Although our focus is on preventative care, sometimes cavities happen; in fact, even the most careful brusher and flosser could end up with a cavity or two. That’s where restorative dentistry comes in. It’s good to know that your child is getting the benefit of the most up-to-date knowledge and techniques in dental repair and restorations, from minor cavities to more involved procedures.
Here are some explanations of the restorative/cosmetic services we provide:
Arch Expansion - Sometimes, children’s dental arches are too small to accommodate all of their permanent teeth. Interceptive orthodontic treatment can widen the dental arch to create space for permanent teeth to properly emerge. Arch expansion minimizes or eliminates the risk of crowding and results in a healthier, more attractive smile.
Pedi-Partials - Your child fell on the playground and lost two teeth. Every parent dreads this scenario, but it doesn’t have to permanently mar your child’s smile. A pedi-partial contains prosthetic teeth to restore smiles and safeguard oral health. Your child’s pedi-partial will be permanently secured to existing teeth, so there’s no fear of your child losing it or leaving it on a school lunchroom tray!
Space Maintainers - Space maintainers are appliances made of metal or plastic that are custom fit to your child’s mouth. They are small and unobtrusive in appearance. Most children easily adjust to them after the first few days.
Space maintainers hold open the empty space left by a lost tooth. They steady the remaining teeth, preventing movement until the permanent tooth takes its natural position in the jaw. It is more affordable — and easier on your child — to keep teeth in normal positions with a space maintainer than to move them back in place with orthodontic treatment.
A procedure where tooth-colored material (composite resin) is used to rebuild chipped, broken, or irregularly shaped teeth, to close gaps and to improve the look of teeth permanently discolored. However, the composite resin used in bonding isn't nearly as strong as a natural tooth. Biting your fingernails or chewing on ice or pens can chip the material. Bonding usually lasts several years before it needs to be repaired. How long it actually lasts depends on how much bonding was done and your oral habits.
Composite (tooth colored) Fillings - A filling is used to repair a tooth that is affected by decay, cracks, fractures, and so forth. In just one appointment, the decayed or affected portion of the tooth will be removed, cleaned, and filled.
NuSmile Zirconium Crowns - Zirconium crowns can be used on any tooth that a metal crown can be used. They are composed entirely of one solid tooth-colored material and look extremely aesthetic. Each crown is glazed with a hint of natural color, making them very smooth, shiny, and impermeable to staining. They are exceptionally strong, and their unsurpassed aesthetics allows them to blend in seamlessly with surrounding natural teeth.
Digital X-rays offer unparalleled benefits over traditional radiographs: they’re convenient, safe for the environment, provide a great opportunity for patient education, can be transferred and copied accurately, and best of all, they’re safer for our patients.
A tiny sensor is placed in your child’s mouth to detect a small amount of radiation – up to 90-percent less than traditional X-rays required. This creates an detailed image of your internal oral structures that is immediately viewable on a chairside monitor, carrying with it all the conveniences of other digitized images. We can rotate and magnify it, adjust it for contrast, and even color-code it for educational purposes. The digital images store easily and efficiently in our computer files, safe and sound. For insurance purposes, referrals, or patient education, digital X-rays can be easily, inexpensively, and accurately reproduced indefinitely.
Generally, unless we are are discussing "wisdom teeth," we would rather not extract a tooth from your child. However, it can be required when a tooth is not lost naturally or if dental decay or trauma results in an infection surrounding the root surface.
As you may be aware, early loss of primary teeth can affect the way permanent teeth develop and grow in. Therefore, if your child has cavities that extend into the primary tooth pulp, Dr. Choate may use pulp therapy to prevent nerve and root death. In addition, if young adult teeth break, or the pulp is exposed, a vital pulpotomy may be necessary to prevent infection that could extend to your child's gums and surrounding teeth.
A pulpotomy consists of removal of a part of an infected or irritated portion of the nerve and blood vessels within your child's tooth. A sedative material is placed to help allow the remaining nerve and blood vessel tissue to heal while a restorative material such as a crown is placed over the tooth for strength.
A pulpectomy is needed when the entirety of a tooth’s pulp has decayed, from the crown down into the root canal. For this procedure, the diseased tooth pulp must be completely removed from both portions of the tooth. Next, the canals must be completely cleansed, disinfected, and oftentimes filled with a resorbable material. Lastly, a final restoration is placed.
Dr. Choate strongly believes in being proactive about preventing decay. She recommends sealants for teeth that have a high susceptibility for developing cavities. A sealant is a clear or tooth colored resin material that is applied over deep grooves on the chewing surfaces of the molars. This material serves as a barrier to food, plaque, and acid, protecting the teeth from decay.
Whitening or "bleaching" of the teeth has become very popular over the last several years. For many of our younger patients with primary (baby) teeth remaining, Dr. Choate does not recommend the products used in our office as they may cause children's teeth to develop extreme sensitivity. Also because of the difference in the tooth structure of permanent and deciduous teeth an uneven pattern may result. However, should your child desire or have a need for whitening please feel free to discuss this with us, as there are many options available.