A Parent’s Guide to Restorative Dentistry for Children
Sometimes, despite proper hygiene and regular dental care, things happen. An awkward tackle in the field may completely knock out or break off a big piece of your child’s tooth. Decay may get a little out of hand, extending into the pulp and causing your little one discomfort. For such cases, restorative pediatric dentistry has a number of treatments that can help protect your child’s teeth from further damage and restore oral function to what it was before the injury or decay happened.
Let’s go over some of these treatments with you so you can better understand your options when restorative dentistry becomes necessary.
Inside every tooth is a chamber-like structure (referred to as the pulp) that consists of connective tissue, blood vessels, and nerves. Severe cavities or a cracked tooth can expose the pulp chamber to debris and bacteria. When that happens, removal of the infected portion of the pulp becomes necessary before the problem spreads to the root of the tooth. This process is called a pulpotomy.
Your child’s dentist will use a special tool to clean out infected tissues in the pulp chamber. This inner layer of the tooth will then be sterilized and sealed to protect the internal, structural integrity of the tooth. So why do pediatric dentists work so hard to treat teeth that will fall out? It’s because damage to the pulp can impact the development of your child’s permanent teeth.
2. Stainless Steel Crowns
Impacted molars, baby teeth that have a lot of decay, severe fractures, or teeth that have undergone a pulpotomy may need a stainless steel crown. This dental restoration, when fully cemented in place, covers the entire visible portion of a tooth and protects it from further damage. Once the baby tooth is ready to fall out, the crown will come out right along with it.
The team at We Make Kids Smile prefers to use stainless steel crowns in pediatric dental care because they’re more affordable than their composite or polycarbonate counterparts. You also won’t need to make multiple appointments to have your child’s tooth fitted with a stainless steel crown. In fact, your child can have the procedure done right after a pulpotomy during the same appointment.
Tooth extractions aren’t limited to adults; kids can get them too. Your pediatric dentist may recommend for your child to get one of their teeth pulled if restorative treatments cannot save a badly decayed or infected tooth. Sometimes there’s not enough space in your child’s jaw for all their teeth, so it may be necessary to extract one or more baby teeth to create space or fix overcrowding issues so permanent teeth don’t come in out of place, which could lead to a bad bite or crooked teeth.
Pediatric dentists use a local anesthetic to numb the area and then gently nudge the tooth out of its gum socket with an elevator, a special dental tool. The entire procedure takes roughly 20 minutes. For partially or completely impacted teeth, a surgical extraction may be necessary.
4. Space Maintainers
Injury, decay, and extractions are just a couple of reasons why baby teeth may be prematurely lost. When that happens, your child’s other teeth could shift and begin to fill the empty space, resulting in crooked or overcrowded teeth. That’s where space maintainers come in. The custom-made oral appliance holds the space left by the lost tooth until the permanent tooth emerges.
Space maintainers are temporary, and your pediatric dentist will need to remove it once the permanent tooth comes in or the teeth around the space loosen. Pediatric dentists often recommend using this device because it’s much easier to maintain a space than it is to correct misalignment in your child’s teeth once permanent teeth fully emerge.
5. Pediatric Partial Dentures
Pediatric partial dentures are another tooth replacement option for kids who lose several baby teeth before their permanent teeth are ready to come in. To restore full mouth function and return that beautiful smile you’ve come to know and love, a dentist can customize a prosthesis with artificial teeth attached to it that resemble natural teeth.
Pediatric dentures look just like adult dentures but with one glaring difference: they’re designed to last for only a few years. Because of this, they’re only suitable as a temporary tooth replacement option.
We make kids smile in Southern Maryland.
When pediatric dental restorations like pulpotomies or extractions are necessary, you can count on the dental team at We Make Kids Smile to provide comprehensive oral care in a child-friendly environment. Simply fill out our online form to reserve an appointment to discuss your child’s restorative dental needs.