A dental crown is a kind of protective cover that is placed over a tooth, typically to restore them after decay. When crowns are used on baby teeth, they’re typically intended just to help replace the function of a natural tooth until it is ready to fall out on its own. The terms “cap” and “crown” are interchangeable.
The Importance of Baby Teeth
- Baby teeth act as space holders for their permanent teeth.
- Baby teeth help guide the next permanent teeth into place.
- Baby teeth help children chew food and speak properly during their critical developmental years.
When is it Necessary to Put Crowns on Baby Teeth?
If there is damage to the baby teeth, they may need the added support and protection that the crowns can offer. Having caps put on baby teeth give them reinforcement until the permanent teeth come in to replace them.
Causes for Crowns on Baby Teeth
- Tooth Decay – Tooth decay is the number one reason that a crown may be needed on your child’s baby tooth. 42% of children between the ages of 2–11 will have at least one cavity.
- Chipped or Broken Tooth – Accidents happen, and children are prone to them. A chipped or broken tooth from a hard fall or other impact may need treatment with a crown.
What Types of Baby Teeth Crowns Are There?
The location of where the porcelain crown for children’s teeth is needed may be the deciding factor on which type of crown to use.
- Stainless Steel – When a crown on a molar is needed, stainless steel is common because it is more durable on the teeth that do the most chewing. Due to the blend of various metals, stainless steel crowns help prevent corrosion that can be exacerbated by saliva. Because they do not have a natural tooth color, the best place for these types of crowns is in the back area of the mouth. This type of baby teeth crown is also the most cost-effective.
- Composite Strip – This type of baby teeth cap is used primarily on the front teeth as they are made with a clear plastic form or mold and will blend more with the natural color of the teeth.
- Polycarbonate – This is another type used on the front baby teeth and costs less than the other options, but since their durability varies, this is a temporary restoration.
- Resin Veneer – This type of crown combines the durability of stainless steel with the beauty of a resin facing, so its use can be on both the front and back baby teeth. The resin veneer baby teeth crowns are typically more expensive than stainless steel, composite and polycarbonate crowns.
- Zirconia Ceramic – Also known as the “white crown,” zirconia ceramic can be used on the front or back teeth. It’s considered the top of the line when it comes to durability and aesthetics. It is also the most costly out of all the porcelain crown types for children’s teeth. Zirconia ceramic is composed of a porcelain material that does not bend, mold, or adjust as the stainless steel type does.
What Problems Can Develop From Putting Crowns on Baby Teeth?
- Discomfort or Sensitivity – If the baby teeth become sensitive to touch or temperature, using toothpaste for sensitive teeth may alleviate the problem. If pain occurs when biting down, the baby teeth cap may be placed too high, at which point you should contact your dentist for an easy adjustment.
- Chipped Crown – This problem can occur with all-porcelain or porcelain-fused-to-metal made crowns. If the chip is small, this can be repaired leaving the crown in the mouth with a composite resin, which is usually a temporary fix. If the problem is more extensive, a baby teeth crown replacement may be needed.
- Loose Crown – The cement may wash out from underneath the crown, which causes it to become loose, but also can allow bacteria to get in and cause decay. If the crown becomes loose, contact your dentist.
- Crown Falls Off – This problem sometimes happens due to decaying of the underlying baby tooth or the cement material used to place the crown becoming loose. If the crown falls off, clean the crown and the front of the baby tooth, and call your dentist’s office immediately for specific instructions until the dentist can see you.
If you encounter any of these issues with your baby’s teeth crowns, it’s important to seek infant dental services in your area.
What Steps Can You Take to Avoid Needing Baby Teeth Caps?
Dental health should start early and teaching your children good dental habits is a must. These four steps should be implemented to help avoid the need for porcelain crowns on children’s teeth.
- Brushing the teeth twice a day and flossing is imperative.
- Trying to avoid chewing or biting on hard food like candy and ice.
- When playing sports, children should wear a mouth guard for added protection.
- Schedule regular checkups and cleanings twice a year with your dentist.
Preparing for Your Child’s Adult Teeth
Even though their baby teeth will eventually fall out, they’re still the backbone of your child’s adult teeth. Taking care of the baby teeth will help with the longevity and health for their permanent teeth.
If cavities are a concern or if an accident happens and your child chips a tooth, getting a cap put on that baby tooth will be the security blanket you need as a parent.