Fillings and Crowns
A filling is a way to restore a tooth damaged by decay to its normal function and shape. If you have a tooth that requires treatment for decay, the dentist will first remove the decayed tooth material, clean the affected area, and then fill the cleaned out cavity with a filling material or cover the tooth with a crown.
For Pediatric dentistry, repair materials for treating decay include silver and resin (white) fillings and stainless steel crowns. The dentist will work with you to determine which material is best, depending on the extent of repair, where the repair is needed, and cost. Each material is briefly explained below:
Amalgam (silver) fillings are a less expensive choice and are tolerant to wear. However, due to their dark color they are more noticeable than resin restorations and are not recommended for fillings in very visible areas such as front teeth.
Composite resins closely blend with the color of your natural teeth, creating a more natural appearance. While white fillings may be less noticeable than other materials, they usually only last between 3 and 10 years and may not be ideal for large fillings as they may chip or wear over time.
If decay or a fracture has damaged a large portion of the tooth, or is in a location that does not lend itself well for repair with a filling material, a stainless steel crown (or “cap”) may be recommended. A stainless steel crown typically would be used for primary teeth, and normally lasts the lifetime of the tooth once it is placed. For anterior primary teeth, the crowns have a white facing that gives a natural appearance to the crowns.
Decay that has reached the nerve may be treated through root canal therapy or through a procedure called pulpotomy.