How do dental sealants work?

Sealants work by filling in the grooves on the chewing surfaces of the teeth. This reduces the risk of food particles and plaque becoming trapped in the teeth and contributing to cavities. The placement of the sealants on the teeth is fast and comfortable and can effectively protect teeth for many years.

Silver fillings or white (tooth-colored) fillings?

Tooth-colored fillings are made from durable plastics called composite resins. Similar in color and texture to natural teeth, the fillings can be placed with removal of less tooth structure than silver fillings. Because composite resins are tooth-colored, they look more natural than other filling materials. Your child can smile, talk, and eat with confidence. In addition, tooth-colored fillings are compatible with dental sealants. A tooth can be filled and sealed at the same time to prevent further decay. Take care of a tooth-colored filling the same way you take care of a silver filling: Brush, floss, and visit your dentist. Any filling will last longer with good oral hygiene.

Who wants silver fillings in their mouth? Some people may, but these days most don’t. Should I have my silver fillings removed? If they are doing well, No! Although silver alloy is still an acceptable material with which to fill teeth, we strongly recommend to use only white composite fillings.

What is a pulpotomy or a “baby root canal”?

When a cavity gets really deep, close to the pulp of a tooth or even into the pulp, the pulpal tissue becomes irritated and inflamed. This is usually the “tooth ache” you feel. If the inflammation and infection continues without treatment, the tooth will likely eventually abscess. In baby molars, a pulpotomy is used in the process of trying to save and restore the tooth. Pulpotomies have a 90% success rate. Occasionally, the nerve of the tooth is so badly damaged that it does not respond to pulp therapy, resulting in the need for extraction of the offending tooth.

What are crowns or “caps”?

When teeth are badly decayed or there is a fracture, a stainless steel crown (often called a cap) is used to covers the tooth and restores it to its original shape and size, strengthening the remaining tooth structure. Decay is removed and cleaned from the tooth and a preformed crown is placed over the tooth. Unlike adult crowns, in which the crown is made to fit the tooth, which require 2 appointments, baby crowns are placed in one visit, because the crowns come in various sizes and tooth is prepared to fit the crown.

What are space maintainers?

Space maintainers are appliances made of metal or plastic that are custom fit to your child’s mouth. They are designed to hold the remaining teeth in a position that will allow the future permanent tooth to erupt in the proper place. Small and unobtrusive in appearance. Most children easily adjust to them after the first few days. There are four rules to the care of space maintainers: First, avoid sticky sweets, chewing gum or soda pops. Second, don’t tug or push on the space maintainer with your fingers or tongue. Third, keep it clean with conscientious brushing and flossing. Fourth, continue regular dental visits.