Dr Zarmin Lalani specializes in pediatric dental restorations in infants, children, teenagers, and kids with special health care needs. Dental restorations in children are a means of treating tooth decay (cavities), damage, or disease in order to maintain the integrity of the teeth and prevent further dental problems. In the process of pediatric dental restoration of the primary teeth, Dr. Lalani preserves and protects the tooth structure so function is maintained and esthetics are restored. Restoration allows for maintaining good oral hygiene and healthy gums. Learn about other dental services provided by Dr. Lalani.
While preventive care is always the number one goal in pediatric dentistry, the fact is that tooth decay is ranked as the most common chronic childhood illness. Studies show that up to 42% of children between the ages of 2-11 suffer from cavities, with 23% of those children being undiagnosed, which allows the decay to worsen and require more extensive restorative treatment. For example, baby bottle tooth decay is not that uncommon.
Because children often do not recognize the signs and symptoms of tooth decay or other dental problems, being proactive about oral health becomes even more crucial. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) recommends having dental check-ups, including cleanings, twice a year starting at the first tooth eruption, or by age one.
Types of Pediatric Dental Restorations
Despite parents’ best efforts to promote good dental health in their kids, sometimes tooth decay still occurs. Cavities in children can be treated with several types of dental restorations depending on the extent and type of damage to the tooth.
Some of the most common pediatric dental restorations offered at Discovery Kids include:
- Dental crowns
- Space maintainers
Both primary teeth (baby teeth) and permanent teeth can be treated with restorative dentistry. Although primary teeth eventually fall out, they still need to be cared for just as adult teeth do. In most cases, your pediatric dentist will recommend restorative treatment on primary teeth due to the importance of baby teeth and the significant role they play in your child’s overall dental health.
Goals of pediatric restorative dentistry include:
- Preventing damage to other teeth
- Maintaining the ability to eat, drink, and speak without pain
- Ensuring tooth functionality
- Aesthetic restoration (how the tooth/smile looks)
- Protecting the remaining tooth structure
- Promoting good oral health
Dental Fillings in Children
When bacteria in the mouth combines with sugars introduced through foods, they eat at the tooth enamel. The result, over time, is tooth decay, which begins as a tiny hole in the tooth surface called a cavity. When diagnosed early, cavities can be treated with a filling. A filling replaces the decayed portion of a tooth and prevents the cavity from growing.
Fillings are typically comprised of either silver amalgam or tooth-colored composite resin. At Discovery Kids Pediatric Dentistry, we are pleased to offer tooth-colored fillings as a treatment for children’s cavities.
Benefits of composite resin fillings include:
- Ability to color-match the teeth, making them less noticeable and more aesthetically pleasing
- Typically, require less drilling than silver fillings to fit securely
- Direct bonding to tooth increases strength
Placing a filling is a relatively simple procedure that involves 3 steps:
- Numbing of the area to be treated
- Removal of the decay and bacteria from the affected tooth
- Application of restorative material to the newly formed hole and allowing it to harden
Fillings are the least invasive, most conservative restorative treatment for children’s tooth decay. With proper dental maintenance, fillings can last for many years or, in cases of primary teeth, until permanent tooth eruption.
Dental Crowns for Children
In some cases, tooth decay is too extensive to be repaired with a filling, and a dental crown is needed in order to prevent more damage and/or save the tooth from premature extraction. Crowns may also be utilized in cases of dental trauma or disease in which a primary tooth is compromised. A dental crown is a protective cap (shaped like the original tooth) which is placed over the healthy portion of a tooth after the decay or damage is removed.
Because enamel is thinner on primary teeth than permanent teeth, decay can spread quickly to other teeth. Placing a crown can prevent decay and infection from affecting other teeth.
Dental crowns are often used for primary molar teeth in cases such as:
- Extensive or multi-surfaced tooth decay
- Patients with high risk for cavities
- Fractured teeth
- Developmental defect in baby teeth
- Extensive wear
- After pulp therapy (nerve treatment for a damaged tooth)
When used on a baby tooth, a dental crown will protect the tooth and later fall out naturally when the permanent tooth erupts. On permanent teeth, dental crowns are designed to remain in place for many years.
Types of Dental Crowns for Children
- Stainless steel: These traditional crowns are the most commonly used due to their durability, moisture resistance, and cost effectiveness. Stainless steel crowns are often used for back teeth that rarely show. They can typically be placed in a single dental visit.
- Porcelain-fused-to-metal (also called resin veneer or veneered steel crowns): These crowns look like normal teeth, as the underlying metal (nickel or stainless steel) is covered with tooth-colored porcelain. While veneered steel crowns are often utilized for front (anterior) teeth restorations, they can be used on back teeth, as well. Benefits include durability and aesthetic appearance, although more tooth reduction may be required.
- Composite strip (pediatric strip crowns): Often used for front teeth, these crowns are made of a clear shell filled with composite material and are cosmetically attractive. The restorative filling matches the tooth’s natural dentition, and once it hardens on the tooth, the covering is stripped off, leaving a smooth, tooth-colored surface.
- White zirconia: These ceramic, digitally constructed crowns are pre-fabricated in specific sizes. White zirconia crowns can be produced and placed in one visit and are known for their aesthetically pleasing, natural look. The material used in these crowns is highly durable, metal-free, and biocompatible.
Space Maintainers for Children
Early loss of baby teeth is the primary reason that space maintainers are used. When primary teeth (specifically molars) are prematurely lost due to early childhood caries, dental trauma, disease, or congenital factors, the space left behind can be compromised by the encroachment of adjacent teeth. This shifting can cause overcrowding of teeth and other orthodontic issues.
A space maintainer is used to save the space (originally the job of the lost baby tooth) until the permanent replacement erupts. A space maintainer is comprised of a stainless steel band and loop which fits within the empty space, and remains there until the adjacent teeth become loose or the permanent tooth begins to appear, at which time it is removed by your dentist.
At Discovery Kids Pediatric Dentistry, our priority is providing the highest quality dental care in a kid-friendly environment that results in a lifetime of good dental health. If you are concerned that your child may have a cavity, please contact Dr. Zarmin Lalani and her team at Discovery Kids Pediatric Dentistry Frisco, Texas, by completing an online appointment request or phone 469-365-5437.