We are usually able to fill in broken teeth to make them look like normal teeth. We even use a cement that is the color of your child’s teeth. If that does not work, we offer veneers and caps to cover up any broken teeth.
Cavities And Fillings
Dental fillings are used to treat different dental problems like cavities and broken teeth. Teeth are usually filled with a material called composite resin, which is designed to look like natural teeth. Fillings can also be done with gold, porcelain, or silver amalgam.
Local Anesthetic or “Numbing the Tooth”
Before attempting to remove or restore a tooth that has been damaged by decay, trauma, or infection, numbing the tooth is usually indicated. By doing so, the procedure can be completed without discomfort from the instruments that are used. Topical anesthetic or “jelly” is placed first on the area of the gum that is to be numbed. Once the area is numb or “feels sleepy” then the local anesthetic or “sleepy juice” is injected slowly. Unfortunately, the taste of the local anesthetic is awful so gauze and suction are used to help keep the child from tasting it. After a few minutes, the area of the child’s mouth will lose feeling. Then treatment of the tooth will begin.
If a tooth has a cavity that is too large to successfully restore with a tooth-colored filling, it may be recommended to restore with a crown, also known as a “cap”. The crown is pre-fabricated and will remain on the baby tooth until it falls out. They can be silver, made out of stainless steel, or can be tooth colored, usually made out of zirconia or composite material. All types of crowns serve the same purpose of restoring a largely decayed tooth back to function by aiding in speech, being able to chew food properly, maintaining the available space for the permanent tooth to come in, eliminating pain, and establishing good esthetics. If crowns are recommended for your child, we will discuss an individualized approach to restore their teeth proper health and function.
Over time, cavities can grow to the point where they reach the pulp tissue (where the blood vessels and nerve of the tooth live) or “nerve” of a baby tooth. Amazingly, sometimes this may not cause pain and it may not be noticeable until an X-Ray of the tooth is taken. If this happens and the tooth is able to be restored (usually with a crown), then we will provide pulp therapy to the tooth; sometimes we call it a “baby root canal”. Basically, the decay is removed from the tooth and so is the infected portion of the pulp tissue. Then, we put medicine into the tooth that will help maintain the health of the tooth and then cement the crown in place.
Extractions may be indicated for teeth that are deemed too damaged to restore. In addition, extractions may be recommended to make room for new teeth coming in or sometimes to aid in better results of orthodontics. Regardless of the reason for the removal of teeth, our job at Oaks Point Pediatric Dentistry is to do our best to make sure this procedure is done in an efficient and atraumatic manner.
After an extraction, it may be indicated for us to place a space maintainer or a “spacer”. A spacer prevents the drifting of teeth toward the space that has formed from removing a tooth. Sometimes without one, the loss of space can have a negative effect on how teeth fit together when the new permanent teeth erupt into the mouth.