The first line of defense against tooth decay and other oral problems is always preventative care, but sometimes decay will occur to even people who practice great oral hygiene. Likewise, there is always a chance that teeth get broken, chipped or knocked out entirely, all of which can make restorative dentistry a necessity.
In the relatively early stages of decay, fillings can be used for treatment. There are many options available. Tooth-colored fillings are a solid choice, and are often paired with a dental sealant for additional protection. In some cases, a metal filling is more appropriate. Once a filling is in, no further care is required, and your child can resume his or her normal oral care routine.
A nerve treatment may be called for when decay has progressed significantly. Usually, decay isn’t a common occurrence in young children, but sometimes even the smallest detail can quickly lead to big problems. Decay is especially serious for baby teeth, and extraction is the last resort, so a nerve treatment from Kids Choice can save the baby tooth and keep it in place to act as a spacer for the permanent tooth that will replace it later.
If a tooth must be extracted, then a space maintainer will be used to make sure surrounding teeth don’t drift, and there’s enough room for the permanent ones to come through. Once the permanent tooth begins to erupt, the spacer will be removed.
When teeth are extensively decayed or have had nerve treatment, crowns can be used to protect them. Metal crowns are frequently used for molars in the back of the mouth that endure the most pressure from chewing and grinding. Tooth-colored resin crowns are also available for the more visible front teeth to ensure a more natural smile.
In order to make sure teeth can hold crowns, we’ll prepare the ones on either side of a gap. The crowns then anchor the bridge in place. Your child’s custom bridge will contain a row of one or more teeth. If the last tooth on either arch is missing, a single crown can secure a cantilever bridge to compensate.
We’ll take an impression of your child’s teeth for our dental lab once they’ve been prepared for bridgework. A ceramist will fabricate your child’s bridge according to the impression. To complete your smile between visits, we can always place a temporary bridge. Your child will return to our office for the permanent bridge placement once it has been prepared, which normally takes between a few days and a week.
The danger of not replacing missing teeth is that remaining teeth can shift out of place. Such shifting can lead to problems with occlusion (how upper and lower teeth fit together), which can in turn lead to TMJ dysfunction and/or bruxism (teeth grinding). Also, missing teeth can alter speech and chewing ability in several ways. A more minor effect is the possibility of a minor speech impediment. A more drastic effect is the need to compensate for altered chewing. If teeth are missing in the front of the mouth, a patient may suffer from decreased self-confidence as well.