Our goal is prevention, but we do understand that cavities still may happen. Dental cavities are a common chronic infectious disease resulting from tooth adherent bacteria that feed on sugars from food that produce acid which causes harm to tooth structure. Often cavities progress to a point where dental treatment is necessary. Every child and cavity is unique and we are dedicated to provide the appropriate treatment and pace for your child. If you have questions how to best help your child prepare for their visit, please contact our office.
"Won't Baby Teeth Fall Out Anyway?"
A cavity is not merely a localized problem, bacteria in the mouth contributes to your child's overall health. Neglected cavities can lead to difficulty chewing and eating, and can further develop into pain or infection leading to an emergent dental situation. Baby teeth are vital to providing space for the permanent dentition guiding them into the correct position.
Parents are always welcome to join their children during appointments; however, we encourage children to be independent and come back alone as this helps to establish life-long rapport. During treatment one parent is allowed to accompany their child. We ask that you remain a "silent observer" so that our doctors and staff are able to effectively communicate with your child. Since our office wants to provide the highest quality of care to your child, other children are not permitted in the treatment area while treatment is being performed. They may remain in the reception area with a supervising adult.
We offer amalgam (silver) and composite resin (tooth-colored) restorative materials. When selecting a restorative material preservation of tooth structure, esthetics and each individual patient's needs are considered.
Larger cavities or teeth at severe risk for further decay may require full coverage in the form of crowns or commonly called "caps." Primary teeth in the back benefit from the use of stainless steel crowns (silver) due to their durability and ability to function as normal primary molars. For teeth in front more esthetic options are available such as composite crowns which match the size, shade and shape of adjacent teeth.
Often referred to as a "baby root canal" or "nerve treatment," this procedure involves removing the top-portion of the tooth's nerve and treating the tooth with a material that disinfects, soothes and protects the remaining tooth structure. A pulpotomy is necessary when decay has reached the nerve of a tooth. This procedure will allow vitality in the tooth to continue until the tooth is ready for exfoliation or normal tooth loss. A crown is normally recommended after a pulpotomy to conserve and protect the remaining tooth structure.
Sometimes a tooth cannot be restored and may require extraction or removal. This is commonly referred to as a "wiggle." Other reasons for extractions may include a tooth that has been over-retained, a request from an orthodontist or other financial or parental desires. Depending on your child's personal needs and stage of dental development a space maintainer may be recommended.
A space maintainer may be recommended to hold space for permanent teeth. Without a space maintainer teeth may drift leading to future crowding issues. These are specially fitted to your child's mouth and are cemented to either primary or permanent molars and will remain until space maintenance is no longer necessary.
After dental treatment lips, teeth, tongue and surrounding tissue will be numb or "asleep." Children often do not understand the effects and may chew, scratch, suck or play with affected areas. These actions should be prevented as this can lead to swelling and abrasions of the area. Monitor your child following the procedure until the effects of the anesthesia have subsided. Often a liquid or soft diet is recommended to prevent biting or chewing.
Fillings or crowns
Bleeding around the gums following treatment is normal and may occur for 1-2 weeks following the procedure. Normal brushing and flossing is recommended for healing of the gums and to reduce bleeding.
For discomfort please use over-the-counter pain medicines as directed by the packaging. A soft diet for a few days after treatment may help discomfort as your child adjusts to the new filling or crown.
Do not excessively rinse, spit, or use a straw for 1-2 days following an extraction as bleeding may occur. Draining from the socket may be noted and will appear more severe when mixed with saliva. Place a towel on your child's pillow following an extraction in case draining occurs. A soft or liquid diet with a spoon is recommended 1-2 days following the extraction. Over-the-counter pain medicines may be given as directed by the packaging.