This article is a continuation of the previous entry entitled “Restorative Dentistry for Kids: All About Fillings, September 2019)
We know that our children’s primary teeth are just temporary. But even though they are temporary, baby teeth need to be taken cared of since they are still needed for several years before the permanent teeth show up. Keeping your child’s baby teeth healthy until they naturally fall out assists the permanent teeth to grow into their proper position and avoid the need for any extensive orthodontic treatment later on. This is also where restorative dentistry comes into play.
Restorative dentistry is the prevention and treatment of diseases of the teeth to restore them to their best health. Restorative dentistry involves the repair or replacement of nonfunctional or damaged teeth in children. Our children’s primary teeth are smaller and thinner as compared to permanent teeth. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), the enamel of a baby tooth is thin and its inner pulp portion (where the nerves and blood vessels are) is bigger and nearer the surface. Hence, if your child has tooth decay, it can potentially and easily spread through the enamel and pulp. That is why at the onset of a tiny cavity, it is important to have it treated, filled, and restored by your child’s dentist.
Aside from dental fillings, the use of dental crowns is another option that parents can consider for their children’s dental restorative treatment. However, you may ask why will a parent prefer a crown over dental filling for his or her child’s teeth restoration, especially for baby teeth that will be eventually replaced. Allow us to give you some compelling reasons:
- Crowns are the best option for kids with cavities that were not caught early on. If a tooth decay severely damaged a tooth structure, usually there will not be enough tooth left to reinforce a dental filling. But the use of a crown can save the tooth.
- The use of dental crowns is recommended for kids who had a root canal, leaving the tooth more susceptible to chipping and breakage.
- A dental crown can restore a tooth that has a developmental defect or an accidental tooth fracture.
- A dental crown can protect a tooth’s remaining surface. This applies to kids who are more prone to cavities due to poor oral hygiene.
- Sometimes, tooth decay is so close to the tooth nerve that removal of the decay would expose the nerve, or when a baby tooth in which nerve has been removed, the use of a dental crown is the best solution.
There are different kinds of dental crowns that can be used when restoring your child’s teeth. They are as follows:
Stainless Steel Crowns: Stainless steel crowns are the most practical restorative treatment for a child with large areas of tooth decay. Generally, primary molars that did not grow properly, with severe tooth decay, or undergone pulpotomy may require a silver stainless steel crown to cover the remaining tooth structure. Stainless steel crowns are very durable. They last longer than dental fillings. However, stainless steel crowns are not aesthetically pleasing since it is polished silver in color and can be visible whenever your child opens his or her mouth.
Tooth-Colored Crowns: Tooth-colored crowns serve the same purpose as stainless steel crowns. However, tooth-colored crowns provide a more natural look since it has the same color as your child’s natural teeth. There is what we call preformed crowns that are stainless steel crowns but with tooth-colored veneers. They are standard crowns and are adjusted to a prepared baby tooth but these preformed aesthetic crowns are still breakable. Custom-fabricated crowns, on the other hand, are made in a dental laboratory to match the shape, size, and color of a child’s natural teeth. Custom fabricated porcelain crowns are primarily recommended for a child’s permanent teeth that have fully erupted and with a properly positioned gum tissue already. Tooth-colored crowns are more expensive yet less durable than stainless steel crowns.
Zirconia Crowns: Similar to stainless steel crowns, Zirconia crowns come premade in several sizes for every tooth and are supplied in a crown kit. Zirconia crowns are similar to the other pediatric dental crowns except that zirconia crowns have superior aesthetics. Also, zirconia crowns will not break or get fractured unlike what tooth-colored (veneered) stainless steel crowns occasionally do. They will also not have any discoloration. Meanwhile, the use of zirconia crowns is not recommended for kids that have severe teeth crowding. This is because zirconia crown shape and size adjustments are very limited.
On your next pediatric dental visit, talk with your child’s dentist to know more about your child’s dental development. After all, keeping or restoring your child’s teeth to its healthy state is vital as it is essential to your child’s overall health and wellness.
Fast Facts on Restorative Dentistry, American Academy of Pediatrics Dentistry 2014 https://www.aapd.org/assets/1/7/FastFacts.pdf
Types Of Fillings, Colgate Https://www.colgate.com/en-us/oral-health/procedures/fillings/types-of-fillings
Restorative Dentistry, Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh (UPMC) Https://www.chp.edu/our-services/dental-services/patient-procedures/restorative
How A Stainless Steel Crown Can Save A Baby Tooth, Colgate Https://www.colgate.com/en-us/oral-health/life-stages/infant-kids/stainless-steel-crown-can-save-a-baby-tooth-0316
Pediatric Zirconia Crowns: Changing Pediatric Restorative Dentistry, Dental Economics https://www.dentaleconomics.com/science-tech/article/16388229/pediatric-zirconia-crowns-changing-pediatric-restorativedentistry