Fremont, CA Dentist
Mission Hills Family Dentistry
39572 Stevenson Place
Suite 125
Fremont, CA 94539
(510) 793-0800
Cupertino Family Dentistry
Mission Hills Family Dentistry
10055 N. Portal Avenue Suite 130
Cupertino, CA 95014
(408) 257-4304
By Mission Hills Family Dentistry Inc.
February 05, 2014
Category: Oral Health
Tags: tooth decay  
SavingaDiseasedPrimaryToothCouldBenefitFutureOralHealth

Dentists go to great lengths to save an adult permanent tooth. Even though restoration technology is incredibly advanced, none can completely replace the biological function of natural teeth. Treating a diseased tooth to preserve it is a high priority in dentistry.

It would seem, though, that a child’s primary (baby) tooth might not warrant the same treatment. Since the tooth eventually detaches from the jaw to make way for a permanent tooth, why save it?

It is worth the effort, because primary teeth provide more than a chewing function: they also serve as guides for their permanent successors. When they’re lost prematurely, the permanent teeth may not come in correctly, leading to a malocclusion (poor bite). Other areas of development, like speech and dental bone growth, may suffer as well from the longer time gap between the premature loss and the permanent tooth eruption.

Saving an infected primary tooth should be considered, especially if significant time remains in its lifespan. Due to differences between primary and permanent teeth, though, the treatment approach isn’t the same. For example, the body gradually absorbs the roots of a primary tooth (a process called resorption) as the permanent tooth beneath erupts applying pressure to the primary roots (this is what enables its eventual detachment). Dentists must factor this process into their diagnosis and treatment plan for a primary tooth.

The level of treatment may vary depending on how deep the infection has advanced. If the decay is limited to the tooth’s outer layers and only partially affects the pulp, the innermost layer of the tooth, a dentist may remove as much soft decay as possible, apply an antibacterial agent for any remaining hardened infection, and then restore the tooth with filling materials.

For deeper infection, the dentist may remove some or all of the pulp, disinfect and clean the area, and then fill and seal the empty space with a filling. A filling material like zinc oxide/eugenol paste should be used that’s capable of resorption by the body to coincide with the natural root resorption. After treatment, the tooth should continue to be monitored for changes in appearance or gum swelling, just in case the infection returns or advances.

Although it may seem counterintuitive, treating a primary tooth as you would its successor is worth the effort. Your child will reap the health benefits, both now and long after the primary tooth is gone.

If you would like more information on endodontic treatment for children, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Root Canal Treatment for Children’s Teeth.”

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Are Baby Teeth important? Baby teeth may not last forever, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t extremely important. In fact, they are just as important to babies and kids as your adult teeth are to you! Here are five things every parent definitely needs to know about baby teeth. My Child is having speech issues could this be related to their teeth?

Losing certain teeth too early can make it difficult to correctly say some words and might cause long term problems down the road.Does it really matter if you get a cavity in a baby tooth?

Baby teeth are different from adult teeth in that the outer layer of the teeth (the enamel) is much thinner, and the layer just under that (dentin) is much softer. Because of this, cavities can eat through baby teeth surprisingly quickly. With regular dental checkups, little cavities can get filled before they grow into a gaping hole. Do cavities in baby teeth hurt as bad as adult cavities?

Cavities hurt at any age! For children with untreated cavities, there is a good chance their little mouths are in pain. This can make it hard to focus in school and may lead to them feeling upset or grumpy much of the time. Living with the nagging pain of a toothache is no fun at all, so get those tiny teeth looked at asap!Healthy baby teeth lead to healthy adult teeth, but they also do so much more. You can do your part by making sure your children brush after meals, floss daily, and see the dentist twice a year. And if you spot a cavity, get to the dentist right away! Every kid deserves to have a healthy, happy smile.