Dental Crowns for Baby Teeth
There are many different reasons for a pediatric dentist to recommend dental crowns for baby teeth. Cavities can be very problematic if left untreated in a baby tooth. Baby teeth often aren’t fully developed and can break easily when hit or bumped when not treated with a crown or filling. Catching these problems early can promote healthy development of baby teeth and prevent major issues later on.
What are Crowns?
A dental crown is a tooth-shaped covering cemented to the tooth. It’s purpose is to restore the tooth to its natural shape and function. Crowns are often recommended by pediatric dentists when it is necessary to repair and restore a baby tooth that has a large cavity or cavities, broken tooth, or a baby tooth that has not developed properly.
Teeth that are severely decayed or fractured cannot be repaired by filling because of the risk of the filling falling out, breaking or wearing out. This would cause additional future dental procedures. Crowns are much more durable than fillings and usually last until the baby tooth falls out.
Repairing and restoring baby teeth is very important. Most children begin to lose a few baby teeth by age six, but they won’t lose their molars until age 12 or 13. This is why it is essential to keep those teeth healthy until they fall out naturally. When they fall out healthy and naturally, it helps the permanent teeth grow into their proper position which reduces the chances that they will need extensive orthodontic treatment later. Decay can spread rapidly between teeth once it starts because the enamel of baby teeth is thinner than permanent teeth. Crowns are used to help save the decayed tooth, but they are also able to prevent the spread of decay and infection to other areas of the mouth or body.
The process of placing a crown is fairly simple. First, the dentist will numb the area around the tooth that needs to be restored. Then, they will put a dental dam in place and remove any decay that is in the tooth. Lastly, they shape the tooth to fit the crown.
Crowns for children can be placed in a single procedure, whereas adult crowns often require several visits to the dentist.
Once the procedure is done, it is normal for your child to experience some discomfort caused by irritation of the tooth’s soft tissue around the tooth for up to 24 hours. Your child may take over the counter medicines such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen to help with the discomfort. If your child experiences pain for longer than 24 hours, it is important to contact your dentist. You should not allow your child to eat until the numbness has completely worn off to prevent accidental bites of the lip or cheek.
To learn more about whether dental crowns are right for your child, contact one of our two offices to schedule a consultation.