The flu season is off to an early and strong start. Flu activity has been reported as widespread in at least 46 states, including Indiana. Riley Hospital for Children at IU Health is currently restricting visitors to protect patients and prevent further spreading. Learn more.
If your child experiences dental decay or trauma, restorative dental care can help repair the damage, improving form and function. Restorative dental care services at Riley at IU Health include pediatric sealants, fillings and crowns.
Sealants provide a painless way to protect against cavities. If your child has a cavity, he or she may need a filling. Crowns are used when a tooth is too badly damaged to hold a filling.
Some restorative care requires sedation and anesthesia. Depending on the extent of the damage, restorative care can take a few minutes to a couple of hours. You should speak with your child’s dentist to learn which restorative care methods your child will receive and how long his or her appointment will last.
When teeth have naturally deep grooves and spaces, your child’s dentist may want to fill the spaces with a sealant to protect teeth from cavities. After your child’s teeth are cleaned and dried, the sealant is applied over the areas it needs to cover then hardened with a special ultraviolet (UV) light. Applying a sealant only takes a few minutes per tooth and is painless. Your child will be able to eat after the procedure.
If a cavity already exists, then your child may need a filling. All dentistry practices with Riley at IU Health offer both silver and white (composite) fillings. You and your child's dentist can decide which type of filling is best for your child based on the amount of decay, if the tooth is a baby tooth and other factors. To place a filling, your child’s dentist will remove any affected parts of the teeth to prevent decay from spreading further. He or she then fills the remaining hole with filling material, which is cemented to the tooth. The amount of time it takes to fill a tooth depends on how much decay is present and what type of filling is used.
When your child’s tooth has become damaged or the decay is extensive, it may not be able to hold a filling. In these instances, a stainless steel crown can keep your child’s tooth healthy and prevent tooth pain. A crown covers the entire surface of the tooth, protecting it from further damage. To place the crown, your child’s dentist will shape the tooth and a stainless steel crown so that the two fit together tightly. The crown is glued into place. If your child still has his or her baby teeth, the crown should stay in place until the adult tooth pushes through naturally.
Some children may require sedation, including the use of nitrous oxide (laughing gas), oral sedation or general anesthesia to complete their treatment. The dentist will discuss these approaches after reviewing your child’s medical history and his or her dental needs to determine the safest manner to provide the necessary treatment.
In addition to our primary hospital location at the Academic Health Center in Indianapolis, IN, we have convenient locations to better serve our communities throughout the state.