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Treating Kids' Sensitive Teeth After Filling

Going to the dentist is a regular event, but it can be stressful if you or your kids get sensitive teeth after filling work. Sensitive teeth are common, particularly after a filling. About 27 percent of children have a cavity by the age of five, and baby teeth can have fillings placed in them. Although you might limit sugary treats – like the ones starting with "gummy" or "chocolate" – knowing what to expect from your pediatric dentist can help you ease those fears in your kids.

Preparing Your Child

A first filling is a big step for everyone, but when talking about it to your child, the less fuss, the better. Keep the conversation simple and positive, avoiding words that can be scary for your child, such as "needle," "drill" or "sharp." Save the details for your pediatric dentist to explain, who has specialized training in talking your child through each part of the procedure.

Because anesthesia relaxes the muscles that keep food and acid in your stomach and out of your lungs, Mayo Clinic recommends limiting big meals up to six hours before the visit. And make sure they brush their teeth prior to treatment to remove leftover food before the dental filling. Use toothpaste like Colgate® 2 in 1, which protects against cavities.


Topical and local anesthesia are most commonly used for pediatric fillings. Your pediatric dentist may also use nitrous oxide oxygen to help calm your child and cut down on the discomfort of a gag reflex. General anesthesia may be used for some children with special needs or extreme anxiety, and should only be administered by trained staff in the office.

Regardless of the procedure, the American Dental Association (ADA) recommends asking certain questions when it comes to any level of anesthesia:

  • Who will provide the pretreatment assessment of my child, including their prior medical information, allergies or current prescriptions?
  • What training and certification does the administering professional have, and how will my child be monitored during the treatment?
  • What emergency medical plans and medications are in place if needed?

What to Expect During Treatment

A typical filling procedure takes about an hour. To alleviate stress, a pediatric dentist will usually opt to segment the work into multiple visits if there's more than one filling or tooth to treat.

During the procedure, according to Dentistry Today, the dentist normally uses a "tell-show-do" technique, which demystifies any scary concepts a young patient may worry about. The dentist may even provide short breaks to help keep him or her calm. Many offices today provide movies and music during the procedure too, to distract kids during treatment.

Caregiving After Treatment

This article is intended to promote understanding of and knowledge about general oral health topics. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your dentist or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment.

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