Fixing Little Teeth With Big Smiles
Restorative Pediatric Dentist in Arlington, VA
Childhood cavities are the most common childhood disease and according to the CDC, almost 40% of children ages 2-6 have tooth decay. Although VK Pediatric Dentistry focuses on preventative oral care to avoid issues, we understand that things happen and decay can still occur despite proper hygiene and your best efforts. Sometimes teeth break or emergencies happen and pediatric restorative dentistry is necessary. We are here for you!
If there is a cavity in your child's mouth, usually our first line of treatment involves a filling. This filing material, a resin based composite, helps restore the missing tooth structure that was lost due to the decay. We always use tooth-colored fillings that is completely bio-compatible with the natural tooth (no metal allergies). These fillings bond to the tooth and can last a number of years if cared for properly. They are shaded to match the natural color of the tooth (as the name indicates). Once a filing is done, regular maintenance is required such as brushing, flossing, and routine check ups.
Every tooth in the mouth, including both baby and adult teeth, has multiple layers of tooth structure. The inner most layer of the tooth is the nerve. Most times cavities are limited to the outer two layers of the tooth structure (enamel and dentin), but sometimes the cavity can extend to the nerve. In this situations we may need to perform what is known as a baby root canal, or a pulpotomy. This is followed by a crown to help preserve tooth structure. Both of these procedures can be completed in one visit and due to our modern training and our specialized techniques, these procedures are often pain and tear free.
Sometimes teeth can become so damaged due to injury or cavity that it cannot be restored with a filling. It may require something called a dental crown. This restores a tooth and replaces the damaged tooth structure. At VK Pediatric Dentistry, we offer three different kinds of crowns depending on what your child needs: Tooth colored composite crowns for the front teeth and stainless steel crowns for the back molars. We also are proud to offer porcelain zirconia crowns which can be used in certain cases to restore teeth both aesthetically and functionally. All crowns can be placed in just once visit and last for years if properly cared for.
Stainless Steel Crowns
Stainless steel crowns are often one of the best choices for restoring a child's teeth because stainless steel crowns are strong, durable, and can last a very long time. These are generally used in the back of the mouth to restore molars, which are typically placed under the most stress when chewing and are the most often missed during brushing and flossing. A stainless steel crown is an ideal treatment option to repair these back molars because they replicate the strength of real tooth structure and because they are hidden in the back of the mouth.
All Composite Crowns
Composite crowns are made of the same material that our fillings are made of: composite resin. These crowns are often used in the front teeth to restore cavities because they can match the natural tooth color well and often blend in with the adjacent teeth when a child smiles. Although these crowns look great, they can break, chip, or become stained over time and require extra careful care at home. You should avoid biting into hard things such as carrots, apples, and corn on the cob and instead use the back teeth for chewing. This helps extend the longevity and durability of these crowns.
White Ceramic Crowns
We are proud to be one of the only providers who offers all white ceramic crown options. These are both functional and beautiful and help restore broken or cavitated teeth. Each crown is made of Zirconia that is both strong and bio-compatible. This prevents things like sensitivity to hot and cold. Not all teeth can be restored using this treatment option and consultation is required to determine if your child is a candidate.
The number one goal at VK Pediatric Dentistry is to preserve your child's natural teeth but sometimes trauma, cavities, or orthodontic extractions can require a tooth to be extracted. Sometimes this is to create room for the adult teeth during orthodontic treatment. We are gentle and careful. Thanks to our expert training and modern technique, often times we have the tooth out before a child even knows we've started.
Our team at VK Pediatric Dentistry may recommend a space maintainer if a child loses a tooth prematurely. Depending on the tooth, sometimes this is needed to prevent crowding as the adult teeth begin to drift into this space. A space maintainer helps prevent those problems and minimize future orthodontic treatment.