There are three stages of orthodontics from a top orthodontist: planning (phase 1 orthodontics), active (phase 2 orthodontics), and retention. Many are familiar with the active stage when the patient wears orthodontic devices such as braces and aligners, as well as the retention stage, which focuses on keeping optimal jaw and teeth alignment.However, phase 1…
Cavity Treatment Options from a Top Pediatric Dentist
Cavities are one of the most common oral health concerns that children deal with, largely due to the vulnerability of primary teeth and a diet that is usually higher in sugar. The good news, however, is that a top pediatric dentist can reliably repair baby teeth that are damaged by dental cavities in a minimally invasive manner. This review discusses the various options a top pediatric dentist may recommend for treating one or more childhood cavities.
First things first: what is a dental cavity?
A childhood dental cavity is a small hole that develops in the outermost layer of teeth, which is known as the dental enamel. A cavity can cause a variety of uncomfortable symptoms such as sensitivity and pain. It also cannot fix itself and requires treatment from a pediatric dentist. If left untreated, a dental cavity is likely to worsen and require more extensive treatment to save the tooth.
A top pediatric dentist explains cavity treatment options
There is a range of cavity treatment options available. Top pediatric dentists usually offer most, if not all, of the cavity treatments discussed below. The recommended treatment solution depends on the severity of the cavity and the patient’s preference.
Dental sealants (preventative)
Dental sealants are a form of cavity prevention that all parents should consider for their children. They are applied over the chewing surfaces of molars and premolars, which are the areas of teeth that are the most vulnerable to decay. They are not, however, used to treat existing cavities on molars and premolars.
Fluoride treatment (preventative, restorative)
Fluoride treatment is recommended to strengthen teeth enamel and help prevent cavities from forming. Much like sealants, it is not used to treat existing cavities. However, it can help restore the strength and appearance of weakened enamel and help prevent the need for more extensive treatment. Fluoride treatment is usually prescribed in the form of mouthwash.
Tooth-colored fillings are the most commonly utilized cavity treatment among many of the best pediatric dentists. This is because they offer reputable repair for dental cavities. Tooth-colored fillings are made of either an amalgam or ceramic material. They do not offer the same level of strength as metal crowns, however, so they are usually recommended for visible cavities rather than in areas that are used more for chewing.
Silver fillings, or metal fillings, are another great way to restore the function, size, appearance, and health of a tooth that is damaged by a cavity. Metal fillings are not the same color as a natural tooth, so they do not offer the same level of aesthetic appeal that a tooth-colored filling provides. However, they offer much better durability and tooth protection.
Pediatric crowns are more often used to repair other forms of tooth damage such as chips and cracks. However, they may be recommended by top pediatric dentists as a way to restore teeth that are damaged by cavities as well (especially more severe cavities). There are different types of crowns that are available. These types include:
- Ceramic (tooth-colored) crowns
- Porcelain-fused-to-metal crowns
- Metal alloy crowns
- Gold crowns
Much like choosing between a tooth-colored and silver filling, choosing the right type of pediatric crown for cavity treatment depends largely on the location of the tooth and the size of the cavity.
Baby root canal procedure
A baby root canal procedure may be recommended by dentists when repairing a severe childhood cavity. When tooth decay extends toward the tooth root and damages the inner portion of the tooth (known as the dental pulp), then a baby root canal procedure is usually required to clean the deep decay. The tooth is then filled with gutta-percha, a healthy substitute filling material. A dental crown is usually placed after a baby root canal procedure.
Tooth extraction is a last resort when treating dental cavities. If the decay is deep and the tooth is severely weakened beyond what a baby root canal can repair, then extraction may be necessary. In some cases, an extraction may be the best option if the tooth is close to falling out naturally.
Is your child in need of cavity treatment? Contact our pediatric dentist today
If your child shows signs of a dental cavity, such as tooth discoloration, sensitivity, pain, and gum swelling, then give our pediatric dentistry team a call today. We can assess your child’s oral health and provide cavity treatment (if necessary) all on the first visit.
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