A guide to preventing cavities, repairing them with dental fillings

Tooth decay is the biggest threat to your child’s oral health. As children grow into adults, gum disease becomes a bigger threat. At Groat Pediatric Dentistry in San Pedro, California, every effort is made to protect both the teeth and gums. We are in a great position to help children develop healthy habits early in life. Furthermore, we catch problems in their earliest stages before they lead to the need for aggressive and extensive care later.

Cavities represent a type of tooth decay. With prompt treatment, we can stop this process of decay from progressing and causing irreversible damage. Fillings present a conservative alternative to crowns and other restorative dental care. They may be appropriate for smaller cavities. 

More about cavities

Oral bacteria produce acids that attack developing teeth whenever sugary or starchy beverages and foods are consumed. For this reason, our team, led by Dr. Christopher Groat, emphasizes good brushing and flossing techniques, which help minimize the amount of food particles left behind on the teeth and other surfaces. 

As these destructive acids work their way through the tooth structure, they erode the protective enamel surface and ultimately produce holes, or what we know as “cavities.” Without treatment, these holes or lost tooth structures caused by decay can become worse, larger, and more widespread. Deeper layers of the tooth may be affected and damaged. A baby tooth that supports the proper placement of its permanent counterpart may be lost. Or, the adult tooth may require root canal therapy just to “save it” and to avoid its removal and the need for a new prosthetic tooth later in life.

More about fillings 

Dental fillings are a standard procedure. Dentists have been placing a wide range of materials to “fill in” holes or cavities in the teeth for more than a century. Composite resin is one of the most attractive materials to strengthen and rebuild a damaged tooth. This advanced form of dental plastic can be perfectly color-matched to blend in with the surrounding tooth and the other teeth in your child’s smile. 

For this reason, these fillings are sometimes called “tooth-colored” or “white” fillings. These restorations are natural-looking and beautiful; however, the benefits of these fillings and materials do not stop here. Dr. Groat also removes minimal tooth structure and preserves most of the natural tissue when applying and bonding the filling material to the tooth. This feature helps support the repaired tooth’s long-term durability and natural function. 

The process is straightforward and simply involves applying the resin as a pliable material in layers to a tooth that has been prepared (damaged tissue is removed). The resin is hardened. Lastly, the tooth is shaped, refined, and polished. No further treatment is typically needed.

If your child is due for a check-up, do not wait to call us at (310) 832-5133. Your dental home at Groat Pediatric Dentistry in San Pedro, CA, wants to keep your child smiling and can avoid many problems that lead to the need for fillings and other “dental work.”