Any time your child has a cavity or a tooth that needs extraction, restoring the tooth is a priority. Your child’s oral health depends on ensuring that all their teeth are healthy. Teeth that are lost prematurely need to be replaced to hold the space for permanent teeth to erupt. The Pediatric Dental Team provides excellent restorative care for all types of situations.
When your child has a cavity, it is important to have it taken care of as soon as possible. Cavities begin when harmful bacteria accumulate and produce acids that eat away at tooth enamel. The next layer below the enamel is the dentin, which is softer than enamel. Decay can spread quickly through this layer and attack the nerve center of the tooth. This process can be avoided in its earliest stages.
Identifying cavities, cleaning out the decayed material and placing a dental filling, will keep the tooth from becoming infected. Special tools are used to clean out the debris, and the cavity is filled with an appropriate filling material. In many cases, composite resin is used to fill cavities.
Natural Tooth-Colored Fillings
Composite resin is used to fill cavities and keep the natural look of the tooth. These filling materials are the same color as the tooth. Unlike silver fillings, they bond directly with the tooth structure, making it more difficult for bacteria to land in the area where the tooth and filling material meet. Composite resin looks and feels just like the natural tooth. They are used on both front and back teeth.
When a tooth has a very large filling or has undergone root canal therapy, the dentist may suggest a crown be placed on it. The crown adds stability and strength to a damaged tooth. Crowns are made from various materials. Stainless steel crowns are often used on primary teeth. Tooth colored crowns can be made from resin or porcelain fused to metal.
White and Silver Crowns
On young children, when a crown is necessary to protect a primary tooth, a stainless-steel crown may be used. These silver colored crowns may not be aesthetically pleasing to look at, but the primary tooth will be shed at some point, and the crown will come out with the tooth. Dentists seldom recommend putting a more expensive white crown on a primary tooth.
White crowns are, however, used for permanent teeth. These crowns are considerably more expensive than stainless-steel crowns; however, they provide the look and feel of a natural tooth. These crowns are used when there has been extensive damage to a tooth caused by decay or injury.
Crowns are also used on teeth that have had root canal therapy (RCT). Since RCT removes the nerve center of the tooth, the remaining structure is basically dead. The tooth can become brittle over time and is susceptible to breakage. Crowning the tooth protects it from further damage while adding strength and stability.
It is always best to retain the natural tooth whenever possible. Sometimes, extraction of a tooth is the only option. A tooth may be extracted when it is badly decayed, or teeth are extracted as part of orthodontic treatment when crowding is involved. Serious periodontal disease (gum disease) can also lead to tooth extraction. Many teens approaching adulthood experience the pain of impacted wisdom teeth. These teeth are often extracted before they can cause serious dental problems.
Space Maintainers for Children
Small children who lose a tooth prematurely are at risk of developing more dental problems when the permanent tooth erupts. For this reason, your child’s dentist may recommend a space maintainer. This device preserves the space left by the missing tooth. Space maintainers are not usually required when a primary tooth comes out on its own as the permanent tooth is erupting.
If your child is in need of restorative dental care, contact The Pediatric Dental Team today. Schedule an appointment for an examination, and let the dentist know your concerns.