Although our goal is to prevent cavities, repairing damaged teeth is a large part of our practice. When we do need to fix a tooth, our goal is to provide your child with the safest and most attractive filling possible.
We prefer that nobody even notices that the tooth was fixed, except of course if it is a broken front tooth –– then we want everyone to notice that it looks back to normal. Sometimes, however we will decide to use a less attractive material as the benefits of this choice outweigh how it looks. In the front however, tooth-coloured fillings are the standard.
Here are the services we provide:
- Stainless steel crowns – Although they are not white in colour, this procedure covers the tooth completely. It is used for children who present with large cavities on their back baby teeth. It is sometimes used for permanent molars that are structurally weak. This restoration may be done in conjunction with a partial nerve treatment depending on the size and depth of the cavity. It may also be used in circumstances where children have dental decay and are at a high risk for developing more decay. By covering the complete tooth, it is protected from breaking down. During your child’s examination we will discuss with you whether this procedure is right for your child.
- Tooth-coloured fillings – These restorations are used to fill the holes in teeth after the decay is removed or to fix front teeth that are broken. They come in a variety of tooth-coloured shades so they blend into the remaining tooth structure and are less noticeable. They include composite resins (plastic fillings), glass ionomers and resin modified glass ionomers. They are not as strong as a natural tooth and need special care to last a long time. Children who grind their teeth or who are highly active may be at a greater risk to break these fillings. During your child’s examination, the doctor will discuss with you whether this procedure is right for your child.
- Root canals – We may attempt a partial (pulpotomy) or complete (pulpectomy) removal of a nerve in the process of repairing a child’s baby or adult tooth. We use this procedure when the nerve is involved with a deep cavity or if a nerve is exposed after an injury. The complete removal of a nerve is the last effort we make to save a tooth before it requires removal. If a nerve is involved with a cavity or an injury and it is left untreated, an infection develops. These infections can stay localized and drain through the gums (parulis) or may spread in the head and neck region (cellulitis). Infections can be life-threatening and must be followed up with a dentist. Hospitalization can occur if these infections are left untreated and spread.
- Extraction – A tooth is removed when it cannot be repaired, if a root canal (partial or complete) is unsuccessful, or if the tooth’s foundation is such that a root canal is not the best choice. For adult teeth, an implant or bridge is often used to replace the missing permanent tooth. For baby teeth that are lost early, a “space maintainer” may be needed. This holds the space open for the adult tooth in cases where the permanent tooth will not be expected to erupt for some time.
- Space Maintainers – These appliances are used when teeth are removed early and there will be a significant amount of time (more than 6 months) before the adult tooth comes in. They are custom made and hold open the space for the adult tooth to come into. A space maintainer can sit on one side of the mouth (called a band and loop) or involve both sides of the mouth (called a holding arch). Sometimes a special appliance is needed first to guide an adult tooth in before a holding arch is placed. This is called a “distal shoe” appliance. During your child’s examination, the doctor will discuss with you whether this procedure is right for your child.