Preventative oral care is always the first line of defense against decay and other problems, but sometimes decay occurs even with great oral hygiene. Teeth also break or get knocked out, making restorative dentistry necessary.
Fillings can be used to treat decay in relatively early stages. There are several options. A tooth-colored filling can be used, and is often paired with a dental sealant for added protection. In some situations, a metal filling is more appropriate. No further care is required once a filling is in, and your child should resume his or her normal oral care routine.
When decay has progressed significantly, a nerve treatment may be called for. Decay is especially serious for baby teeth, and extraction is a last resort, so a nerve treatment can salvage the tooth and keep it place to act as a spacer for the permanent tooth that will replace it.
In the event that a tooth can’t be salvaged, a space maintainer may be used to make sure teeth don’t drift, and there’s enough room for the permanent to come through.
Crowns can be used to protect teeth that are extensively decayed or have had a nerve treatment. Metal crowns are often 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 front teeth to ensure a more natural smile.