Tooth-Colored Bonded Fillings
The doctors at Wild Smiles use state-of-the-art technologies and techniques when restoring tooth decay. Research shows that bonded (composite resin) restorations, particularly in baby teeth, are much stronger and last more predictably than the old silver amalgam (mercury) fillings with which most people are familiar.
The research has shown that more than 30% of silver/mercury amalgam fillings on baby teeth fail within 18-20 months. Treating the same tooth twice is both expensive and unpleasant for the patient.
Composite resin (white filling material) actually bonds to enamel and dentin and strengthens the tooth while restoring it to its original shape. A more conservative tooth preparation is used during decay removal so that less healthy tooth structure is lost as compared to silver/mercury amalgam fillings. This also allows us to restore small cavities earlier, before large restorations are needed.
Bonded restorations are also more comfortable postoperatively and less sensitive to temperature changes.
Baby Tooth Pulp Treatment
The pulp of a tooth is the inner, central core of the tooth. The pulp contains nerves, blood vessels, connective tissue and reparative cells. Large deep dental decay (cavities) are the main reason a tooth would require pulp therapy. Decay progresses much more quickly in baby teeth and can enter the pulp before your child complains of a toothache.
When this happens a "nerve treatment," "baby root
canal," "pulpectomy" or "pulpotomy" is required in
order to save the tooth. The purpose is to treat the
tooth so that it will be comfortably maintained
until normal exfoliation time, typically age 11 to
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 stainless steel crown). A pulpectomy is required when the entire pulp is involved (into the root canal 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, in the case of primary teeth, filled with a resorbable material so that the roots resorb and the baby tooth falls out at its natural time. Then, a final restoration is placed.
Stainless Steel Crowns
Baby teeth are not just small permanent teeth. They have thinner enamel, relatively larger pulp chambers and decay at a much faster rate than permanent teeth. In addition, baby teeth do not hold large fillings very well.
More than 30% of large fillings placed on baby teeth fail, regardless of the type of filling material, within 18-20 months after placement. That is why stainless steel crowns are often recommended for baby teeth with significant decay. This is particularly important for younger children whose molar teeth are needed for a number of years. This one-appointment technique offers a predictably strong restoration that will protect the tooth until its normal exfoliation. (It will protect molars until 10-12 years old).
A stainless steel crown should be considered based on the extent of the decay and length of time the tooth is scheduled to stay in the mouth. Generally, in the long run, this is the most economical and compassionate approach for your child. No one wants to treat the same tooth twice, because not only does the parent have to pay for things twice, the child has to go through the procedure a second time!
Esthetic Veneered Crowns
Esthetic stainless steel crowns are available for upper front baby teeth. This technology has been successfully used for a number of years for the front teeth of infants and toddlers. If your child has large cavities in the front teeth, it is necessary to restore them to achieve good oral health and speech development. We also want to maintain esthetics for proper psychological and emotional development. For this reason, we are happy to offer esthetic veneered stainless steel crowns to achieve the needed strength of a full coverage crown restoration, while maintaining excellent esthetics.