There are many factors affecting the development of dental decay or disease, despite the best efforts of both parents and kids. After examining a child’s oral health, we thoroughly discuss treatment procedures that promote long-term dental health.
Amalgam, commonly referred to as “silver” filling material is made from a combination of metals that include mercury, silver, tin, and copper. Because of their durability, this type of filling material may be a treatment option to restore your child’s tooth.
It is important to know that amalgam is a safe and stable material. Once the material has hardened, mercury cannot leak from the filling, because the mercury has fused with other metals. The American Dental Association, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, U. S. Food and Drug Administration and World Health Organization all agree that based on extensive scientific evidence, dental amalgam is a safe and effective cavity-filling material. The Alzheimer’s Association, American Academy of Pediatrics, Autism Society of America and National Multiple Sclerosis Society—all science-based organizations like the ADA also say that amalgam poses no health risk.
The Mayo Clinic recently stated that dental amalgam is a safe and durable choice for dental fillings. They also note that “there are several kinds of mercury. The mercury [methylmercury] found in water that can build up in fish and lead to health problems if you ingest too much is not the same type of mercury used in amalgam.”
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Composite resins, or tooth-colored fillings, are strong, and provide good durability for small- to mid-size fillings that need to withstand moderate pressure from the constant stress of chewing. This restorative material is considered more esthetic however it does require there is enough tooth structure left after removal of decay in order to withstand the constant biting pressure and stresses. They can be used on either front or back teeth. Our composites are BPA free. This type of filling material may be a treatment option to restore your child’s tooth.
At Pediatric Dental Specialists of West Michigan we discuss all restorative materials with parents prior to their placement, and our doctors make recommendations based on the size of the cavity as well as its location on a tooth and the type of forces the restoration will need to withstand after placement.
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Our doctors might recommend placing a crown (commonly referred to as a “cap”) on your child’s tooth. A crown is indicated when the cavity has taken away too much tooth structure, and a filling would not predictably be able to withstand the constant force of biting and chewing and would likely fracture. A crown might also be indicated if a cavity has infected the nerve of a tooth, or if the decay has affected multiple sides of the tooth. Sometimes there is loss of tooth structure without decay being present; a crown may be indicated here as well. Children who are high risk for developing decay benefit from crowns as well, as a crown is the strongest and most predictable restoration we have in pediatric dentistry. There are different types of crowns available, and one of our doctors will evaluate your child’s restorative needs with you to determine the right crown for your child.
Extraction of a tooth could be recommended or required for a variety of reasons. If a primary tooth becomes infected or abscessed extraction is required so that the infection does not cause pain, damage to the permanent tooth developing underneath or spread into the bloodstream which could lead to sepsis. The tooth itself is the source of the infection and once removed generally resolves any issues associated. Sometimes a child may be placed on an antibiotic if needed. This will be evaluated by the doctor at their treatment visit. Abscess can occur from a deep cavity that has spread into the nerve and caused the nerve to die, or it can develop after trauma to a tooth. Sometimes extractions are also recommended for over-retained teeth that are causing problems with growth and development.
Space maintainers are indicated in some children after the removal of a primary or baby tooth. Depending on their stage of dental development, space maintainers are indicated in order to prevent movement of adjacent teeth which could lead to problems with growth and development of the jawbones. The specific type of space maintainer that would be best for your child would be reviewed with you by the doctor before placement.