Are dental composite (white) fillings the best choice for children?

Has your dentist found a cavity in your child’s mouth? Are you wondering whether amalgam or tooth-colored fillings are the right option? Do you want to know what the advantages of composite fillings are? If you answered “yes” to any or all of the three questions above, you’ve come to the right place. Here are 7 reasons why we love using tooth-colored fillings for our pediatric patients.

1. Looks Better and More Cosmetic

Perhaps the most common reason parents choose composite fillings is because of how they blend in with your child’s natural teeth—so different from the gold and silver fillings used in the past. With tooth-colored fillings, your child’s friends and family may not even notice they had a cavity filled, which means your little one can laugh, speak, and chew just as they did before because what everyone will see is the same beautiful, healthy smile.

2. No Corrosion or Leakage

No matter how long your child has a white filling, the composite resin will never corrode, unlike silver-mercury fillings that corrode and rust over time. Since the tooth-colored material is directly bonded to the tooth, there’s no space for saliva to leak into and create new problems. This means not only does your child’s filling look natural, but you can have the confidence that their smile is as healthy as it looks.

3. Mercury-free Materials

White fillings consist of a non-toxic composite mixture of plastic and glass. There is zero mercury in the mixture, unlike with amalgam fillings. Tooth-colored fillings are not only non-toxic, but because they’re not made of metal, they won’t cause a reaction in children with metal allergies.

4. Less Sensitive to Hot and Cold

Another thing that makes composite fillings the best dental filling option for your child is their resilience to temperature changes. Metal fillings are more susceptible to thermal stresses—meaning they’ll expand and contract when exposed to hot or cold temperatures. This can lead to cracking and weakening of the enamel, which eventually causes toothaches and damaged teeth. With a tooth-colored filling, your child’s natural tooth structure won’t fracture or undergo the same thermal stresses because of the insulating property of the composite materials.

5. Long Lasting

Tooth-colored fillings can last up to 20 years when the teeth and gums are properly taken care of through a proper oral routine and regular dental checkups. This was not always the case, however. Early composite white-filling models were not strong enough to support the back teeth and withstand the constant chewing and grinding pressure for long periods of time. But with recent advancements in dentistry, tooth-colored fillings are now made from materials built to last. The filling will function just as effectively 10 years from now as the day it was placed. This safeguards the health of your child’s smile and gives you peace of mind that your little one’s oral health is on the right track.

6. Preserves More Tooth Structure

Placing a tooth-colored filling requires less removal of the natural tooth structure than its metal counterparts. The composite resin material easily bonds with the tooth and so the dentist only needs to prepare a small hole to get it to stick to the enamel, allowing more of the healthy tooth structure to remain intact. Typically, with amalgam fillings, your child’s dentist will need to drill a bigger hole to ensure the filling doesn’t break or loosen.

7. Quick and Painless Procedure

Visitors to our dental practice in Salem, OR, and followers of this blog know how much effort our team puts into making your child’s dental experience as pain-free and comfortable as possible. To that end, during your appointment, you and your little one should expect a tooth-colored filling procedure that’s not only painless but also quick. Drs. Day and Cooper may take less than an hour to treat one or two cavities. And if the filling ever gets damaged, it can just as easily patched, unlike amalgam fillings where the filling requires complete removal before repair.

If you have concerns about your child’s oral health or they are due for their six-month checkup, feel free to contact us for an appointment. We can’t wait to care for their smile.