Pediatric dentistry is just regular dentistry but…smaller, right? Not exactly! Kids’ mouths have specific needs and limitations. Their teeth are more susceptible to decay, for example. But children generally tolerate drilling and filling less. There have recently been some excellent advances in minimally invasive cavity treatments in children. We may be able to help your child avoid the drill altogether. If you’re looking for a kids’ dentist in NYC, look no more!
Silver Diamine Fluoride (SDF)
You have likely heard of fluoride toothpaste, and possibly even fluoride varnish. These are common cavity prevention tools that come highly recommended by dentists and pediatricians.
Silver diamine fluoride is a specific formulation that can stop early decay. If we detect the beginnings of a cavity in your child’s tooth, instead of “watching it,” we may be able to use SDF to stop it in its tracks.
Silver diamine fluoride doesn’t require any numbing, drilling, or filling. We simply apply an SDF solution with a brush. Silver is antimicrobial, and it kills the bacteria responsible for the decay, while the relatively high concentration of fluoride in SDF strengthens the affected tooth’s enamel.
Your child may need a few applications over the course of a year or two, but this is far superior to the experience of having a filling. SDF costs parents less money, and it can delay fillings until children are older and better able to tolerate more serious dental work. It may even prevent them ever having to get a filling in that tooth.
Atraumatic Restorative Treatment (ART)
Atraumatic Restorative Treatment, or ART, is a minimally invasive treatment for cavities that was originally developed for parts of the world with limited dentistry infrastructure. It has caught on in the US, however, as a minimally invasive alternative to conventional fillings. It appeals to patients and parents because, as with SDF, there is no numbing and no drilling. We most often use this technique when there is a hole in the tooth.
To place an ART restoration, we fill the hole in the tooth with a material called glass ionomer. Glass ionomer slowly releases fluoride, which seals the tooth and will continually strengthen it. Compared to a conventional amalgam or composite filling, the ART procedure is less painful and typically takes away less tooth structure.
ART vs Conventional Fillings
For primary teeth with single- or multi-surface cavities, an ART glass ionomer cement filling lasts as long as amalgam or composite. This is also the case for single-surface cavities in permanent teeth.
The Hall Technique is for treating decayed molars with cavities that are too large to be treated properly using ART. It starts off similarly to an ART restoration. We gently prepare the tooth using SDF—no needles and no drilling. We may need to place separators between the teeth to create some space for the crown. These separators should be in for anywhere between a few days to a week and a half. Next, we seal the cavity with a glass ionomer cement, which arrests decay. And finally, we place a pre-formed stainless steel crown.
Hall Technique vs Conventional Crowns
Compared to a conventional stainless-steel crown placement in which the tooth is drilled to prep it, the Hall Technique stands up. Clinical trials have shown similar effectiveness between the two methods. We like to use the Hall Technique when we can to spare your kiddo the needle stick and the drilling. We always want to make their visit to the dentist as positive as possible!
Make Us Your Kid’s Dentist in NYC
Cavities in children aren’t exactly the same as cavities in adults. And how we treat their cavities can have long-lasting effects on their oral health as well as their attitude toward dentistry. The good news is, we may be able to offer your child an alternative to dental fillings. Rest assured, however, even if your kiddo needs a filling, conventional crown, or even a root canal, we can still help.
As your kid’s dentist in NYC, we will always focus on cavity prevention. But, we also have lots of specialists, so our patients can stay with us where they’re comfortable if they ever do need any restorative work. Give us a call today to book an appointment and find out how we can make your little’s dental experience a positive one!