Restorative & Surgical Dentistry
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Digital Oral Radiography - Dental Radiographs
Dental radiographs at The Bloor Clinic Kids are only taken after a thorough review of your child’s medical and dental history and after performing a careful visual examination.
Dental radiographs (e.g. X-rays) are required if the visual examination did not provide enough information to accurately diagnose decay or other dental conditions associated with your child’s teeth.
A child’s mouth develops more rapidly than an adult mouth and the baby teeth are far more susceptible to dental decay than adult teeth. It is for these reasons that children require radiographs more frequently than adults. Children at high cavity risk may require radiographs as often as every six months to detect dental decay. Children at low risk for dental decay may not require X-rays as often.
We are particularly concerned about the exposure of patients to radiation. We have appropriate safeguards such as lead aprons with thyroid collars and utilize a digital system for intra-oral radiography. Our digital radiographic system provides a reduction in radiation compared to conventional radiographs. You can be assured that your child is receiving only the necessary and minimal amount of radiation exposure if dental radiographs are required.
Dental cavities progress much faster in children, therefore dental radiographs represent a far smaller risk than undiagnosed dental problems.
When decay has destroyed a tooth to the extent that there is little support for a filling; or when a pulpotomy has to be performed, it is essential to support the remaining tooth structure with a crown (SSC). Placing a large restoration instead of a crown will often result in fracture of the unsupported tooth structure, necessitating further dental treatment.
SSC's are most commonly placed on back teeth (molars), but occasionally may be used in the front if additional support is necessary. When the permanent tooth is ready to erupt, the SSC will exfoliate (fall out), as would a normal tooth.
A composite (tooth coloured) filling is used to repair a tooth that is damaged by decay, cracks, or fractures. The decayed or affected portion of the tooth will be removed and then filled with a composite filling.
Because composite fillings are tooth coloured, they can be closely matched to the colour of existing teeth, and are more aesthetically suited for use in front teeth or the more visible areas of the teeth. As with most dental restorations, composite fillings are not permanent and may someday have to be replaced. They are very durable, and will last many years with proper care, giving you a long lasting, beautiful smile.
It is normal to sometimes experience sensitivity to hot and cold when some composite fillings are first placed, however this will subside shortly after your tooth acclimates to the new filling.
You will be given care instructions at the conclusion of your treatment. Good oral hygiene practices, eating habits, and regular dental visits will aid in the life of your new fillings.
How are composite fillings placed?
Composite fillings are usually placed in one appointment. While your child's tooth is numb, your dentist will remove decay as necessary. The space will then be thoroughly cleaned and carefully prepared before the new filling is placed. If the decay was near the nerve of the tooth, a special medication will be applied for added protection. The composite filling will then be precisely placed, shaped, and polished, restoring your tooth to its original shape and function.
When a tooth has a deep cavity or has suffered a traumatic injury, bacterial infection of the nerve and blood supply to the tooth can occur. This tends to occur more often and more quickly in primary versus permanent teeth due to their thinner enamel, smaller size and relatively larger nerve. It may be necessary to cleanse and remove the infected portion of the nerve in order to save the tooth.
This is a very common procedure performed on primary teeth and after a pulpotomy has been completed, it is necessary to protect the remaining tooth structure with a stainless steel crown (cap).
There are certain circumstances where it is necessary to remove a child’s baby tooth. Certain factors such as crowding or the shape of the roots can prevent it from falling out naturally, and the tooth must be removed to make way for the permanent tooth to erupt. At other times, a tooth may have so much decay that it puts the surrounding teeth and jaw at risk of decay, so your doctor may recommend removal. Infection, orthodontic correction, or problems with a wisdom tooth may also require removal of a tooth.
When it is determined that a tooth needs to be removed, your dentist may extract the tooth during a regular checkup or may request another visit for this procedure. While this procedure is typically very quick, it is important to share with your doctor any concerns or preferences for sedation.
Once a tooth has been removed, adjacent teeth may shift, causing problems with chewing, crowding or with the function of the jaw joint. To avoid these complications, your dentist may recommend the placement of a space maintainer.