TRAILHEAD PEDIATRIC DENTISTRY
At Trailhead Pediatric Dentistry, we focus on cavity prevention however in the event your child develops dental decay we offer a variety of in-office restorative procedures such as fillings, extractions, and crowns. We also offer limited early intervention orthodontic care including space maintenance and crossbite correction.
Cavity Prevention Therapy
Cavities are mostly preventable and as such the focus at Trailhead Pediatric Dentistry is prevention! Cavity prevention encompasses a wide range of information and tasks. Our job is to help you come up with a unique or individualized prevention plan for your child. Every child that comes in for a routine cleaning will receive the following in order to provide thorough and complete oral health care:
- Examination by a Pediatric Dentist
- Diet and oral health instruction for a healthy mouth
- Full cleaning with fluoride toothpaste and a rubber polishing cup
- Appropriate dental x-rays
- Fluoride application
When molars develop they form grooves and pits. These grooves and pits are ideal locations for food and bacteria to settle which then become difficult to remove as they become lodged deep within. If unable to be removed the bacteria will consume the food debris and a cavity will form. Grooves and pits of molar teeth are where most cavities in our mouths are found. Sealants can greatly reduce the risk of cavities forming in molars. A sealant is a resin material which is flowed into the grooves and pits filling and sealing them off so debris cannot enter them. Both primary or baby molars and adult molars and pre-molars can be sealed helping to reduce the risk of cavities.
Depending on the extent and depth of your child’s cavity several treatment options are available. Cavities that are small to moderate in size and depth can generally be restored with a filling. We offer both Composite or “white” fillings and Amalgam or “silver” fillings. Although Amalgam fillings have been regarded as a safe and effective restoration most fillings that we place are white. Composite fillings are tooth colored and can last for many years. If you would like your child’s fillings to be Amalgam we are happy to place them however they must be requested.
When cavities are very large, deep, or enter the pulp (nerve) of the tooth current and past studies recommend that a crown be placed over the tooth to both restore function and protect the tooth from further breakdown. For all front teeth including canines we offer white crowns that are both aesthetically pleasing and durable. Back teeth or molars are restored with stainless steel crowns. Both crown types are extremely durable and can last for many years. If your child’s cavity is deep and extends into the pulp or nerve of the tooth a procedure called a pulpotomy will be done. Some people like to refer to this procedure as a baby root canal. Although there are some similarities to root canal procedures that an adult may receive these are limited. A pulpotomy is a simple procedure which takes only a few minutes in which infected and inflamed tissue is removed from the crown of a baby tooth after which the void is filled with a medical paste or filler.
Sometimes children come to our office with a tooth that is either too sick to be restored or it is getting close to falling out. In these situations the cost or risk of saving the tooth simply does not make financial sense and extraction may be recommended. Extraction is a fancy word that means “pulling” or “wiggling” teeth. Baby teeth hold space for permanent teeth and if one is extracted early due to infection or another cause the risk of losing space needed for the adult tooth is high. Space loss can ultimately lead to tipping and crowding of permanent teeth which may lead to orthodontic or braces therapy in the future. If extraction is recommended the doctor may talk to you about placing a spacer. Spacers come in different shapes and sizes, but their main goal is to prevent the loss of space when missing key baby teeth.
Limited Early Intervention Orthodontics
Limited early intervention Orthodontics is performed on children who come to our office with very specific needs or complications. Although it is referred to as “orthodontics” this therapy only targets certain problems and is not a substitute for full braces when your child is older.
Limited early intervention orthodontics focuses on:
- Expanding narrow palates due to congenital or habit formed crossbites
- Crossbites found in the front teeth
- Space loss due to teeth falling out or being extracted early
- Molars impacted or stuck on baby teeth
- Strategically planned extraction of baby teeth
- Thumb sucking appliances