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If at All Possible, Primary Teeth are Worth Saving

IfatAllPossiblePrimaryTeethareWorthSaving

Primary (baby) teeth might not last long, but their impact can last a lifetime. Their first set of teeth not only allows young children to eat solid foods, but also guide permanent teeth to form and erupt in the proper position.

Unfortunately, primary teeth aren't immune to tooth decay. If the decay is extensive, the tooth may not last as long as it should. Its absence will increase the chances the permanent teeth won't come in correctly, which could create a poor bite (malocclusion) that's costly to correct.

If a primary tooth is already missing, we can try to prevent a malocclusion by installing a “space appliance.” This keeps nearby teeth from drifting into the empty space intended for the permanent tooth. The best approach, though, is to try to save a primary tooth from premature loss.

We can often do this in much the same way as we would with a permanent tooth — by removing decayed material and filling the prepared space. We can also perform preventive applications like topical fluoride or sealants that strengthen or protect the tooth.

It becomes more complicated, though, if the pulp, the interior of the tooth, becomes decayed. The preferred treatment for this in a permanent adult tooth is a root canal treatment. But with a primary tooth we must also consider the permanent tooth forming below it in the jaw and its proximity to the primary tooth. We need to adapt our treatment for the least likely damage to the permanent tooth.

For example, it may be best to remove as much decayed structure as possible without entering the pulp and then apply an antibacterial agent to the area, a procedure known as an indirect pulp treatment. We might also remove only parts of the pulp, if we determine the rest of the pulp tissue appears healthy. We would then dress the wound and seal the tooth from further infection.

Whatever procedure we use will depend on the extent of decay. As we said before, our number one concern is the permanent tooth beneath the primary. By focusing on the health of both we can help make sure the permanent one comes in the right way.

If you would like more information on caring for children's primary teeth, 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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Testimonials

What Our Clients Say About Us

  • "I don't find it odd to say that I felt like Dr. Gloria Stingley was more than just a "person" to me during my visit... she WAS just wow 💕💕💕💕, her being and conversation is so amazing along with her WORK....oh! and Yes ,😏 watching her take my tooth out was coooolll as ever.She gave my the option to watch what she had to do or not .Watching what she was doing was the best because i got the chance to see my problem become a past tense issue 💕 it was perfect... I'm going back for special procedure 😏... it will be more so on the pleasurable side💕💕💕perfect teeth!"
    -Krista Woods
  • "I was seen on May 24, tooth was broken off recently. During my visit I was offered to fill or to remove old filling or redo all. Filling was removed and redone. I am sooooo grateful for a stress free painless experience, professional service. Dr. Stingley contributed 100% to helping me relax. More than I expected. Thank you...

    I appreciate when Dr. Stingley allowed my input to decide which treatment after her thorough, accurate assessment and recommendations. This displayed to me her expert skills and ability to genuinely care and respect the patient’s needs and wishes. Superb!!!"
    -Kathleen Wright
  • "Let me just say that I am petrified of going to the dentist. However, I finally broke down when I could no longer take the pain of my tooth ache. I called several places that day and no one could get me in. I stumbled up Carter-Rockbridge and the receptionist (Stacy) could hear the pain my voice and somehow was able to squeeze me in that day. The whole staff was very accommodating and helped ease my fear. Their customer service is really amazing!"
    -Monica Blackmon