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Routine cleaning and check-up
A cleaning is when a dental hygienist uses special instruments to remove plaque and tartar around your child’s teeth. It is followed by an exam where a dentist detects cavities and reviews x-rays. During this appointment sealants may be placed on posterior teeth. A sealant is a white coating that is placed in the grooves of back teeth to prevent cavities from forming on the biting surfaces of these teeth. At the end of this appointment, a fluoride varnish is applied to the teeth.
Fillings (White or Silver)
A filling may need to be done if during your dental exam the dentist detects a cavity. A cavity is a brown or black spot on your tooth where a special dental instrument, a dental explorer, finds a “sticky” spot. A cavity may also be seen on an x-ray on the biting surface of the tooth or in between the teeth. Cavities are filled with metal (silver) or tooth colored fillings. Your dental team will discuss with you which type of filling will best serve your child’s needs.
This involves placement of a stainless steel crown around your child’s tooth, which “caps” the tooth in cases where a conventional filling will not be strong enough. The crown will then protect the tooth as long as it remains in the mouth. Sometimes if the decay extends into the nerve of the tooth, the nerve tissue from the top of the tooth is removed to prevent pain and infection. The stainless steel crown will fall out like any ordinary baby tooth when it is time.
Root canal therapy
This is prescribed for severely decayed or infected permanent teeth. This procedure involves removal of all the nerve tissue from the crown and roots of the tooth. The tooth will then function normally in the patient’s mouth but will have no feeling to it. A filling and crown is placed after the root canal is done to protect that tooth from fracture.