So your child has developed a cavity! Aside from restricting the sugary foods and drinks (and navigating the resulting complaints) and enforcing more thorough tooth brushing & flossing, what can you do? Well, one of the most important things you should do, and soon, is to have the cavity treated by a dentist. But what sorts of treatment options are there?
A crown is a cap that is placed over the tooth once it’s been thoroughly cleaned and prepared for the crown. The preparation process involves filing the tooth down and reshaping it, which will be a permanent alteration. That said, the crown that covers the tooth will hide that and keep the remainder of the tooth safe from further decay. Crowns are a good choice if a pulpotomy has been performed or if the tooth can’t support a filling. It’s important to pay attention to the condition of the crown, as any damage it suffers can allow bacteria to get inside and cause further damage to the tooth. Porcelain and stainless steel crowns are often used on back molars since they are stronger than the composite crowns that are often used for the front teeth to create a natural appearance.
If the decay is near the nerve of a tooth, nerve treatments such as a direct or indirect pulp cap or pulpotomy may be necessary. In these procedures, the decay is cleared away and as much of the tooth roots and pulp as possible are preserved. The goal is to prevent future pain and sensitivity. When done in a timely fashion, a pulpotomy can help prevent a primary tooth from needing to be pulled early. For some practices, a pulpotomy may be something of a “baby root canal”, but that’s not how we do it here at Stellar Kids Dentistry. That’s more of a pulpectomy, which we can perform, but is usually unnecessary and more of a last resort.
Sometimes a primary tooth may need to be pulled before it seems ready to come out. If it’s the source of significant pain, if it’s infected, or if it has a large cavity and can’t be saved, it’s sometimes best for our dental professionals to remove the tooth. Severe dental trauma can also lead to an extraction. This can seem a little frightening to children, but special care is taken to ensure their comfort and to cause minimal injury to the surrounding area. After all, the whole point is to keep their teeth as healthy as possible.
There’s more to treating a cavity than just having a filling done. The best treatment for your child will be a very individual matter. For some, it’s best to have a crown installed. For others, pulling the tooth is the right choice. Remember, the most important thing is for your child to have healthy teeth, and picking the right cavity treatment for them is an important part of that. You can always ask our dental professionals here at Stellar Kids Dentistry if you have any questions about any cavity treatment options.
Fillings are a pretty common way to treat cavities, and there are different options to choose from. Read this next to learn more: Which Type of Filling Is Best?