Stainless Steel Crowns
My Dentists wants to put crowns on my child’s teeth. This seems like an extreme measure since they will eventually fall out anyways!
Usually, dentists repair decayed teeth with filling material. However, when teeth are badly broken down by the cavity (decay) process, have had nerve treatment or are weakened by a developmental condition, replacing almost the entire crown portion of a tooth with traditional filling material is not always a practical nor secure solution.
A remedy must be found that allows the tooth to withstand the forces of biting and chewing long enough for the incoming adult tooth to replace it – which could be many years.
Replacing the diseased crown of a tooth with a durable stainless steel crown (silver caps) is the most economical and durable solution until the tooth falls out and is replaced with the permanent (adult) tooth. These caps are not made in a lab like permanent adult crowns are. They come ready made in a variety of shapes and sizes, no impressions need to be taken, and there is no additional lab fees associated with their costs. Additionally, they are categorized under “routine restorative” so most insurance policies cover them as basic treatment. They are just another way to restore baby teeth so that they can function.
Why not just pull the tooth?
This is a common question, and sometimes, the teeth are not repairable and must be removed. However, taking out teeth before their natural time is a “last resort” solution. Baby teeth are vital to the dentition as natural space holders for the permanent teeth. Their premature removal will interfere with the eruption of the adult teeth.
Removing a baby tooth before its time is not the end of the problem. The space where the baby tooth was removed must still be replaced with a spacer maintaining appliance so that the adjacent teeth will not start to move into and invade this important place.
The chart below shows the normal eruption pattern of primary and permanent teeth. You will notice that there are many years between the emergence of the baby teeth and the age at which the adult teeth will eventually arrive in the mouth to replace them.
Permanent (Adult) Teeth
During a child’s teenage years, The adult teeth continue to develop there is significant growth and development of the dentition and jaws. This needs to be taken into consideration when restoring a badly broken down adult tooth in a child.
If you refer back to the eruption chart, you will notice that the first permanent teeth begin to erupt around 6 years of age.
From the illustration above, you can see that if a baby tooth becomes badly broken down by decay or a developmental condition when the child is still young, a suitable interim solution needs to be found until the permanent adult teeth are ready to emerge into position. Stainless steel crowns become an effective, affordable and practical semi-temporary measure until then.
Stainless steel crowns have been around for over 75 years and are safe and effective. They are easy to keep clean and rarely allow decay to reoccur. Although, some parents may not like the metallic appearance of the steel crowns, since baby molars are in the back of the mouth, they are less noticeable.
All of this makes them an affordable and effective treatment solution for an otherwise serious problem.
We hope you have found this article informative. Please visit and subscribe to our blog to learn more about Your Smile Dental Care.