Dental crowns, sometimes called “caps”, are protective covers that go all the way around and over a tooth. Almost like an outer shell. We use them when there isn’t enough tooth structure to support smaller restorations, like a filling. Or after treatments like a pulpotomy (baby root canal.) By placing a crown over your child’s tooth, we can ensure that they keep that tooth for as long as possible.
How Common are Pediatric Crowns?
Pediatric dental crowns are extremely common. Your child may need a dental crown if they have untreated cavities or a broken, chipped tooth. You see, baby teeth are much less dense than their permanent counterparts. So, when they get cavities or begin to break, they erode at a much quicker pace. With pediatric dental crowns we’re able to:
- Prevent premature tooth loss
- Preserve appropriate tooth spacing
- Buy time before a permanent tooth comes in
- Maintain healthy biting and chewing abilities
- Avoid emergencies or trips to the hospital
If we filled a tooth with a large cavity, it would just break apart further. That’s why our Wheat Ridge kids’ dentists recommend pediatric dental crowns in situations involving significant structural issues. By preserving that tooth for a longer period of time, we can encourage healthier oral development and limit the risk of orthodontic needs in the future.
Common Types of Pediatric Dental Crowns
The most common types of pediatric dental crowns are made out of stainless steel. Crowns in pediatric dentistry are usually to “buy time” before the tooth is replaced with a permanent one or when it’s completely developed. Stainless steel is affordable, durable, and effective for children.
We use stainless steel crowns in pediatric dentistry either on baby teeth or temporarily on adult teeth. These restorations can last up to a few years, providing ample time for baby teeth to fall out or adult teeth to fully erupt into the mouth. If the stainless steel crown is used on a permanent tooth, it will eventually need to be replaced with a custom lab-made version once your child is older.
White pediatric dental crowns are also available! This cosmetic advantage is ideal when we’re capping a front tooth that will be visible when your child is smiling or talking. Keep in mind that we’re not using something like pediatric zirconia crowns. Rather, it’s more of a temporary white material like resin. It will still blend in like a white filling would, but won’t be made in an offsite lab or milled from a block of ceramic. We tend to use white pediatric crowns when we know the tooth is going to be fairly noticeable on an everyday basis. There is a cost difference, but our Wheat Ridge staff will be happy to discuss that with you.
Both types of pediatric dental crowns are useful. The main goal is to prolong the function and integrity of the tooth in question. Without a crown, the tooth wouldn’t be able to hold up to all of the biting and chewing forces its exposed to each day.
Should You Floss Around the Crown?
Absolutely. Without flossing, food and plaque will get trapped between the teeth and cause new cavities to develop around the crown. But since pediatric crowns don’t usually have as contoured of a shape as those used on adults, we recommend pulling the floss out through the side, instead of straight back up between the teeth. That way the floss won’t accidentally get caught on the edge of the crown.
Older children can also use a water flosser if they like. Simply aim the water flosser between the teeth to flush out any bacteria. Although a little messy, they do a wonderful job and are easier than flossing.
At Kid Focus Dentistry, our Wheat Ridge dentists offer both stainless steel and white pediatric dental crowns. We’ll recommend the one that’s most appropriate for your child’s proper oral development and self-esteem.
If you have questions about pediatric dental crowns or need to schedule an appointment for your child, contact our office today!