I am proud to say that I have all my own teeth at the age of 65. While that may not sound unusual to some people, everyone in my family who is my age or older wears dentures. I always tell people that that flossing is the key to good dental health. I have arthritis in my hands, but I don't let it keep me from flossing every day. My trick is to use those little "flossers" you can buy at the drug store. They have plastic handles floss stretched out on top of the handle. These make flossing easier on days when my arthritis is acting up. I started this blog to let other people know that they can keep their teeth healthy into old age when they take care of them. If you have hand pain, find ways to make flossing easier, like I did.
Finding out that your young child has decay inside a molar baby tooth can be shocking to many parents, and this type of problem is something that will require treatment. Your child's dentist is likely to spot this problem during a normal checkup, and the dentist will tell you what you should do. There are several different ways to fix this problem, and it is definitely an issue that should be addressed sooner rather than later.
Where Is The Decay?
The decision on what to do will rely on where the decay is found on the tooth. If the decay is on the outer surface of the tooth, the dentist will be able to perform a filling on the tooth. This involves grinding out the decay and replacing it with a composite filling material.
If the decay is inside the tooth, a standard filling will not be enough. The outer part of a tooth contains a layer of enamel, which is a material that is very strong. Under the enamel is a layer of dentin, which can become infected if the cavity works its way through the enamel. When a cavity reaches this layer, it can easily seep through inside the tooth. If this happens, the tooth pulp becomes infected, and a standard filling cannot solve this problem.
Can't The Tooth Be Pulled?
Most children do not lose their molar teeth until they are around 12 years old, and this is why dentists take a child's age into consideration when determining a course of action to fix this type of problem.
If the child is near the age of 12, the dentist might agree that pulling the tooth is the right solution. Before this is done, the dentist will take x-rays to see if the new molar is coming in. If the new molar will be making its way through the gums soon, pulling the decayed tooth can be a good solution for the problem.
Unfortunately, decay inside a tooth can occur with children that are much younger than 12 though. If a child is only five years old and the dentist pulls the tooth, the child will be left with a large gap for many years. A dentist can put in a small device (called a spacer) to help with the problem, but this is not always the best solution.
A spacer will keep the teeth spread out while the tooth is gone in this area, and this is important because the new tooth will eventually erupt and need a place to go.
Are There Other Options?
Your child's dentist might not believe that pulling the tooth is the right solution because baby teeth are important, even though they are temporary. Instead, the dentist might refer you to an endodontist, which is dentist that specializes in root canals.
A root canal procedure can be used to remove the infected tooth pulp from this particular tooth, and this is something that is very common with kids and adults. During a root canal, the dentist will:
After the procedure is complete, the dentist will create a custom-made crown to place over the tooth. This crown will protect the tooth until it falls out, and the problem will be solved.
While you may have some say in what procedure is used, it's always important to take the advice of your child's dentist. If you are referred to an endodontist at a place like Maplewood Dental Associates, PA, take your child there and find out what he or she thinks about the situation.