Managing Dental Caries (AKA Cavities)
A cavity is a hole in the tooth. When the enamel fractures or erodes, it lets bacteria and plaque inside the tooth. Once inside, the bacteria eats away at the inside, making the hole bigger and bigger. If it gets too big, it can get into the nerve, or even into the permanent tooth growing underneath the gums. At this point, more aggressive restorative therapy is needed.
How Do You Fix A Cavity?
Depending on the size of the decay and which set of teeth it has affected, your Kids Dental Center dentist has a few options available. For most teeth, the cavity can be filled if caught early. But a cavity in the primary teeth can have long lasting repercussions if not addressed soon enough.
Unless the decay is too extensive, we don’t want to remove the tooth, because it acts as a guide for the permanent tooth growing beneath it. For baby teeth with moderate to severe decay, the best treatment is a pulpotomy.
What’s a Pulpotomy?
Primary teeth are treated differently than permanent teeth for two reasons: 1) the teeth will eventually be lost, and 2) they erode far more quickly than an adult tooth does.
A pulpotomy is a step above a filling, in that the decay is scooped out and the inner nerve is treated with a medicated material to prevent any further bacterial growth. Once the medicated filling is in place, a stainless steel crown (SSC) will be affixed over the tooth to prevent it from breaking down. If the pulpotomy is on one of the front teeth, the crown may be tooth colored to maintain an aesthetically pleasing smile.
What’s the Difference Between a Pulpotomy and a Pulpectomy?
In a pulpotomy, only the crown portion of the pulp is removed. A pulpectomy is more like a root canal in an adult. The pulp is completely removed and the entire interior of the tooth is sealed and filled with a resorbable material. As in a pulpotomy treatment, the tooth will be crowned.
Aren’t These Treatments a Lot For a Small Child To Handle?
Having extensive dental work done is a lot for any adult to handle, let alone a small child. At Kids Dental Center, we offer two solutions that may be used at the same time.
1) We are the only local pediatric dentist with an open door policy. You are welcome in the treatment room any time your child is there. Having you there will be a source of comfort.
2) We offer three forms of dental sedation: nitrous oxide, oral conscious sedation, and IV sedation. Your young child will be safe and relaxed while we treat their cavities.
A Healthy Smile for Life
Every parent hopes that their child will have healthy teeth. After all, a smile is one of the first things people will notice and remember.
But sometimes, due to genetics or circumstance, the primary or permanent teeth have decay that needs to be corrected. With the newest techniques in dental care, our Chandler office can restore your child’s smile, helping them maintain healthy teeth for a healthy life!
Learning about our comprehensive preventative cleaning procedures including dental sealants and thorough digital x-rays. Book your dental visit today.