Baby teeth serve the important function of eating, speech, and esthetics (self image). These teeth not only help form the developing jaws, but they hold space for the permanent teeth so that a normal bite occurs. The last baby tooth falls out at about twelve years of age. A decayed baby tooth can become so badly decayed that it can do damage to the permanent tooth. At times severe infections of the face, head, and neck can be caused by infected baby teeth. So it is important to restore baby teeth as soon as decay is first detected.
Teeth with dental decay can be restored either with amalgam (silver) or tooth colored fillings. If the decay is extensive it will require the restoration with a crown.
Amalgam (silver fillings)
Amalgam fillings have been in use as a filling material for a long time. They have the longest track record after gold. It is an alloy of mercury with silver, tin, copper and zinc. There has been some concern about mercury poisoning with amalgam fillings during the recent years but there is not significant data supporting it. The disadvantages of these fillings is that there are unaesthetic, require more tooth structure to be removed for placing them and may weaken the tooth due to the extent of preparation. It is still the most widely used restorative material for children.
Tooth Colored Fillings
In the past; cavities could only be treated with unsightly metal fillings that are alloys for silver and mercury. These fillings, especially when close to the front of the mouth, are highly noticeable and unaesthetic. Sometimes, the filling is so large that it causes discoloration of the entire tooth. These fillings (or restorations) often weaken teeth due to the large amount of the original tooth that has to be removed. Also there is a risk of Mercury poisoning that is used in the filling. Modern dentistry has increasingly turned to Tooth colored or composite fillings as a strong, safe and more natural looking alternative. Composite fillings utilize a soft white plastic substance that is hardened with a blue light.
You can help us make this next visit a successful and positive experience for your child, by working with us to accomplish this goal. While taking to your child about this visit use positive words like fun, easy, tooth asleep, silver star, water spray etc. Do not use negative words like pain, hurt , needle, shot, tooth pulled etc.
The entire procedure will be explained to your child and you before the procedure is performed. Pedodontists are trained to deliver the local anesthetic painlessly. However we do offer nitrous oxide and conscious sedation if the dentist sees the need for it. Once the procedure is completed a piece of gauze referred to as tooth pillow is placed between the cheek and the teeth to prevent your child from accidently biting into the numb cheek and lip. When the anesthesia is wearing off your child will feel tingling sensation which may be annoying to some children. Reaffirm to your child that the tooth is waking up.
After treatment is completed you can help us to continue the positive experience by praising your child and referring to the "fun" time they had. Please avoid negative comments such as: Did it hurt? That wasn¹t so bad! You were so brave! Did you get a shot? Were you afraid? These comments could persuade your child in thinking there was a reason to be afraid, even though they were cooperative, had a good time, and may make their future visits more difficult.