Fillings – When cavities are relatively small, the dental decay is removed and a white, tooth colored filling is placed. This prevents the decay from becoming bigger and/or spreading to other teeth.
Crowns – If a cavity becomes deep, large or causes the tooth to chip away, a stainless steel (silver) crown is needed. Back teeth take a lot of pressure and force during chewing, so a strong replacement is needed once large dental decay is removed. White fillings often crack under this pressure, but crowns are typically durable enough to withstand it since they cover up the whole tooth. If the large cavity occurs in a front tooth, a white, tooth colored crown is placed.
Pulpotomies – Sometimes a cavity is large enough that it spreads to the nerve deep down inside of the tooth. When this happens, the cavity and the part of the nerve infected by the cavity are removed, a medicated filling placed inside of the tooth, and a crown placed over top. Baby teeth aide in chewing and certain speech patterns, but they also save space for and help guide into place the adult teeth, so it is extremely important to keep these teeth for as long as possible, until it is time for them to naturally fall out. Pulpotomies often help increase the longevity of a decayed tooth that would otherwise be headed for extraction
Extractions – Non-restorable cavities, infection, trauma, and orthodontic issues may mean that a tooth needs to be “wiggled” out. If this occurs much earlier than the baby tooth would have naturally fallen out, we’ll often recommend placing a space maintainer. Some extractions, like those for wisdom teeth, will require a referral to an oral surgeon.