Small to medium sized cavities can be repaired using various types of restorative materials. The type of material used depends on factors such as the extent and location of the decay, the ability of a material to duplicate natural contours of the tooth, the length of time required to obtain suitable results, the visibility of the filling, and the cost.
The dentist can advise you as to which materials would be suitable for each needed restoration.
Baby teeth that have large cavities that extend to the nerve chamber (or pulp chamber) inside the tooth, need to be treated with pulpotomies. This is possible if there has not yet been infection to the surrounding bone. Often these teeth already are painful. This process involves removal of the infected pulp tissue, treatment with a medicinal agent, and sealing and dressing the chamber. Preserving the baby tooth until the proper time for it to be lost, helps to preserve adequate room for the permanent successor tooth. They also are successful in restoring function and "smileability".
A variation on this procedure, the pulpectomy, is more similar to a conventional root canal where the total canal is cleansed and filled. This is done on primary front teeth to restore broken-down smiles.
Stainless steel crowns, also known as "Silver Crowns or Caps", are a very common procedure used to restore "baby teeth" (and occasionally permanent teeth) that have large caries or those that had a pulpotomy (baby root canal). Although most teeth can be filled with a white or silver filling material, stainless steel crowns are by far the most predictable and durable option to fix "baby teeth" with large caries, large defects, or damaged enamel.
Front teeth that need crowns can usually be repaired in such a way that the silver color is nearly invisible. This can be done using one of several types of preprocessed layered stainless steel crowns or with cosmetic facings applied to conventional crowns. The choice of technique often depends upon the remaining tooth structure and the child's biting pattern. The doctor can discuss options to restore your child's smile.
Bonding is among the easiest and least expensive of cosmetic dental procedures.
The composite resin used in bonding can be shaped and polished to match the surrounding teeth.
Most often, bonding is used for cosmetic purposes:
- To improve the appearance of a discolored or chipped tooth
- To close slight spaces between teeth
- To make teeth look longer
- Or to change the shape or color of teeth