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Dental Crowns Children

Dental crowns are used to the correct the function, health and appearance of teeth that are severely damaged or decayed. Crowns, sometimes called “caps”, may be comprised of any number of materials ranging from metal to porcelain. They are used to cover the entire affected tooth, protecting it from further damage or simply to enhance the tooth’s appearance. Crowns can look and feel like natural teeth, and they can be cared for in much the same way.

Dental crowns for primary teeth

In some cases, crowns are used on primary teeth (baby teeth) in order to prevent decayed teeth from falling out prematurely. Although a permanent tooth will eventually come in in its place, saving a primary tooth is important to maintain your child’s ability to chew food, develop normal speech, and help permanent teeth come in correctly.

Another reason to use a crown on baby teeth is to reduce the risk of infection that can often result from a decayed tooth. If bacteria enters a tooth and is not treated, infection can spread to other parts of your baby’s mouth and body.

Crowns may be placed on any tooth, including molars and front teeth.

Children may require a crown on one of their eight primary molars in the following situations:

  • If the molar shows signs of extensive decay
  • If the molar shows signs of abnormal development, such as being misshapen
  • To substitute a large filling that may weaken the tooth

Crowns may also be placed on a child’s front teeth, including canines and incisors, under the following circumstances:

  • When decay extends over several surfaces of a tooth
  • If the tooth is broken or damaged
  • If the tooth is misshapen or has other abnormalities
  • If the tooth is discolored, in which case the crown can improve the tooth’s appearance
  • When a root canal has been performed on the tooth
  • To strengthen a tooth that has a cavity

Materials used for children’s dental crowns:

Most often, prefabricated stainless steel crowns are used on primary teeth as they are durable, replaceable, and can be customized to fit many different kinds of teeth. Other types of materials used for crowns on primary teeth include:

  • Veneered steel crowns – This type of crown has a tooth-colored face that is bonded to the front of a tooth. While veneered steel crowns often look natural and are long-lasting, the tooth colored material can break or pop off on occasion.
  • Zirconia crowns – These crowns are made from a material similar in appearance to ceramic but is more durable in strength. Zirconia crowns are pre-made in specific sizes, so the tooth is adjusted for the crown. While zirconia crowns are tooth-colored in appearance, they are costlier than stainless steel crowns. Zirconia crowns are most commonly placed on the four to six teeth in the front of the mouth.
  • Strip crowns – Also known as acid-etched resin crowns, strip crowns are often placed on the front teeth. A plastic mold is used to shape composite filling material to cover the teeth. The durability of the strip crown depends largely on the health and condition of the tooth on which it was placed and it also depends on how the patient’s teeth fit together.

The placement process:

While adult crowns are often placed over the course of multiple visits, for the sake of the child’s comfort, children’s crowns may be placed in as little as one appointment.

First, an anesthetic cream or gel is applied to your child’s gum or inner cheek. When the area has numbed, a local anesthetic in injected into the site where the crown will be placed and a dental dam is placed around the tooth. Next, the tooth is thoroughly cleaned and all decay is removed, then the tooth is shaped in preparation for the crown. The fit of the crown is tested and the crown is continuously shaped for the best fit possible.

Once the crown is cemented into place, any extra material or dental cement is removed, the mouth is rinsed, and the dentist will make any final adjustments needed to ensure a proper bite.

Some discomfort is normal after placing the crown and usually disappears after 24 hours. However, if your child’s pain persists for several days, contact us for a follow-up appointment.

We discuss all details with you to assure your child receives proper post-placement care and attention. Your child should not eat until numbness fades, but if he or she is very hungry, limit your child to eating soft foods that are not too hot in temperature. Once the numbness ends, he or she can return to eating normally. If any pain or unusual feelings arise, give us a call. We will be happy to help resolve any lingering symptoms or side effects if needed.

If you fear that your child suffers from a decayed or damaged tooth, contact our office at (818) 360-2131 to schedule an appointment with us.