At Wow Smiles, we encourage our patients to focus on preventive oral care so that they maintain proper oral health. Teeth serve many important functions, such as assisting with eating, speech and a positive self image.
Sometimes, despite proper hygiene and care, things happen. Tooth decay can occur, or a tooth can be broken or knocked out. In these cases, restorative care becomes necessary. Depending on the patient’s needs, there are several restorative options. Our dentist will discuss these options with you.
Dental sealants are often recommended to offer protection from cavities and the build-up of plaque and debris. Children’s teeth are especially susceptible to cavities because of the many grooves on their biting surfaces. The back teeth in particular have the most grooves and because of their location, are the most difficult to clean with a toothbrush. Our dentist utilizes the application of sealants on the appropriate teeth to prevent tooth decay and the buildup of unwanted bacteria.
The care of sealants is very important to ensure effectiveness. Frequently chewing gum or hard ice will risk pulling off or fracturing sealants. Additionally, nighttime grinding may also prematurely wear down sealants.
Our dentist recommends patients visit the dentist once every 6 months. During that time, we will check the health of your sealants and repair or replace those that are damaged.
A filling is a substance that replaces a decayed or broken part of a tooth. First, our dentist will remove the decayed tooth material. Then, we’ll clean the affected area and finally fill the cleaned out cavity with a filling material to prevent further decay.
If a cavity is too large to restore with a filling, a crown may be recommended. For front teeth, white restorations are used. For back teeth, white or stainless steel crowns are options. The purpose of the crown is to help provide structure for the tooth while protecting the remaining tooth.
PULP THERAPY (PULPOTOMY, PULPECTOMY)
The pulp of the tooth is the inner, central core of the tooth and contains nerves, blood vessels and connective tissue. The purpose of pulp therapy in dentistry is to maintain the vitality of the affected tooth (so the tooth is not lost). In the past, teeth with infected nerves generally had to be removed. Now, we can save teeth with modern dentistry techniques such as pulp therapy.
Pulp therapy is often referred to as “nerve treatment”, “baby root canal”, “pulpotomy” or “pulpectomy.” A pulpotomy removes the diseased pulp tissue within the crown portion of the tooth. Next, an agent is placed to prevent bacterial growth and to calm the remaining nerve tissue. This is followed by a final restoration (usually a stainless steel crown).
A pulpectomy is required when the entire pulp is involved (in the root canal(s) of the tooth). During this treatment, the diseased pulp tissue is completely removed from both the crown and root. The canals are cleaned, disinfected and in the case of primary teeth, filled with a resorbable material. Then the final restoration is placed.
The patient may need to have teeth extracted due to cavities or for orthodontic reasons. There are many options of pain management for those who need a dental extraction. Depending on the age and health of the patient, dental extractions can be done with the use of local anesthetic or in conjunction with a form of sedation.
In the case of chidren, if your child is not apprehensive of visiting the dentist, they may be excited about their upcoming tooth fairy visit. Parents of young children can set the tone to the dental visit. If you suspect or know that your child needs a dental extraction, our dentist recommends avoiding the use of words such as “pain”, “pull”, “yank”, or “rip out” when speaking with your child. As your child visits our office, we will slowly walk through every step with your child in a way they will understand and not be fearful.
If your child loses a baby tooth early through decay or injury, the child’s other teeth could shift and begin to fill the vacant space. When this happens, and your child’s permanent teeth emerge, there is not enough room for them and the result can be crooked or crowded teeth. To prevent this, our dentist may insert a space maintainer to hold the spot left by the lost tooth until the permanent tooth emerges. Later, as the permanent tooth comes in, we will remove the appliance.