Why Your Child Might Need a Dental Crown for a Primary Tooth

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Helping your child have a healthy smile is crucial for teeth that will last their whole life. As they grow, their primary teeth are replaced by permanent ones. Since baby teeth will eventually fall out, what should you do if our dentist says your child needs a dental crown? Why would baby teeth need a crown when you could have the tooth pulled and wait for the adult tooth?

Protect Their Growing Smile

The answer is simple but important; crowning a baby tooth is an investment in your child’s oral health. While their jaw is growing, they can develop severe dental problems later on if spaces are left behind from a tooth that was pulled or lost to decay or trauma for a lengthy period of time. Their baby teeth are essential placeholders for their permanent teeth to come in. Without these baby teeth, the teeth will shift as their jawbone develops, leaving them with potential overcrowding in the mouth and misaligned teeth that will likely need to be corrected with orthodontics or other costly fixes later.

To prevent this from happening, our pediatric dentist may recommend placing a crown on that tooth rather than pulling it. While the crown is only temporary, it will still prevent your child from dealing with unnecessary dental procedures and expenses later on to correct the issues that arose from the space left behind from the missing primary tooth.

Unlike permanent adult teeth, child’s baby teeth have thinner enamel. It makes it all too easy for tooth decay to spread quickly between their teeth! A dental crown can save both the afflicted tooth and halt the spread of decay and infection to other areas in the mouth and body.

Preparing for a Crown

When replacing a missing tooth, we will need to prepare the tooth to hold a crown. Our dentist shapes the affected tooth so it can support the crown correctly. We will also need to take an impression of the tooth using dental putty or a digital scanner and then send the results to a lab to create the crown.

Meanwhile, your child will need a temporary crown to keep the shaped tooth safe. After the finished permanent crown is ready to be placed, your child will need to come in so it can be fitted. They can be made comfortable by anesthetizing the tooth and surrounding gum tissue. After treatment, your child will need to hold off on eating anything until the numbness has receded so they don’t bite their lip or cheek by accident.

The dental crown restores the tooth to its original shape and function, which helps guide the permanent teeth into position when it comes through later.

Primary Teeth Crown Materials

The material chosen for your child’s dental crown on a primary tooth can vary based on the tooth’s structure and appearance-based needs. Here are some pediatric dental crown materials:

  • Pre-formed stainless steel crowns: The most common crown used for pediatric dentistry is made from metal shells.
  • “Strip” or acid-etched resin crowns: A clear shell filled with tooth-colored composite (filling).
  • Composite strip: A clear plastic form or mold that blends with the natural color of the teeth.
  • Polycarbonate: Used on the front baby teeth, their durability varies, so it is a temporary restoration.
  • Resin veneer: Combines the durability of stainless steel with the beauty of a resin facing.
  • Zirconia ceramic: Highly durable and visually aesthetic.

We hope this helps you understand why a dental crown might be needed to save a child’s primary tooth until the adult tooth is ready to come through. Crowns are a vital part of their oral health and development as they facilitate the normal development of your child’s jawbone and muscles. Please call our experienced team if you have any concerns about your child’s smile!