A dental crown is a cap placed over the tooth and shaped to look and function like a real tooth. Even though a baby tooth will fall out eventually, it's actually very important to keep baby teeth in place until they fall out naturally. Primary teeth are important because they act as space holders for permanent teeth, help guide permanent teeth into place, allow them to chew their food correctly, and assist in learning how to speak properly during important developmental stages.
Reasons why my child's tooth may need a crown:
The most common reason for placing a crown on a baby’s tooth would be to support and protect a severely decayed tooth that is too weak for a filling. For children who still have their primary (baby) teeth, dental crowns may be used to protect teeth that have shown to be high risk for decay or to save a badly decayed or damaged tooth. For children whose adult teeth have already appeared, dental crowns may be used to cover dental implants, restore damaged teeth, protect a weak tooth from further damage, or cover a tooth with a large filling. Gaps left by missing teeth eventually cause the remaining teeth to shift resulting in a bad bite. This can also lead to gum disease and TMJ disorders. Your child's dentist will determine which type of crown is best for your child based on his or her situation.
What types of crowns are available?
There are different types of dental crowns available for children, including stainless steel, all ceramic, all-porcelain, and more. For children, a stainless steel crown is commonly used to fit over a primary tooth that's been prepared to fit it. The crown covers the entire tooth and protects it from further decay. When the primary tooth comes out to make room for the permanent tooth, the crown comes out naturally with it. In general, stainless steel crowns are used for children's teeth because they don't require multiple dental visits to put in place and are more cost-effective than custom-made crowns. All-ceramic or all-porcelain dental crowns provide a better natural color match than any other crown type and may be more suitable for children with metal allergies. All-ceramic crowns are a good choice for front teeth. Temporary crowns can be made in your dentist's office, whereas most permanent crowns are made in a dental laboratory. Your dentist will discuss the best option for your child.
What are the steps to restoring primary teeth with a crown?
In most dental crown procedures, there are a few universal steps. First, the dentist will numb the area with a numbing gel. The gel is applied around to the gums and cheeks around the tooth receiving the crown. Next, the dentist will inject a local anesthetic to completely numb the tooth. Unlike crowns for adults, which often require several visits to the dentist, most crowns for children can be placed in a single procedure. It is normal for your child to experience some discomfort caused by irritation of the tooth’s pulp or soft tissue around the tooth for up to 24 hours after the procedure. Over the counter medicines such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen will help with the discomfort. It is important to contact your child’s dentist should the pain last longer than 24 hours.
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