As a parent, you probably understand that pediatric dentistry is an important aspect of your child's overall health. However, you first need to deal with the teething process as the baby teeth emerge from the gums. It varies among babies, but teething typically begins around six months of age. Common symptoms include sore and irritated…
Pediatric Dentistry: Dental Restorations and Cavities
Tooth decay is one of the most common issues pediatric dentistry deals with. It is an oral problem that affects children and adults, but the former are more susceptible to it for several reasons.
For starters, children have thinner layers of enamel which makes their baby teeth more vulnerable to decay. A child is also more likely to have a sweet tooth, and oral bacteria convert sugars into acids that damage teeth. Children also have less developed oral hygiene habits to compound the problem, so the acids, plaque, and tartar created by oral bacteria are more likely to stay on their teeth surfaces for prolonged periods. Fortunately, pediatric dentistry provides treatments that help to prevent and treat tooth decay.
Pediatric dentistry treatments for tooth decay
Cavities are almost a right of passage for children, and they can lead to excruciating toothaches. If the cavity is ignored, the decay can spread into the tooth’s pulp, making it vulnerable to infection. Tooth decay can also damage a baby tooth to the point it falls out prematurely.
That might not seem like a huge deal, but it is. Baby teeth play an important role in keeping space for the permanent teeth behind them. Baby teeth falling out prematurely increases the risk of a child developing bite issues as their permanent teeth begin to erupt.
Some of the treatments a pediatric dentist might recommend for decayed baby teeth include:
- Fillings: These are the standard treatment for decayed teeth. It is performed by applying a putty-like filling into the decayed tooth to close up cavities and prevent them from spreading further. Decayed material is removed, and the tooth is cleaned before the filling material is applied. It hardens upon contact with air or saliva, closing up the damage caused by decay.
- Composite bonding: This involves using composite resin to seal up cavities and rebuild teeth that have been damaged by decay. The composite is matched with the color of the patient’s teeth, making it virtually impossible to detect when a tooth has been restored with composite. The procedure is completed during a single visit.
- Stainless steel crowns: These are prefabricated caps that are recommended when a child’s teeth have been severely damaged by decay. The crown helps to keep the remaining part of the tooth intact and protects it from bite forces. Covering a severely decayed tooth with a crown prevents it from falling out prematurely, potentially leading to orthodontic issues.
- Space maintainers: These are typically recommended when a child’s tooth has already fallen out earlier than it should, or a pediatric dentist extracts it. A spacer maintainer is a small appliance that goes inside the gap created by the lost tooth. It prevents the remaining teeth from shifting out of their proper alignment and holds space for the permanent tooth that will eventually erupt.
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The main concern of pediatric dentistry is the health of your child’s teeth and gums. A child’s oral health is so important that the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends that parents schedule a child’s first dental visit no later than the first birthday. During an appointment, the dentist can provide insight on how to…
In pediatric dentistry, dental professionals understand that parents play a big role in their children's oral health. You are a guide and model along the way, helping your children build healthy habits and routines. However, cavities in children are common. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 50% of children between…