Posted on August 15, 2014
Our business is helping children. If that were a short term goal we would help them to ice cream! What we mean to say is our team here for the long run to establish a relationship with your child they can learn from and carry with them to better enable them to take care of their oral and overall health into adulthood.
That may sound like quite a goal, but I can’t think of anything better to do for the next 20 years! Given that overarching goal, below you will find a few services we offer with an explanation of why we do them. We want you to be comfortable with your child’s treatment, and we hope this furthers our conversation about their care.
Dental Materials We Offer
Dental Fillings- Dental materials must be safe, durable and easy to care for. Given an option, I also want them to be esthetic. Fillings are not car parts; we don’t simply take out a broken part on your child and replace it. Fillings placement is surgery.
Composite Fillings – Composites are a fancy word for a plastic that starts as a flowable material and hardens with light activated polymerization. Dental composites are wonderful because they are tooth colored, have elastic and wear properties like enamel, are nonreactive (will not break down in time) and easy to manipulate and polish. On the other hand, composites are not as strong as enamel and tolerate no moisture (spit) contamination before polymerization. They can crack and stain and leak if not placed in a very technique specific way which requires extensive training.
Amalgam – I rarely use amalgam these days because we have become good a placing composites which have better overall properties and look nicer than “silver fillings.” Sometimes however, amalgam is needed to repair a metal crown, repair a partially erupted (read bloody mess) tooth or where we cannot get moisture control. For special needs children, an amalgam filling may be a better alternative than having to go to the hospital to place a composite. Amalgams contain silver, tin, copper and zinc covalently bonded together by mercury. This inorganic mercury cannot be absorbed by the body and has proven to be safe for over a hundred and fifty years of use. Organic mercury, a neurotoxin found in seafood and air pollution, is often confused with inorganic mercury. Amalgams are silver in color and very strong. They are also brittle and break if not placed properly with attention to cavity preparation.
Porcelain – Porcelain is used to replace missing tooth structure in adult teeth. It is very “real looking” and durable but must be placed very carefully. Seams between tooth to porcelain are never completely invisible, so porcelain margins are hidden below the gumline. Given the expense and the changing gum height of growing children, we rarely place porcelain on children’s adult teeth until at least age 14. We do not use porcelain on baby teeth.
Stainless Steel – Our temporary adult and baby tooth molar crowns are made of a nickel – chromium “steel” that wear like iron, completely seals a tooth and gives the tooth structure support from the outside to preserve tooth dimension. We use these extensively when not enough tooth structure is left for a filling to hold. If I could invent a “ white steel”, I would be sitting on a beach in the Bahamas. No suitable alternative to this “silver jewelry” exists yet. Stainless Steel Crowns are difficult to place, but in practiced hands, can be done quickly. They are glued on with a glass ionomer glue. Baby teeth with crowns fall out just like baby teeth without them.
Nitrous Oxide (Goofy Gas) – Nitrous Oxide is an inert gas that acts on the same receptors in the brain as narcotics, but for a much briefer time. Because of this, nitrous oxide provides excellent pain relief, makes time seem to go by faster or allows for distraction, and controls anxiety. These effects occur within three minutes, and the gas leaves the body in three minutes. Nitrous oxide is a mainstay of children’s treatment because it is so safe and fast acting with little or no side effects. Dr. Greg is a master at using Nitrous Oxide with children. In fact, he is the Nitrous Oxide course instructor for Front Range Community College.
Digital X rays – X rays show bone and tooth structure through skin and tissue. They are instrumental in detecting weak spots or cavities between teeth. Dental x rays use a small amount of radiation to yield this image on a film. The amount of radiation is so small it is difficult to measure but is on the order of the same amount you get from a few hours playing in the sun at this altitude. Digital x rays are much more sensitive in showing images using computers instead of film. They require about one tenth the amount of radiation to produce an image. Digital x rays also do not require film processing which creates lead and silver waste.