Children who have damaged, discolored or missing teeth sometimes have problems with self-esteem that can be improved with aesthetic dentistry, says a pediatric dentist.
"Many parents and some dentists feel that because these are only "baby teeth," they don't need to be restored as long as the child is free of pain," explains Fred Margolis, D.D.S. "I believe that self-image is very important for the child and I have seen children who wouldn't smile because of the way their front teeth appeared. Some even cover their mouth with their hands. However, after cosmetic dental treatment, I've seen children begin to smile again."
When a child has lost one or more front teeth, the dentist can replace these teeth with what Dr. Margolis calls an "aesthetic maintainer." "In many cases, a space maintainer is not necessary except in cases where speech problems may develop, but an aesthetic replacement can be made for one or more teeth. The artificial teeth can be placed onto a removable or cemented dental appliance. Also, dentists can apply aesthetic veneers, or plastic facings, on discolored primary front teeth."
For mildly or moderately decayed front and back teeth, Dr. Margolis says that dentists now are able to place tooth-colored dental fillings. "These materials have been dramatically improved and eventually, dentists no longer will need to place silver fillings," he says. "These tooth-colored fillings are bonded to the tooth surface and they not only are beautiful but strong as well."
For severely decayed front and back teeth, silver-colored dental crowns no longer are the norm. "We now have tooth-colored plastic and porcelain materials that can be used to cover the entire surface of the tooth to restore both function and aesthetics," says Dr. Margolis. "Some of these crowns have metal linings but still have tooth-colored facings that allow for beautiful aesthetic restorations."
Dr. Margolis describes one patient who benefited dramatically from aesthetic dental care on her primary teeth. "Amanda's a beautiful, four-year-old girl who fell and her upper front two teeth turned gray due to the injury," he says. "Amanda would not smile and she covered her mouth with her hands so you couldn't see her front teeth. I placed two plastic coatings on these two teeth. It required no shots and no drilling. We restored her smile and now she is much happier. She's got a great smile and most importantly, her self-esteem has improved. The dental treatment was really worth it."
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