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Tooth Restoration


Overview

Restorative dentistry in pediatric dentistry typically comprises two procedures: fillings and crowns. Both procedures aim to repair damage to the tooth’s surface, or enamel, and restore the function and esthetics of your child’s teeth.

Warning Signs

Tooth sensitivity is the most common early warning sign of enamel loss due to tooth decay. While there could be a number of reasons for this sensation, only your pediatric dentist can diagnose its underlying cause. If a damaged tooth surface is not treated early, your child’s discomfort will increase.

Fillings

A filling repairs and restores the surface of a tooth that has been damaged by decay, fracture, or wear. A dental filling strengthens the tooth. If tooth decay is not repaired at its early stages, it will worsen and additional or alternative dental treatments may be necessary.

With proper care and routine oral hygiene, a filling has a lifespan of 5-12 years, depending upon the type of filling material used.

When Prescribed

A filling prescription is made when:

  • The surface enamel of a tooth is damaged due to decay, fracture, or wear.
  • A tooth's surface needs to be evened out to improve the ability to bite or chew.

What to Expect

After a thorough exam of your child’s teeth, gums, and supporting bone structure, your pedantic pediatric dentist will discuss treatment options with you and answer your questions. If the agreed-upon treatment is a dental filling, your pediatric dentist will:

  • Apply a local anesthetic to the affected area of your child’s mouth
  • Use a hand-held instrument to prepare the tooth by removing the decayed or damaged tooth surface
  • Cleanse the prepared tooth to remove debris and bacteria
  • Isolate the tooth using a small, protective sheet called a "dental dam" to keep it clean and free of saliva during the procedure
  • Select the dental filling material based on the placement of the tooth, the location of the damaged area of the tooth, and the extent of its surface damage
  • Apply adhesives and filling material to the prepared area and shape it to match the look and feel of a natural tooth
  • Expose a special hand-held light to the filling material to harden the repaired surface of the tooth

Crowns

A dental crown restores a tooth's shape, size, and strength. It fully encases the visible portion of your child’s tooth. Once it is bonded in place, only a dental professional can remove it.

With proper care and good oral hygiene, the life of a crown can range from 5 to 15 years.

When Prescribed

A crown may be prescribed by your pediatric dentist to:

  • Restore and protect a tooth that is worn, decayed, cracked, or broken
  • Protect and support a tooth after a very large filling or pulp therapy

Crown Types:

1.     Stainless Steel

Stainless steel crowns offer strength and endurance. A metal crown may be recommended for back teeth where the forces of biting and chewing are the greatest. A metal crown rarely chips or breaks. In addition, it requires minimal removal of tooth structure.

2.     Porcelain-Fused-to-Metal

Porcelain-fused-to-metal crowns offer the benefits of a natural surface color that resembles the rest of your child’s teeth and the strength of a metal substructure. While there are several advantages to selecting this type of crown, it requires the removal of more tooth structure than other types of crowns. This means that there is greater potential for patient discomfort during the treatment procedure.

3.     Zirconia Ceramic

Zirconia ceramic crowns are attractive, strong, stable, and highly resistant to wear. A zirconia ceramic crown provides the best natural color match to the rest of your child’s teeth and is an excellent choice for front teeth. Additionally, zirconia ceramic crowns will not chip like a porcelain fused to metal crown, nor will they discolor or break down over time.

What to Expect

After a thorough exam of your child’s teeth, gums and supporting bone structure, your pediatric dentist will discuss treatment options with you and answer your questions. If the agreed upon-treatment is a dental crown, your pediatric dentist will:

  • Apply a local anesthetic to prepare your child’s tooth.
  • Use a hand-held instrument to prepare the tooth by removing the decayed or damaged tooth surface
  • Cleanse the prepared tooth to remove debris and bacteria
  • Isolate the tooth using a small, protective sheet called a "dental dam" to keep it clean and free of saliva during the procedure
  • Fit and bond your child’s crown.