Even with careful home hygiene, restorative dental services are sometimes needed. These 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
Stainless Steel Crowns
Pulpotomy/Baby Root Canal
A dental crown is a very common and effective method to restore teeth that are moderate/severely decayed, suffering from large fillings, or cracked on the crown of the tooth. The process for receiving dental crowns consists of two separate appointments. The first appointment is typically longer than the first where the doctor reduces the bulk of the tooth and takes negative impressions of the tooth. At the end of this appointment, the patient leaves the office with a temporary crown. The impressions from the first visit are then sent to the dental lab where the permanent crown will be fabricated. The second crown appointment is typically 2-3 weeks after the first. During this visit, the permanent crown which has been received from the lab is permanently cemented.
A dental bridge is a form of multiple crowns which are attached to an artificial tooth in the center to replace a missing tooth. The procedure for a dental bridge is very similar to that of a crown; however, it is more time consuming and actually creates the look and function of a real tooth which was previously missing. Just like dental crowns, dental bridges can be made of different materials. Our office most often uses zirconia to create a strong, tooth like crown, but other materials such as gold, or porcelain/ceramic is available 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
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.
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, and (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 that attacks the enamel of the tooth. That is what is known as an acid attach 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.