Stainless Steel Crowns and Pulp Therapy
When a baby tooth is has a large cavity, sometimes using filling materials isn't likely to be successful. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) recommends restoring the tooth with a stainless steel crown especially if the if the nerve (pulp) of the tooth is affected or if the tooth has multiple surfaces with decay. If the nerve is affected, the dentist may need to perform pulpal therapy or nerve treatment before placing the crown. After removing the decay, the dentist will fit and cement a prefabricated crown made of stainless steel over the tooth. Stainless steel crowns have many advantages including their durability, cost, full coverage protection, higher success rates than metal filings in children under four years old, and less likely to need retreatment.
Newer dental fillings include ceramic and plastic materials that mimic the appearance of natural teeth. These compounds, often called composite resins, can be use to keep a natural appearance of a tooth. Composites are cured instantly allowing normal function with a cosmetic result.
Extractions and Space Maintainers
A tooth may need to be removed for a number of reasons. Some teeth are extracted because they are severely decayed or have infection/abscess. Other teeth require removal because they are poorly positioned in the mouth, injured during trauma, or to prepare for orthodontic treatment. If a primary tooth is prematurely lost before a permanent tooth is fully developed and ready to emerge, it is necessary to maintain enough room for the permanent tooth to come in.
In this case, a space maintainer will be recommended. A space maintainer may consist of a band or a temporary crown attached to the tooth on one side of the space. A wire loop bridges the gap to the tooth on the other side. The early loss of primary teeth can lead to more complicated problems later if the space is not held open.
Recommendations for the day of your child’s extraction:
- No drinking with straws
- No vigorous rinsing and spitting
- A soft diet is recommended; no eating of popcorn, pretzels, pizza, crackers, or any food with sharp edges
- If your child has any discomfort, give a children’s dose of Advil® or Tylenol®
- If your child experiences swelling, apply a cold cloth or an ice bag and call our office