Teeth are composed of many tiny pieces called molecules that attach to each other. These tiny pieces are constantly breaking apart throughout the day and reforming depending on our diet. Fluoride can be thought of as a “glue” for these pieces by keeping the molecules more tightly bound together and less prone to breaking apart. Topical fluoride treatment is effective in protecting children’s teeth and reducing cavities.
Silver Diamine Fluoride is an FDA-approved antibiotic topical solution that is clinically applied to control active dental caries and prevent further progression of disease. The silver acts as an anti-microbial agent that kills the bacteria that break down tooth surfaces while also working to strengthen the underlying protective layer of your teeth called dentin. Fluoride is the active ingredient that halts the tooth decay, helps prevent additional decay from appearing, as well as keeps the bacteria from spreading to the other teeth. The most common side effect being a black to brownish stain of the cavity, where the SDF has been applied. This method of treatment can be a great option for when children have difficulty cooperating for treatment, special needs patients, or as an alternative method to traditional treatment.
Think of a tooth’s top (chewing) surface as mountains with many grooves. When your child eats, food gets caught in those grooves. Although daily brushing is essential, applying a dental sealant will enhance the ability to keep those hard-to-reach areas clean. A dental sealant flows into the grooves, “sealing” the tooth and reducing the probability of cavities. By placing sealants appropriately we can help reduce cavities on permanent teeth by up to 80%!
Radiographs (or X-Rays) are an essential part of our diagnostic protocol. Without them, dental conditions go undetected. Dental X-Rays detect much more than dental cavities, and they allow the dentist to evaluate growth and development, bone health, pathology, and trauma. At Oak Landing Pediatric Dentistry, we use the latest dental X-ray technology with very minimal exposure. Our imaging guidelines follow that outlined by the American Dental Association and the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry.
Should your child have a cavity, we use a resin tooth-colored filling to restore function and comfort to your child’s tooth. These fillings restore teeth to an attractive, healthy state! All resins used within our office are BPA free and utilize the latest in biomimetic materials.
If your child’s cavity is too large to restore with a tooth-colored filling, a crown may be recommended. Crowns help protect the baby teeth, providing structure for the tooth. Crowning a tooth also maintains the space, allowing the eventual permanent tooth to erupt properly. If you are concerned about a silver crown, talk to Dr. Gabe about the possibility of a tooth-colored crown!
Pulpotomies are often needed when the cavity approaches the tooth’s nerve. This procedure stops the progress of the cavity and minimizes the chances of an infection or abscess. The procedure is completed by cleaning out the center of the tooth where the nerve lives and placing soothing medicine down on the remaining. The tooth is then protected by placing a crown, as mentioned above.
Your child may need to have a tooth extracted. Most often, extractions are indicated due to infection or for orthodontic purposes. Dr. Gabe will review your child’s needs and discuss treatment options with you.
The baby teeth serve as space holders for the permanent teeth. With the loss of a baby tooth, neighboring teeth start migrating into that vacant space, potentially causing problems as your child grows. This loss may lead to the need for extensive orthodontic treatment at a later age. A space maintainer is placed in that area to hold the space open so that the adult tooth can erupt in a more appropriate position.
In an adult tooth when the cavity is too close to the nerve, or the in trauma when the nerve is exposed a root canal is often indicated for a mature adult tooth. During this procedure, the infection and inflamed nerve is removed, and replaced with a biocompatible bioceramic material to seal the canal space and prevent reinfection. Although this can sound scary at first, it is truly most like a large deep filling and many patients feel better after the procedure is completed.
Oak Landing Pediatric offers dietary counseling to help better assess your child’s dental health and diet and recommend ways to improve it. More often than not the changes we suggest are simple and easy to implement into your child’s current diet. While these changes may seem small they can often make a tremendous difference to your child’s dental health.