Composite Restorations (White Fillings)
For teeth with smaller areas of decay, the tooth is filled with a white composite material after the cavity is removed. In some cases the tooth will need to be numbed. The composite is a strong material and is usually guaranteed for 5-10 years. Depending on the child’s oral habits, repairs to the filling may be required earlier.
Stainless Steel Crowns
When decay covers multiple surfaces of a tooth a stainless steel crown is recommended to achieve maximum function. White fillings are not recommended for large decay because they can break or fall out over time. The stainless steel crown covers the whole tooth and will not crack when eating. It should be brushed normally like the other teeth. The crown is glued to the child’s baby tooth and will fall out just as a normal tooth exfoliates when it’s ready. The stainless steel crown is metal in appearance, therefore if the caregiver is opposed to that, our white crowns may be a better alternative.
If decay is not treated in a timely manner, it can reach the nerve of the tooth, bringing along bacteria with it. To remove this bacteria and prevent future infection, a pulpotomy (nerve treatment) is performed. This involves placing a medication on the nerve that promotes healing. To prevent bacteria from re-entering the nerve, a stainless steel or white crown is placed over the tooth after the pulpotomy procedure.
When decay has become so large that the tooth is broken down beyond repair or an infection has begun, there are no restorative options available for that tooth and it must be extracted. Extractions may also be indicated in preparation for orthodontic treatment in the future. Dr. Cook and her team excel at creating a comfortable and anxiety-free environment for extractions, and can utilize various sedation options if necessary to ensure a positive experience.