Many different treatment options for fixing cavities are available at Ann Arbor Pediatric Dentistry. One of our pediatric dentists will evaluate your child’s teeth and take the necessary x-rays to diagnose your child’s treatment needs. Then they will discuss with your family their findings and recommendations to best treat your child’s treatment needs. We encourage and invite parents to be present in the room with their child for all aspects of treatment in our office.

Treatment options offered in our office


  • A white filling is not an option for large cavities or teeth that require nerve treatments because the strength and structure of the tooth are often compromised.
  • A composite filling is a “white filling”. This type of filling material is often used for small to moderate size cavities on both the front and back teeth.


  • An amalgam is a “silver filling”. This type of filling material can be used for cavities in the back teeth. If a tooth cannot be kept dry for a white filling to be placed, then a silver filling option may be discussed.

Stainless Steel Crown

  • A stainless steel crown is also called a “silver cap” or “crown”. The stainless steel crown will cover the whole tooth to protect it when little tooth structure is left after a large cavity is removed.

White Zirconia Crown 

  • In some cases, a white zirconia crown can be an option for a baby tooth. We recommend discussing your specific case with your doctor to see if this is an option for your child. 


  • A pulpotomy is commonly called a “baby root canal” or “nerve treatment”. This treatment is indicated when a large cavity goes into the nerve of the tooth.
  • A pulpotomy involves removing the top part of the nerve that is affected and placing materials on top of the remaining healthy nerve to protect it.
  • Following the nerve treatment, a stainless steel crown will be placed to protect the remaining tooth.


  • An extraction is typically needed when a tooth is infected, abscessed, or damaged beyond repair from trauma. For back baby teeth that need to be taken out early, we often recommend a space maintainer following the extraction.

Space Maintainer

  • A space maintainer is commonly called a “spacer”. A spacer is recommended when a back baby tooth is removed early.
  • The goal of a space maintainer is to save space in the mouth for the adult tooth that is still developing.
  • The spacer should stay in until the adult tooth is ready to come in.

Silver Diamine Fluoride

  • Silver Diamine Fluoride (SDF) is an antimicrobial liquid that is painted on a tooth to slow the progression of a cavity. This is a temporary noninvasive treatment option typically recommended for children who cannot yet cooperate for dental treatment.
  • SDF may not be effective in certain circumstances and is used at the doctor’s discretion on a case-by-case basis.
  • The disadvantage of SDF treatment is that the liquid will turn the cavity black in color.
  • It is important to keep in mind that SDF is only a temporary option and final restoration may be indicated in the future.