The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry reports that more than 40 percent of children have cavities by the time they reach kindergarten. While Dr. Keta always focused on preventive dentistry, she is happy to provide high quality restorative care when needed. The earlier a cavity is diagnosed and treated, the less invasive the overall treatment will be. Over time, cavities can spread to adjacent teeth and possibly lead to infection. Infections can damage permanent teeth with discoloration and deformities. Dr. Keta will evaluate your child individually and give parents every alternative within the standard of care for the treatment plan. She strives to balance your child’s ability to cope with a procedure, the urgency of treatment, and possible damage to permanent teeth in her recommendations – and then, we make a decision together about the best way to treat your child.
If your child has a small to moderate cavity, the first treatment recommendation is a tooth-colored resin filling. This material literally fills the space in your child's tooth that has been eaten away by the cavity to restore its strength and function. It’s able to firmly bond directly to the tooth and match the natural color of your child’s enamel. Nitrous oxide (link) is available for children who need a little extra help relaxing during treatment.
When tooth decay reaches the nerve of your child’s tooth, a filling can no longer correct the problem. Instead, Dr. Keta may recommend root canal therapy to treat the decay and restore full health to the suffering tooth. The Little Critter team may call it a pulpotomy, commonly known as a baby root canal.
A pulpotomy involves fully removing the top portion of the nerve until healthy tissue is located inside your child’s tooth. It will then be filled with a sedative material to prevent reinfection. Following this treatment, Dr. Keta will restore the tooth’s lost structure with a stainless steel crown. This can be completed in one visit. We will always make sure your child is perfectly comfortable and anesthetized before we begin treatment. Often, these kinds of cavities create the most severe toothaches, and this treatment will give your child relief while saving his or her teeth at the same time. Nitrous oxide is recommended to make your child as comfortable as possible.
If a tooth has lost over half it's surface from decay/trauma or it has a nerve treatment, Dr. Keta will recommend a dental crown.This treatment has more durability and longevity than a white filling because it "caps" and protects the whole tooth. At Little Critter, we place tooth-colored composite crowns for the front teeth and stainless steel crowns for the back teeth.
Little Critter Pediatric Dentistry aims to preserve your child’s natural teeth, but sometimes one can become so damaged or infected that the best solution is to extract it. This may also be necessary to create room for their emerging adult teeth or orthodontic treatment. Dr. Keta will always take extra special care to be gentle and encouraging. Nitrous Oxide is available to help keep your son or daughter completely comfortable throughout the process.
A space maintainer is an appliance that maintains the space left by a lost tooth. Dr. Keta mostly recommends them when she extracts a back tooth and it will be years before the permanent tooth grows in. When a tooth is lost too early, the remaining teeth will often drift into the new gap and trap the permanent tooth. A space maintainer helps prevent these problems and minimize the need for additional future orthodontic treatment. Your child does not need a space maintainer if a front tooth is lost.
Commonly known as “laughing gas,” nitrous oxide is a safe, mild anxiolytic that helps children feel calm and relaxed. It’s ideal for children who are anxious about coming to see us. Your child will place a small mask on his or her nose, then a warm, comforting sensation spreads throughout the body. Your son or daughter is fully awake and able to follow directions and tell us how he or she is feeling. After the treatment, Dr. Keta will administer pure oxygen and the nitrous oxide will have no effects or lasting drowsiness on your child.