How to Prepare for Your Child’s First Tooth Filling

prepare for child's first tooth filling Hudsonville MI

Did you know 42% of children ages 2-11 have had at least one cavity? There’s a good chance that your child will need a tooth filling before they reach adolescence. Fortunately, aside from teeth cleanings, our Hudsonville, MI, pediatric dentist also offers restorative dental care like tooth fillings to help protect children’s growing smiles.

Here are a few steps you can take to prepare for your child’s first tooth filling.

1. Remain Calm

It can be frightening to hear that your child has a cavity. However, it’s important to stay calm. Children will mirror their parents’ emotions; if you’re scared, your child likely will be, too. 

Remember, tooth fillings are one of the most common dental procedures. They’re safe, effective, and virtually painless. There is no shame in your child having a cavity or needing a tooth filling. 

Some adults suffer from dental anxiety or even dental phobia. Often, parents can unintentionally pass their anxieties and fears to their children. By staying calm, you will set a good example for your child and hopefully prevent your child from developing any anxiety or fears regarding the dentist.

2. Explain the Situation Appropriately

Children often understand more than we expect. However, it’s important to tailor our explanations to their age level.

For example, your child may not be able to understand dental terms like “cavities” or “tooth filling.” Some words may also sound scary, like “drill” or “decay.”

Many parents and dentists choose to explain cavities as “teeth that need a little extra cleaning” or even “sugar spots.” This helps your child know what is happening in a way they can understand.

The worst thing you can do is not prepare your child at all. No information at all can lead to fear or even panic. Your child needs to understand where they’re going and what will happen in a way that makes sense for their age.

It’s also important to avoid blame and shame. Stay away from saying things like, “You didn’t brush your teeth, so now you have to have a big procedure at the dentist’s office.” Turning a dental visit into a form of punishment will only encourage anxiety and fear, not healthy dental habits.

3. Discuss Sedation Options

At Hudsonville Dental Kids, we do everything we can to make your child’s experience as comfortable as possible.

Many children do well at the dentist if they feel safe and know what to expect. However, some children may be nervous, fidgety, or even scared, no matter how well you try to prepare them. 

Laughing gas is a safe, common sedation option to help children feel more relaxed in the dentist’s chair. It’s safe for children of all ages, from toddlers to teens, and it allows your child to stay conscious and engaged during the procedure while also feeling calm and relaxed.

We also offer mild oral sedation via pill or syrup. Mild oral sedation is another option to help your child remain awake yet relaxed at the dentist.

Speak with our team if you think your child may benefit from laughing gas or mild oral sedation.

Do Cavities in Baby Teeth Really Need Fillings?

Cavities are a common occurrence in both baby teeth (also known as primary teeth) and adult teeth (also known as permanent teeth).

However, children’s primary teeth eventually fall out. It’s only natural that parents may wonder, “Since this tooth isn’t permanent anyway, why pay for a tooth filling?”

Although baby teeth aren’t permanent, a cavity can still threaten the health of the adult tooth that has yet to emerge. Tooth decay can also spread from a baby tooth to a neighboring adult tooth that has already come in. 

No matter if your child’s cavity is in a baby tooth or an adult tooth, it likely needs a tooth filling to ensure the health of your child’s smile.

Call Hudsonville Dental Kids

Our pediatric dentist in Hudsonville, MI, offers tooth fillings to help restore your child’s smile after cavities. Call Hudsonville Dental Kids today at (616) 209-4039, or contact us online to schedule an appointment.

This blog post has been updated.