It happens. Kids get cavities. Even when they brush and floss and don’t snack all day it can
still happen, and when it does they will need to have that cavity filled. So, the first thing you need to do is not beat yourself up about it.
Too many times I see parents feeling awful and guilty when their child gets a cavity. Of course, there are times when a cavity diagnosis may change the oral care routine for their child, and that’s a good thing. But just remember that you’re doing the best you can, and life will go on after they have the cavity filled. And filling a cavity is not as difficult a process as you think it is.
What the Procedure is Like
Depending on your child’s age and nervousness, they may be given nitrous oxide. Nitrous oxide is 100 percent safe for your child. It is a mild form of sedation that helps them ease their fears and relax throughout the appointment. With nitrous oxide, your child will feel relaxed but remain awake.
The nitrous is eliminated from the body quickly once the gas is turned off, so there won’t be any grogginess once the procedure is complete.
The dentist will use a local anesthetic to numb the tooth they will be working on. The anesthetic is administered through a needle, so first, the dentist will run a numbing gel on their gums, so the needle isn’t so bad.
Once the tooth is numb, the dentist will remove the decay in your child’s tooth with a drill and a scraping tool. The dental assistant will suck away any water and debris so that the tooth stays clean and dry throughout the procedure, and so your child stays comfortable.
Once the decay is removed, the dentist will fill the hole with a filling–either amalgam (silver) or composite (tooth-colored). After the filling is placed, the dentist will ask your child to bite their teeth together to make sure everything is in place.
After a quick rinse, the procedure is over. It usually doesn’t take any more than a half hour to complete the whole process. Your child’s cavity will be filled, and they’ll be on their way to getting a prize for being such a great patient!