Explainer: Understanding Restorative Dentistry for Kids

Did you know that one in every five American children aged between 5 and 8 have at least one decayed tooth? Poor oral health not only affects their ability to speak and eat properly but may also hamper their physical and mental growth. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), children with poor oral hygiene are more likely to miss school or receive lower grades than kids with good oral health.

Explainer: Understanding Restorative Dentistry for Kids
Explainer: Understanding Restorative Dentistry for Kids

That is why the American Dental Association recommends making your child’s first visit to the dentist before their first birthday - and then visiting at least once a year for checkups. Taking your child to a pediatric dentist is an excellent idea as they have obtained advanced training and specialization to prevent and manage dental problems in kids.


“But what is restorative dentistry, and how can it help my child maintain strong and healthy teeth?” you might wonder. This blog will answer all your questions about restorative dentistry for kids and explain how it can keep your child healthy.


Restorative Dentistry and your Child’s Oral Health

A restorative dentist is a dental professional who has obtained advanced training and specialization in preventing, diagnosing, and managing dental problems in kids. In addition to making sure that your child remains protected from dental issues like teeth cavities and gum problems, a restorative dentist will also diagnose and treat dental issues well before they can cause significant damage to your child’s oral and physical health.


Some of the restorative treatment services offered by pediatric restorative dentists include:


Pulpotomy

Your kid’s dentist will perform a pulpotomy when one of your child’s tooth has extensive decay. In cases when the infection from tooth decay has traveled so deep into the tooth that it may involve the sensitive pulp tissue of the tooth, your dentist will pulpotomy to minimize the chances of severe infection. In this procedure, the dentist will drill a hole into the tooth and remove the infected pulp tissue from the tooth’s interior. After cleaning and thoroughly drying the tooth cavity, your child’s dentist will fill it with an inert material to prevent re-infection. Finally, the tooth will be restored with a suitable filling material.


Silver Stainless Steel Crowns

In some cases, where your child has extensive decay in their back (molar) teeth, the dentist may have to reinforce the tooth by placing stainless steel crowns over them. A crown is a cap-shaped structure that sits over damaged or misshaped teeth to restore its structure, function, and aesthetics. A stainless crown may also be required to strengthen a tooth when it becomes weak and brittle following a pulpotomy.


Silver or White Fillings

Pediatric dentists use filling materials to restore extensively decayed, cracked, or fractured teeth. During this procedure, the dentist will first remove the decayed tooth structure using a drill. Afterward, they will place a suitable filling material to restore the tooth’s structure and esthetics. Depending on the extent of decay and the type and location of the tooth, pediatric restorative dentists may use silver amalgam or tooth-colored fillings like composite resins.


Extractions (removing teeth)

While restorative dentists try their best to avoid removing a child’s milk teeth before their permanent successors start to erupt, there are certain situations where an extraction may be needed in kids. For example, if a milk tooth fails to come out normally and prevents its permanent counterpart from erupting, your child’s dentist may extract it to allow the underlying tooth to come out. An extraction may also be needed if one or more teeth are causing space problems or “crowding” inside the oral cavity.


Space Maintainers

Your child’s milk teeth are placeholders for their permanent successors. If a milk tooth is lost prematurely, or if a milk tooth never appears, the dentist will place a space maintainer over the vacant space to prevent the neighboring teeth from creeping in - and creating problems in the eruption of the underlying permanent tooth. Besides, the movement of the adjacent teeth inside the vacant tooth space can also create local spacing between teeth and cause problems in eating and speaking. That is why space maintainers are essential to preserve the space for the uninterrupted eruption of a permanent tooth when its primary predecessor is lost too early.


Your child’s oral health is directly linked to their physical well-being. That is why you must take your kids to a restorative dentist for regular checkups. In this way, not only can they enjoy pearly white and healthy teeth, but the good dental hygiene habits they will learn during the early years will go a long way in keeping them fit and healthy later in life.


If you have any additional questions about your child's oral hygiene, please feel free to contact us at Urbana Pediatric Dentistry. To learn more about Urbana Pediatric Dentistry visit our About Us page. For more tips and information feel free to Contact Us and follow us on social media on Instagram @urbanapediatricdentistry and Facebook @urbanapediatricdentistry.