Composite (Tooth-colored fillings or bonding)
A composite filling is a white filling or “bonding” made of tiny particles of glass and acrylic resin that micro-mechanically adheres to the tooth structure. Composite fillings are safe, esthetic and the only type of filling we use for small to moderate sized cavities at our office. We love to keep your child’s smile sparkling white!
Stainless Steel Crowns
Stainless steel crowns are the traditional “gold standard” crown type used to treat a severely decayed or broken down primary or permanent molar tooth. Steel crowns are made of completely inert material and are safe. They are cemented on the tooth and, if placed on a primary tooth, will fall out when the primary tooth falls out. We call these “shiny star” or “ironman” teeth when discussing them with children.
Our office is excited to offer a more esthetic crown option for your child – Zirconia crowns. Zirconia is a biocompatible material that has been used in hip replacements since the 1970’s and in other dental products for the last 15 years. Zirconia recently began being used for pediatric crowns in 2010. Though it is a great alternative to stainless steel, not all patients are good candidates for zirconia crowns. Ask us for more information. We will be happy to review this option for your child should they need a crown.
Endodontic Treatment (Root Canal)
Endodontic treatment, or root canal, involves the nerve, or pulp, of the tooth. The goal of endodontic treatment is to save the tooth for proper form and function. It can be completed in a primary (baby) tooth or permanent (adult) tooth.Even though baby teeth eventually will fall out, we will suggest fixing them unless they would normally fall out soon. Baby teeth are important for chewing and speaking, they are also space holders for the permanent teeth that will replace them in your child’s smile.If your child loses a baby tooth too soon, neighboring teeth can move into the empty space and block the permanent tooth from coming in, or even cause it to grow in with a tilt.
Your child may require a root canal if decay extends to the nerve or if the nerve is injured or infected. Decay in a primary tooth can become deep very quickly due to the thinner enamel/dentin and larger pulp chambers. It is important to treat a cavity in a timely manner, whether primary or permanent.
An extraction, or removal, of a tooth is required for the following reasons:
- The tooth is decayed or broken and cannot be restored with a filling or crown
- Orthodontic purposes, such as to relieve crowding and aid in proper eruption of permanent teeth
- Over-retained primary teeth (i.e. baby teeth that won’t fall out), especially when the permanent tooth is erupting
- Third molars (wisdom teeth) if they cause pain, are associated with pathology, and/or if they are impacted
- Certain medical conditions where the immune system will be compromised, such as chemotherapy, radiation, organ or bone marrow transplant
Most simple extractions can be done with local anesthesia and nitrous oxide. However, conscious sedation or general anesthesia can be discussed if either fits a child’s needs.