When a tooth is found to have dental decay, various procedures may be used to treat the disease depending on its severity. In all cases with restorative treatment, our goal is to keep our patients as comfortable as possible. We will make sure that the patient’s teeth are numb using topical and local anesthesia.
Composite Fillings (White or Tooth-Colored)
A composite filling is a tooth colored material used to fill small cavities on front and back teeth. After numbing the decayed tooth using topical and local anesthetic, a rubber dam is placed to protect your child’s airway. The decay is then removed, and the tooth is filled with a tooth colored composite material. These fillings do require more careful attention to home care (diet and oral hygiene, particularly flossing). If oral hygiene is poor, it is possible to develop more cavities around the filling.
Stainless Steel Crowns
Stainless Steel Crowns are used in cases where a cavity has affected so much tooth structure that a composite filling material cannot be used to repair the tooth. These silver caps are placed on back teeth and occasionally baby canine teeth. A crown covers the baby tooth completely and restores it to its original shape and size. It is important to be careful with home care (diet and oral hygiene), so that the gum tissue around the crown doesn’t become red, swollen, and irritated from plaque buildup.
Pulpal Therapy (Nerve Treatment)
Very large cavities can result in toothaches and nerve irritation or infection. If a cavity has affected the nerve, part of the nerve is cleaned out, an antibacterial medicine is placed on the remaining nerve structure, and a protective filling is placed over the nerve. Once the tooth has had nerve treatment, it is weakened and must have a crown placed over it to protect it from fracturing in the future.
When the nerve of the tooth is infected for a long period of time, the nerve tissue inside the roots of the tooth can die. When the nerve is nonvital, a pulpotomy will not remove all of the infection, and a pulpectomy is indicated. During a pulpectomy, the entire pulp tissue inside the baby tooth is removed, the root canals are filled with a resorbable cement, and a stainless steel crown is placed over the tooth to protect it from fracturing in the future.
If your child loses a baby tooth early through guidance eruption, decay, or injury, his/her other teeth could shift and fill the vacant space leaving little or no room for the permanent tooth to erupt. Space maintainers are used to hold the spot left by the lost tooth until the permanent tooth emerges. It is important for your child to follow-up with us at his/her check-up appointments so that we can remove the space maintainer when the permanent tooth begins to erupt.
All space maintainers are a combination of steel wires and rings that fit the appropriate teeth surrounding the area of the lost tooth. These rings and wires help maintain the space that the permanent tooth will need in order to erupt at a later time. These appliances will be fit and cemented into your child’s mouth when necessary and removed as the permanent teeth erupt into position. These appliances require strict attention to diet to avoid sticky foods. If the patient loses their space maintainer, please keep it in a Ziploc bag and call us so that we can re-cement the space maintainer. Due to the constant change in children’s mouths, occasionally space maintainers need to be remade prior to the eruption of the permanent tooth.
Types of Space Maintainers
- Band and Loop
- Nance Appliance
- TransPalatal Arch (TPA)
- Lower Lingual Holding Arch
Pediatric Cosmetic Dentistry
Tooth Bonding – In the event of a tooth fracture, malformed tooth, or tooth discoloration, we can repair teeth with an esthetic, tooth-colored composite material.
Bleaching and Whitening – We offer at home bleaching kits, with bleaching material for teenagers who have completed orthodontics and would like a whiter smile.