 baby teeth.

As it takes place over such a broad timespan, parents and caregivers often attribute many symptoms to teething. However, it is more likely that another condition, such as an infection, is causing these additional symptoms.

It can be helpful to understand which symptoms are normal and which are not when it comes to teething.

Typical symptoms of teething include:

  • chewing on objects
  • crying more than usual
  • mild difficulty sleeping
  • drooling more than usual
  • fussiness
  • loss of appetite
  • red, sore, tender, or swollen gums
  • a slight rise in body temperature (not over 101°F)

Research suggests that the symptoms of teething peak as the front teeth appear, which tends to occur between 6 and 16 months of age. As children get older, they are likely to experience fewer and milder symptoms when new teeth come through.

Teething does not typically cause the following symptoms:

  • congestion
  • a cough
  • diarrhea
  • high fever
  • increased number of stools
  • rash
  • refusal of liquids
  • vomiting