Digital Radiographs (X-Rays)
Radiographs are a vital and necessary part of your child’s dental diagnostic process. Without them, serious dental conditions can be missed.
Radiographs are able to detect much more than just cavities. For example, radiographs can observe erupting teeth, diagnose bone diseases, evaluate the results of an injury, or assist in planning orthodontic treatment. Radiographs allow dentists to diagnose and treat health conditions that cannot be detected during a clinical examination alone. When dental health problems are found and treated early, dental care is more comfortable for your child and more affordable for you.
The frequency in which radiographs are taken is based on guidelines of the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, your child’s individual dental decay risk, and other factors. Usually, pediatric dentists recommend radiographs once a year.
Pediatric dentists are particularly careful in minimizing radiation exposure to their patients. With contemporary safeguards, the amount of radiation received in a dental X-ray examination is extremely small. Dental radiographs represent a far smaller risk than an undetected and untreated dental problem.
A sealant is a protective coating that is applied to the grooves of the chewing surfaces of the back teeth (premolars and molars), where the majority of cavities in children are found. This sealant acts as a barrier to food, plaque and acid, thus protecting the decay-prone areas of the teeth.
Dental caries (cavities) is the most prevalent infectious disease in children. Dental decay or cavities can cause color changes and/or holes on your child’s tooth which, can lead to pain and infection if left untreated. We use white filling material (Composite Resin) when a dental filling or restoration is required.
Some children who are at high risk for caries (cavities) benefit from a pre-formed crown instead of a filling on their decayed tooth. White crowns are placed on front teeth requiring crowns. White crowns will be used if possible for posterior (back) teeth, but there are some instances where stainless steel crowns may be needed instead. Our board-certified pediatric dentists will provide a detailed explanation if your child requires a crown.
The pulp is the inner, central core of the tooth. The pulp contains nerves, blood vessels, connective tissue and reparative cells. The purpose of pulp therapy in Pediatric Dentistry is to maintain the vitality of the affected tooth (so the tooth is not lost). Dental caries (cavities) and traumatic injury are the main reasons for a tooth to require pulp therapy. Pulp therapy is often referred to as a “nerve treatment”, “children’s root canal”, “pulpectomy” or “pulpotomy”. The two common forms of pulp therapy in children’s teeth are the pulpotomy and pulpectomy. A pulpotomy removes the diseased pulp tissue within the crown portion of the tooth. Next, an agent is placed to prevent bacterial growth and to calm the remaining nerve tissue. This is followed by a final restoration (usually a crown). A pulpectomy is required when the entire pulp is involved (into the root canal(s) of the tooth). During this treatment, the diseased pulp tissue is completely removed from both the crown and root. The canals are cleansed, disinfected and filled with a resorbable material. Then, a final restoration is placed (usually a crown).
Silver Diamine Fluoride (SDF)
There are some instances when we might want to slow down/stop the decay process instead of placing a filling material. Silver Diamine Fluoride (SDF), is a liquid that can help slow down/stop tooth decay and help relieve sensitivity. Decayed teeth often look brown where there is a cavity, after SDF application all the brown areas will stain black. Healthy tooth structure will not stain. The black tooth structure can later be replaced with a white filling or crown.
A discolored tooth or teeth can have a negative consequence on an adolescent’s self-image and could be considered an indication for bleaching/whitening. Dental whitening may be accomplished by using either professional or at-home bleaching modalities. A pretreatment professional assessment is recommended to evaluate for possible pathology causing tooth discoloration prior to bleaching.