Salem Pediatric Restorative Dentistry
White filings, crowns, extractions, root canals, etc.
Even with careful home hygiene, Salem restorative dental services are sometimes needed. Restorative dentistry treatments repair damage to teeth, restoring strength, function, and usually appearance. Restorative services include fillings, pulp treatment, and dental crowns. On occasions when a tooth cannot be saved, extractions may be necessary to restore oral health. If it is your child’s first time receiving restorative dental treatment with us, we always try our best to go over the procedure with them and answer any and all questions they may have or us!
NOTE: Especially for young kids, restorative work can sometimes be overwhelming and scary. Our team will always make our best effort to comfort every patient who is expressing nerves and/or anxiety leading up to treatment. We highly recommend taking advantage of nitrous oxide (laughing gas) sedation to ensure the highest level of comfort for our patients, especially those under the age of 6. Click here to read more about nitrous oxide (laughing gas) sedation for kids and adults!
Silver Diamine Fluoride (SDF)
Silver diamine fluoride, otherwise referred to as SDF, is an antimicrobial type of fluoride used in restorative dentistry to help slow the progress of existing decay on the teeth. It is applied topically to the tooth to treat mild levels of decay in a non-invasive, fast, and painless manner. Though a very helpful tool in the pediatric dental office, SDF cannot replace traditional restorative treatment such as fillings. It is usually used on pre-cooperative patients who may not be able to sit through more extensive restorative treatment. In other words, SDF buys time for the tooth by slowing the rate of decay until conditions are right for further restorative treatment.
Composite (White) Tooth Fillings
Tooth-colored fillings are the most lifelike material used to fill cavities and can be done in one visit. Once decay is removed, composite material is used to fill the area. This material then hardens immediately after placement allowing for minimal eating restrictions immediately after treatment. Fillings are an easy and common procedure to restore teeth that have mild/moderate levels of decay.
Stainless Steel Crowns
A durable restoration applied to primary/baby teeth that have been deeply decayed, often after the tooth undergoes a pulpotomy/pulp therapy. This provides protection for the tooth and maintains a child’s dentition as he or she develops permanent teeth. Crowns may be made of stainless steel, or other materials such as zirconia, as needed. Click here to check out our Instagram post about stainless steel crowns for kids!
Pulpotomy/Baby Root Canal
The pulp lies at the core of the tooth and contains blood vessels, connective tissue, and cells. Pulp therapy exists to maintain the life of a child’s tooth, often severely damaged by caries/cavities, or traumatic dental injury. The diseased pulp is removed from either the crown portion or entire tooth down into the root canal. A bacteria-preventing and tissue-calming agent is placed in the tooth, then it is often restored with a stainless steel crown. Baby root canals are used to treat and restore teeth that have moderate/severe levels of decay.
A tooth that cannot be saved using restorative materials may need to be removed. The area will first be numbed with local anesthesia, then the tooth is wiggled using dental instruments. Once the tooth is loosened from the socket, it is removed. In the case that a baby tooth is in need of an extraction, we will gladly send you home with your tooth in a box prepared for the tooth fairy at your request.
Progression of Untreated Decay
Below is an example of how a small cavity that could have been treated with just a filling can progress over the years to a larger cavity in need of a baby root canal if not an extraction. It is very important if you or your children are in need of restorative dental work that you make an appointment as soon as possible and DO NOT WAIT for treatment.
Commonly Asked Questions on Dental Restoration for Kids
How Long Does It Take to Receive a Crown?
Receiving a crown consists of two separate appointments. During the first appointment, the dentist will reduce the tooth in question down to a shape that can adequately support a crown. Impression molds are taken of the teeth before and after the tooth is prepped by the dentist to send to the dental lab technician who will fabricate a permanent crown for you. In the meantime, the dentist will provide you with a temporary crown to last roughly 2-3 weeks while we wait for the permanent crown to be received back to the office from the lab.
Why Do I Need a Filling?
Whenever food particles are allowed to stay on the teeth for an extended period of time due to lack of dental hygiene, bacteria begin to accumulate and feed on the leftover food. As the bacteria take in the food, they release a waste product which is very acidic in nature. If left for long periods of time, these acids begin to dissolve the enamel of the tooth, creating a hole or “cavity” in the tooth. If not resolved with a filling, these holes will continue to get larger, spreading to the inner layers of the tooth eventually causing pain.
Is It Painful to Have a Root Canal Done?
It is a common misconception that a root canal is something to avoid at all costs due to it being painful. While this may have been the case decades ago, things are much different today. Having a root canal done is no more uncomfortable than having a cavity filled. In some cases, we even find the patient falling asleep during the procedure!
Do I Really Need to Have a Crown Done After My Root Canal?
In short, having a crown after a root canal depends on the condition of your tooth, the location in the mouth, and your preferences. A root canal can save a tooth from further pain and infection, but it does not save the tooth from weakening. Coupled with tooth decay, a root canal procedure weakens the tooth by reducing the
amount of healthy tissue within it. A dental crown is needed after a root canal when (1) the tooth becomes weakened, (2) the tooth becomes sensitive, (3) the tooth becomes discolored, (4) the tooth has been restored prior to the root canal.
What Causes Tooth Decay?
In order for cavities to form in the mouth, four things are necessary – (1) a tooth, (2) bacteria, (3) sugars/carbohydrates, (4) time. Dental plaque is a sticky, colorless deposit of bacteria that constantly forms in thin layers on everyone’s teeth. Whenever you eat, the bacteria in plaque feed on the sugars in your food and produce an acidic waste which attacks the enamel of the tooth. This is what is known as an acid attack and usually lasts for ~20 minutes after you eat. If this plaque is allowed to remain on the teeth for extended periods of time, the enamel weakens and breaks down and therefore develops cavities.
If My Child Gets a Cavity on a Baby Tooth, Should It Still Be Filled?
Baby teeth (primary teeth) are very important for many reasons. Not only do they allow children to speak clearly and chew naturally, but they also aid in creating a pathway for the permanent teeth to follow when they are ready to erupt. Some baby teeth are in the mouth for longer periods of time, like the baby molars, which are necessary until a child is 12 years old or even older in some cases. When the baby teeth are neglected, they can begin to cause pain, infection in the gums and jaw, impair general health, and even be prematurely lost. It is also important to remember that tooth decay is an infection that is capable of spreading. It is not uncommon to find decay on baby teeth causing decay on permanent teeth.