Many parents assume that fillings in baby teeth aren’t necessary for their children. After all, baby teeth will eventually fall out and permanent teeth will grow in their place. So why resin fillings in baby teeth?
Resin fillings are a popular method for treating decay or fractures in baby teeth because they emulate the look of real teeth, have safety approval from the FDA, and are long-lasting.
The fact of the matter is that the health of kids’ baby teeth can determine the health of their permanent ones. Treating decay now will prevent serious issues later. Read on to find out why fillings in baby teeth can be a crucial step in helping your child develop a healthy smile in the future.
What Is a Resin Filling?
Just what is resin filling for teeth?
Resin fillings are a dental composite made from acrylic and protected by other ceramic particles such as glass or quartz. Patients prefer these fillings over the metal alternatives used in traditional dentistry because they are more aesthetically pleasing and look like real teeth.
When Do We Use Resin Fillings?
Why do dentists put fillings in baby teeth? Resin fillings in baby teeth can help treat decay or fractures that are small to medium in size. When a larger restoration is needed, stainless steel crowns are the best option.
If your child has baby teeth that are cracked, broken, or decayed, it can lead to their permanent teeth growing crooked or in the wrong place. When a cavity is left untreated for example, the damage can create a malformation in the new emerging tooth.
Our dentists can assess your child’s unique situation and provide expert recommendations to help determine what the best treatment is. Whether it’s resin filling or a different treatment option, evaluating the risks and benefits is important.
Why Fix Baby Teeth?
There are several reasons to fix baby teeth. Aside from helping your child feel better about their smile, treating primary teeth can improve their chances of having healthy adult teeth. It can also prevent more serious issues from developing, such as an abscess from untreated decay.
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
Advantages of Resin Fillings
Resin fillings are becoming increasingly popular in dentistry for several reasons:
- They provide a perfect color match for natural teeth (In dentistry, this procedure code is called resin composite 2s posterior)
- Resin fillings are durable and can last up to seven years
- You can use them to correct imperfections or damage
- 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 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 for small or moderately sized restorations
How Long Do Composite Fillings Last?
Resin fillings will not last as long as other types of fillings. A composite filling will last an average of five to seven years. With proper care, they may last ten years or longer. Every patient is different however, and the lifespan of resin feelings will depend on several factors, including the following:
- Oral hygiene
- The patient’s overall health
Are Resin Fillings Safe?
It’s natural for patients to worry about the safety of their fillings. Teeth fillings have been the subject of controversy over the years, especially regarding the safety of amalgam fillings.
While amalgam fillings developed a bad reputation due to containing mercury, the debate around resin fillings has to do with the BPA components. Concerns are largely related to whether BPA leaks into the body and potentially accumulates in fatty tissue.
To address concerns, the FDA released several guidelines. The agency concluded that there isn’t available evidence to suggest that resin fillings are harmful. In certain clinical situations, they may be a better alternative to amalgam fillings. Moreover, the FDA doesn’t consider BPA to be a health concern given the small amounts released during application.
In regard to amalgams, health agencies do recommend a more limited use and propose a few limitations. These include avoiding amalgam if the patient is pregnant or has a health condition that puts them more at risk from mercury exposure. In these situations, resin fillings may be a much safer alternative.
Composite 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 appointment for resin fillings.
Step One: Selecting a Shade
The first thing a dentist will do when considering a resin filling procedure is determine which tooth color filling or shade works best with the natural teeth.
Step Two: Anesthesia
The next step is to apply a simple injection of local anesthesia to numb the area around the affected teeth. This will ensure the procedure is painless.
Step Three: Removing Decay
If the patient needs a filling due to the presence of cavities, dentists will remove any affected part of the tooth that shows damage.
Step Four: Cleaning and Drying
After removing any existing decay, the dentist will ensure teeth are cleaned and dried before beginning the application process. Moisture inhibits proper adhesion to teeth, so this is an 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 broken parts of a tooth. This includes repairing small chips.
Step Six: Layering Resin Material
After the teeth have been cleaned, dried, and bonded, the next step is to begin the process of layering material. This entails using a light for curing the materials and allowing them to set.
Step Seven: Shaping and Polishing
The final step is for the dentist to shape and contour each repaired tooth to ensure a perfect fit. Lastly, the teeth will be polished.
Even though children grow new teeth, the health of their adult teeth will largely depend on the care their baby teeth receive. It’s common for children to chip their baby teeth or develop cavities, so the dentists at Children’s Dental FunZoe can help you determine the best course of action and help to prep your child for their appointment. In many cases, resin fillings are the most appropriate treatment and can help ensure future oral health.
Evelyn Lahiji, Children’s Dental FunZone Executive Director, joined the company in 2007 with her extensive knowledge of the dental field due to years of working in every position at multiple dental offices. Under her leadership, 12 additional offices opened and quickly became successful. Evelyn works hard to ensure all operations are running smoothly both in the offices and at home raising 2 energetic young boys.