How a pediatric dentist treats tooth decay depends on what he or she finds. Fillings may be needed to repair mild decay. Severe decay may require a crown, root canal or removal of the tooth.
A filling is a substance that replaces a decayed or broken part of a tooth. Commonly used materials include metal, alloy, plastic, porcelain or composite (a combination of materials). Because they’re usually tooth-colored, composites are often used on front teeth.
Crowns are used to repair teeth that are broken or show so much decay, a filling isn’t enough. They may be made of gold, porcelain or a combination of man-made materials.
In a root canal procedure, the infected core (or pulp) of a tooth is removed to relieve a toothache, stop the infection and promote healing.
Tooth decay and cavities can be avoided if children receive regular dental checkups beginning at age 1, a healthy diet and daily brushing and flossing.