Dental treatment for tooth decay can be avoided! It is recommended to visit the dentist regularly for dental check ups and cleanings in order to prevent and stay on top of dental conditions such as tooth decay, which can progressively lead to uncomfortable symptoms and serious dental and health problems. The faster a child receives care, the higher the chances of reversing the effects of tooth decay and stifling its advancement. Treatment for tooth decay, cavities, depends on the extent of the decay and a child’s specific dental situation. Our dental topics page provides other information on oral hygiene during pediatric dentistry.
Dental Treatment for Tooth Decay Overview
Tooth decay, also known as dental caries or cavities, is the most chronic childhood disease in the America and according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the second most common health disorder in the United States. Cavities are holes in the teeth occurring from, most likely, a combination of factors involving improper oral care and dental hygiene. Tooth decay is a progressive disease that is preventable but also treatable if too advanced for reversal through simple oral hygiene. Tooth decay can progress rapidly in primary teeth, especially. The holes (cavities) only deepen through the innermost layers of the teeth, if not treated properly, and sometimes even reach the nerves, which can be very painful. This can progress into an abscess and cause other health problems. Cavities can also spread through the mouth to other teeth, even between primary and permanent teeth. If a child complains of dental pain, it is important to make an appointment with the dentist immediately.
Dental Treatment Options For Tooth Decay
Treatment for cavities depends on the severity of the dental decay and the child’s particular condition and circumstances. Utilizing a variety of possible treatment approaches, the decay is removed, and the tooth is restored to health and its natural undiseased condition. The particular type of treatment also typically depends on whether the decay is affecting primary teeth or permanent teeth. Possible treatment methods include:
Flouride treatments—If the decay is discovered early, before it eats through the protective enamel outer surface of the tooth, sometimes a professional fluoride varnish treatment or even just brushing with a special fluoride toothpaste can stop and reverse the decay. This can restore the tooth’s enamel where the cavity or cavities have started eroding. Professional treatments contain more fluoride than over the counter toothpastes or tap water. Each treatment may take several minutes and may be administered in the form of a varnish, gel, liquid, or foam that is applied/painted onto the teeth or in a tray that is placed over the teeth.
Filling—The most common way to treat decay is a tooth colored filling. This type of procedure is used for decay that is limited in depth. Simply put, the decay is first removed, and then a tooth colored filling is placed to restore the tooth both to health and its natural cosmetic state.
Pulp capping procedure—If the decay is more moderate to severe and is close to the pulp (nerve) without actually exposing the nerve, a pulp capping procedure is required before a filling is placed.
Pulpotomy procedure—For more severe decay with pulp (nerve) exposure a pulpotomy procedure is required. This involves the removal of infected pulp and placement of medication. Anytime a pulpotomy is performed, a crown is required, either stainless steel or tooth colored.
Porcelain/tooth colored or primary stainless steal crowns—When the decay is more extensive and has eaten through to the nerve of a primary tooth, a crown is required. Depending on the situation, a porcelain/tooth colored or a stainless steel custom-shaped covering is made to replace the full natural crown of a primary tooth. First the dentist completely drills away the decayed part of the tooth to restore health, fills the tooth, and then covers the tooth with the crown to protect and cosmetically repair the tooth.
Root Canal—If dental decay reaches as deep as the very inner pulp (nerve exposure) of a permanent tooth or a permanent tooth becomes abscessed, specifically, a root canal is necessary before a metal or porcelain crown is placed. At this point, a tooth is so badly diseased or infected that decay has reached the nerve, making this the only treatment option apart from removing the entire tooth. First, the dentist removes the decayed inner pulp of the tooth, and then administers medication into the root canal to heal any infection. After the health of the inside of the tooth is reestablished, the dentist will fully restore the tooth by replacing the removed pulp with a filling.
Extraction—For primary teeth that become so seriously decayed that they abscess, removal is the only option. Extraction is also used for permanent teeth that have undergone such extreme neglect and are decayed absolutely beyond repair, even by root canal. After the dentist extracts the diseased tooth, the space that is left may cause other teeth to shift out of place. In order to prevent this from happening, it is recommended that a space maintainer be placed where a primary tooth was extracted and either a bridge or dental implant be placed where a permanent tooth was extracted.
source: “Dental Treatment for Tooth Decay” kidsdentalonline.com Kids Dental Web, Feb. 3rd 2018.
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