Dental Crowns for Children
When it comes to damaged teeth caused by tooth decay, children can be more susceptible to this dental problem than adults. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 60 to 90 percent of school-aged children worldwide have cavities that require some form of corrective care, which could be in the form of dental fillings or other dental procedures. Generally speaking, children will retain their baby teeth until they reach age 12 or 13, which helps ensure their permanent teeth grow into their proper position. However, there is a downside in that the layer of enamel covering these teeth is not as thick as permanent teeth, causing children to be especially prone to cavities. Although fillings are an effective way to resolve cavities, they may not always be the best choice, especially if the tooth is severely decayed. In most cases, dentists will recommend root canal therapy and a dental crown for children who have developed severe cavities.
Why Put A Crown On A Baby Tooth?
If the cavity in a child's tooth is too large to support a filling, a dental crown is the best way to go about saving the tooth. Although extracting the tooth is possible, doing so could negatively impact the growth of the child's permanent teeth. Also, extracting a tooth is not risk-free and could cause unnecessary pain and discomfort for the child. Furthermore, extracting a baby tooth can expose the child to germs that could potentially enter the wound and cause infection. Tooth extraction also means that the child will be unable to eat certain foods until the tissue heals. Beyond that, most children will find the process involved in having a tooth extracted difficult and will likely become extremely agitated.
What Type of Crowns Are Used To Cover Baby Teeth?
When it comes to crown materials, there are several options available, including gold, silver or other metal alloys, porcelain-fused-to-metal (PFM), and ceramic compounds like zirconia and porcelain, for example. For young children, most dentists will recommend stainless steel crowns. For those who may not be familiar with these crowns, they are commonly used as an alternative to amalgam and tooth-colored fillings and are designed primarily to repair and prevent further decay of baby molars. Before seating the stainless steel crown, the dentist will first need to remove any decay that has accumulated in the interior of the tooth. All in all, the entire crown process takes two separate visits to the dentist's office to complete. There are several advantages in using stainless steel crowns over other crown options, including
- Less expensive compared to other crowns
- Fully protects the tooth
- Little to no sensitivity
- Ideal for children who may need general anesthesia
It is also worth noting that stainless steel crowns generally do not require re-treatment and are more successful than metal fillings. That said, stainless steel crowns are also a good option for children with badly shaped, fractured, or discolored teeth. All in all, these crowns can help improve your child's smile and overall dental health.