Children with baby teeth may require fillings if there is decay on the tooth surface. It is a good idea to have fillings on baby teeth to prevent the disease to progress into the nerve which can affect future adult teeth.
When we conduct a regular check-up and review x-rays, we can determine if your child will require a filling. Fillings are used to treat areas of decay, damage from fractured teeth and incorrect dental development or change in color of the tooth.
White (Composite) Fillings
Composite fillings are a tooth-coloured restoration which is then moulded to the shape of the tooth. After tooth decay is removed and cleaned, this tooth colored material is layered into the tooth. Each layer is hardened or cured with highly intense visible light, and the final surface is shaped and polished to match the tooth. The final restoration is virtually invisible.
Composite fillings require minimal tooth preparation, in other words less of the 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.
The initial investment in a composite filling is higher than that for a silver filling. This is due to the fact that the composite material is more expensive and the restoration is more difficult and time consuming to place. Also, on baby teeth, with cavities in between the teeth they are more likely to have recurrent decay, thus resulting in the need for replacement.
In cases of extensive decay or if the baby tooth requires a pulpotomy, a crown is the best option. The advantages of crowns are that they are strong and can last for many years, especially if your child flosses and brushes their teeth independently.
A pulpotomy is when the inflamed pulp chamber, usually on a baby molar, is removed, the area is sterilized, and the chamber is sealed. It is sometimes called a baby tooth root canal, but it’s not really a root canal and it can be done is some cases in permanent teeth. It is a very common procedure in children and has a reasonably good prognosis of success. It’s also fairly easy to do in conjunction with associated procedures.
A primary (baby) molar may be restored with a stainless steel crown during one appointment. Although tooth coloured crowns are available, we recommend using stainless steel silver crowns as they provide a better fit and are more cost effective. The decay is removed, the tooth is shaped for a crown, the appropriate size crown is selected, and the crown is cemented. The crown must be brushed when brushing the other teeth.