At Hersch Pediatric Dentistry and Orthodontics, we’re here to do all we can to make sure that your child’s primary (baby) teeth remain strong and healthy.
Unfortunately, many people don’t recognize how crucial it is to maintain healthy primary teeth, thinking that they’ll just fall out anyway so it’s not a big deal. However, primary teeth play a vital role for children for several reasons:
- They guide the eruption of permanent teeth.
- They allow a child to eat and maintain good nutrition.
- They allow for clear pronunciation and good speech habits.
- They can even give a child a great self-image.
By coming in to visit your Newport Beach children’s dentist and orthodontist, we’re capable of making sure that your child’s teeth will stay in great shape with our following dental treatments.
Sealants prevent cavities! Normal pits and grooves on the chewing surfaces of back teeth trap food that can’t be removed by brushing or washed out by water or saliva. Sealant materials are similar in consistency to nail polish and made of a resin based, tough, plastic material designed to bond (stick) to tooth enamel. Our sealants do NOT contain BPA and are safe in the oral environment.
Protect normal pits and grooves on the chewing surface of back teeth.
Stop small amounts of decay from growing larger.
A clear or tooth colored sealants is painted onto the tooth surface to “seal” the pits and grooves and protect against decay. They are generally applied to children’s permanent back teeth.
Sealants are an excellent way to protect chewing surfaces of teeth from decay. They are a much better financial investment than treating decay after it has started.
Sealants are not permanent. They generally last about five years with normal wear, but can wear off or chip off earlier in certain instances. Also, sealants do not prevent decay between teeth or the onset of gum disease, so regular home care and dental visits are important.
There are no appropriate alternatives to sealants. If a tooth has decay, it will need a filling or other restoration.
Why Primary Teeth Are Important
Primary teeth are important for several reasons. Foremost, good teeth allow a child to eat and maintain good nutrition. Healthy teeth allow for clear pronunciation and speech habits. The self-image that healthy teeth give a child is immeasurable. Primary teeth also guide eruption of the permanent teeth.
An inexpensive way to restore a small amount of tooth decay.
Decay on a small portion of any tooth.
A composite filling is a tooth colored material. After tooth decay is removed and cleaned, this tooth colored material is layered into the tooth. Each layer is hardened or cured with an intense visibly blue light, and the final surface is shaped and polished to match the tooth. The final restoration is virtually invisible.
Advantages of White Fillings
Composite fillings are more than just attractive. They require minimal tooth preparation and are therefore considered a minimally invasive procedure. Less healthy tooth structure is removed to restore the tooth. Also, a sealant can be placed over the remaining exposed grooves of the tooth to minimize the risk of decay on another area of the tooth.
Disadvantages of White Fillings
Composite fillings can be subject to wear and tear from tooth grinding and from biting into or chewing on hard objects etc.
In cases of extensive decay or if the baby tooth required a pulpotomy, a crown is the best option. If the decay is not treated, it will most likely increase in size and become a larger problem.
Protect and keep badly decayed or fractured teeth.
Badly decayed teeth.
Need to protect and strengthen teeth.
Tooth has had a baby root canal “pulpotomy”
A crown (often called a cap) covers the tooth and restores it to its original shape and size. Decay is removed and cleaned from the tooth and a preformed crown is placed over the tooth. Unlike adult crowns, in which the crown is made to fit the tooth, which require 2 appointments, baby crowns are placed in one visit, because the tooth is prepared to fit the crown.
Crowns are incredibly strong due to the fact that they are cover the entire tooth. This protects and strengthens the remaining tooth structure. They are the best chance for survival of a tooth that has had a baby root canal.
Crowns are excellent restorations and have few disadvantages, however most children’s crowns are silver in color.
Typically there are no good alternatives to crowns. If the tooth has sustained enough damage to require a crown then the best prognosis for the tooth is to receive the crown. Placing a filling on a tooth that should have a crown will likely result in fracture, recurrent decay, and loss of that tooth.
Premature loss of your child’s baby tooth.
Space maintainer — a combination of bands and wires designed to hold the remaining teeth in a position that will allow the future permanent tooth to erupt in the proper location.
Prompt placement of a space maintainer will give the permanent tooth the best chance of erupting in the mouth in the correct location. This will minimize orthodontic problems caused by premature loss of a baby tooth.
Your child will need to wear the appliance until the permanent tooth erupts. If not kept clean, decay can occur under the bands.
If a space maintainer is not placed, the teeth will shift into the open area, making it difficult or in some cases impossible for the permanent tooth to erupt. This requires more extensive orthodontic treatment to remedy.
Pulpotomy, "Baby Root Canal"
Decay that has reached the nerve/pulp of the baby tooth.
Like adult root canals, the dentist will access the nerve chamber of the tooth, and remove some of the nerve/pulp of the tooth. Unlike adult root canals, this is a very short procedure, as only part of the pulp needs to be removed, and does not require the time consuming filing of adult root canals.
If the tooth has been symptomatic this procedure will likely alleviate the pain.
Allows for the tooth to be preserved until it is ready to fall out naturally.
Pulpotomies have a 90% success rate. Occasionally, the nerve of the tooth is so badly damaged that it does not respond to pulp therapy, resulting in the need for extraction of the offending tooth.
The only alternative to a pulpotomy is extraction, and placement of a space maintainer. However, if it is possible to save the baby tooth, this is the best alternative because it preserves the appropriate spacing for the adult dentition.
Resources and Links From Your Pediatric Dentist in Newport Beach
It is natural for parents to want to know everything there is to know about their child’s dental care to ensure that their kids are getting nothing less than the best. After all, being armed with information about pediatric dentistry prevents parents from getting caught off guard and blindly trusting a practice when they suggest treatment for their kids. That’s why your Newport Beach children’s orthodontist and dentist is committed to providing you with all the information you need to give you control of your child’s oral health. To accomplish this goal, we’ve put together a collection of pediatric dentistry resources and links to other reliable sites, so you can be equipped with the knowledge necessary to feel confident in your child’s quality of dental & orthodontic care.
Contact Your Newport Beach Orthodontist and Kids Dentist Today!
If you have any further questions about our dental treatments, please don’t hesitate to contact us and let us know. If you’re interested in scheduling an appointment with your Newport Beach orthodontist and pediatric dentist, feel free to give us a call at (949) 644-0611. We can’t wait to hear from you and help give your child a healthier smile!