Can Your Child's Cavity Be Taken Care Of Without Dental Drills?

If your child has a baby tooth cavity, they may be anxious about visiting the dentist to get it treated. Your child may be worried about the pain of local anesthetic or scared of the sound of dental drills. You may want to opt for extraction since the baby tooth will fall out anyway, but there is a good reason to save baby teeth if possible. And thankfully, there are non-invasive ways to treat cavities without dental drills. Read on to learn more.

Could a Pediatric Dentist Extract the Baby Tooth?

Although baby teeth do eventually fall out, it's best to avoid premature extractions if possible. Why? Baby teeth maintain space in the arch for incoming adult teeth. If a tooth is lost too soon, then other baby teeth can shift or crowd in the arch. Incoming adult teeth may come in crooked, so a child might need a space maintainer or future orthodontics to fix these malocclusions. Also, premature loss of baby teeth can also influence speech development. Your child may also have a difficult time chewing harder, sticky foods on one side of the mouth until the adult tooth comes in.

Obviously, if a cavity is so deep that not even endodontic treatment will help, then a pediatric dentist will consider an extraction to prevent infection and to help your child feel comfortable. If the cavity is mild, then your pediatric dentist might decide to use the SMART treatment or the Hall technique to treat the issue.

What Is the SMART Method?

The silver-modified atraumatic restorative treatment (SMART) is a dental procedure where a dentist applies silver diamine fluoride (SDF) to the cavity and then seals it with glass ionomer. SDF has a liquid base of water and ammonia. It also contains silver, which helps kill bad bacteria, and it contains fluoride, which can help remineralize teeth. The goal of an SDF application is to arrest the cavity long enough until the baby tooth falls out on its own. After the SDF is applied, your dentist will seal the structure with glass ionomer. Glass ionomer is a very common restorative material that is used in other dental applications, such as orthodontic bracket cement. The SMART method is beneficial because it doesn't require a dentist to use a drill to remove any cavities and the procedure is painless.

What Is the Hall Technique?

Like the SMART method, the Hall technique's goal is to stop the cavity from spreading without the use of a dental drill or local anesthetic. During this procedure, a dentist will clean your child's tooth and place a stainless-steel crown over it like a cap. This crown effectively starves the cavity of carbohydrate substrates so that it cannot spread. The crown doesn't need to be removed and will naturally fall off when the baby tooth is ready to fall out. Many children can be good candidates for this procedure as long as there is no evidence of abscesses, pulpitis, or necrosis on x-rays.

Reach out to a pediatric dentist today to learn more about these procedures and to see if they are a good fit for your child's cavity.