Managing Decay

Our goal is to see kids grow up with healthy smiles and happy hearts, emotionally able to embrace dental health care eagerly. Preventing dental caries, decay, requires some facts to build a healthy smile. A healthy smile helps build a happy heart.

Prevention

Preventing dental caries is easier than restoring decayed teeth. Briefly:

  • Drink mostly water between meals
  • Eat and drink mostly during three meals a day.
  • Allow two to ten snacks a week.
  • Brush twice a day for two minutes with an ADA approved toothpaste.
  • Begin professional care early. First tooth, First visit.

Cause

Dental caries, or decay, is an infection of the teeth.

  • If one tooth decays, the infection can spread to other teeth and decay as well.
  • Dental caries spreads from parents to their children.
  • Twenty percent of dental patients have eighty percent of decay. The twenty percent with most of the decay are at high risk of future decay.
  • That’s why dental experience doesn’t necessarily correlate to dental habits.
  • Some people will need to embrace additional health habits to prevent future decay.
  • Restoring the decayed tooth eliminates the decay but not the infection.
  • Dental infection must be prevented from starting again.
  • Permanent teeth are more likely to stay healthy if the primary teeth are healthy first.

No matter how badly your child’s decay is now, with good home care and regular preventive visits, you can expect the teeth to stay healthy. His permanent teeth will be healthy, and your child will enjoy a bright, healthy smile.

Primary Incisors

A healthy attractive smile starts with healthy attractive incisors. Keeping them healthy is best, however, if they become carious, restoration to esthetic function is invaluable. These teeth are normally lost and replaced at 6 to 7 years.

Restoring the incisors is a sure way to preserve full oral function and an esthetic appearance. Tooth colored fillings or Zirconia crowns restore decayed or fractured incisors very nicely. They are not quite as strong as natural teeth, so care is needed when chewing hard foods. Stain may appear over time, but thorough daily cleaning prevents this problem. We use the most recent generation of total etch-visible light cure bonded hybrid resin system which lasts and looks nice as long as possible.

Removal is necessary if they become infected, painful and non restorable. This is unfortunate, however, we would expect your child to be able to learn to eat, talk, and accept their appearance. Eruption of the permanent incisors can be delayed when primary incisors are removed early.

Slowing the progress of decay with extra home care efforts may allow you to preserve the teeth until they are lost naturally or until your child is older and easier to treat.

Molars and Canines

A well-functioning smile requires healthy molars and canines for proper chewing.
Resin restorations (tooth colored fillings) are effective for most decayed molars. We use the newest generation material, which studies show endure longer than previous formulas. We bond the resin to the tooth enamel and dentin surfaces to promote the best seal and to strengthen the tooth.

Stainless Steel or Zirconia Crowns are effective restorations for badly decayed primary teeth. You can depend on them to last until the teeth are lost naturally and are less costly than multi-surface resin restorations.
Primary molars and canines are lost naturally between 9 to 12 years of age. When they are lost early or decay, space for the permanent teeth can be lost. The permanent teeth may not have enough room to come in well. If primary molars become non restorable, space maintenance should be planned.

Pulp Therapy

Teeth with deep decay may require pulp therapy in order to prevent discomfort. The dental pulp contains the nerves and blood vessels inside the root of the tooth and can become inflamed as decay progresses. There are two types of pulp therapy:

  • Indirect Pulp Cap: If the decay progresses close to the nerves, medication is placed on the dentin to encourage pulpal healing
  • Direct Pulp Cap: If the decay progresses so close to the nerves that a small exposure occurs during removal of decay, medication is placed on the pulp to encourage pulpal healing.
  • Pulpotomy: When the decay goes into the pulp, the infected part is removed and the healthy part is medicated.
  • Pulpectomy: When the whole pulp is infected, it must be cleaned out and filled in with medication.
  • The tooth is numb so there is no discomfort during these treatments.

Remember, dental caries tends to spread to more teeth. Now is the easiest time to treat your child’s unhealthy mouth and equip him with a healthy comfortable smile.

THANK YOU and we want you to ask questions!