Is it normal to put white crowns on baby teeth?

If your toddler or kid has a fracture or severe cavity in a baby tooth, you may feel surprised when your child’s pediatric dentist recommends a dental crown as the best course of treatment for your baby. You may find yourself asking questions that come up for many parents, such as “Why not a simple filling?” or “If this baby tooth is going to fall out anyway, why not just remove it now and be done with it?”

First, well done you for asking questions and gathering the information you need to support your child’s best oral and overall health. Your inquiries pave the way for both you and your child to have a well-informed and empowering dental experience, and the healthy, beautiful smile that comes along with it.

We’ve put together a list of common questions we hear from parents about pediatric dental crowns on baby teeth, with answers to help you arrive at the decision that’s right for you and your child.

1. Does it really matter if my child is missing a tooth?

Though they eventually won’t be needed, baby teeth are essential structures that contribute to your child’s health, development, and total well-being for several years. Front teeth allow your child to bite into their food and learn to articulate sounds, while your child’s back teeth (molars) allow them to properly chew their food, reducing the risk of choking while supporting healthy and comfortable digestion.

Last but not least, baby teeth act as placeholders for your child’s permanent teeth. If baby teeth are lost prematurely to tooth decay or injury, your child may be more likely to have a misaligned smile or an articulation disorder, which can impact their self-confidence and require more extensive orthodontic treatment, speech therapy, or both.

In short, because they play such a vital role in your child’s speech, nutrition, self-esteem, smile alignment, and general well-being, in most cases, baby teeth should be preserved until they’re ready to fall out naturally.

2. What is a pediatric dental crown?

Like their adult counterparts, a pediatric dental crown is a tooth-saving, bonded replacement for a decayed or missing tooth structure. It restores a tooth’s shape, health, and function. Your child’s pediatric dentist may recommend a crown to repair and restore a tooth that is broken, has not developed correctly, or has one or more cavities that are too large for a filling to be effective. Pediatric dental crowns have been traditionally made with stainless steel, composite resin, or a combination of the two, though advances in dentistry and the demand for a strong, aesthetically pleasing, and metal-free restoration have resulted in a white zirconia crown option (learn more in No. 5).

If a cavity has infected or irritated a baby tooth’s delicate living tissue (called pulp), a pulpotomy (baby root canal) will first be performed to alleviate pain and protect the baby tooth from being lost too early. Baby root canal treatment is completed with a pediatric dental crown.

3. Why use dental crowns for a baby or young children?

Did you know your child’s baby teeth are meant to last anywhere from five to nine years? Most children get their first tooth between 6 and 12 months, and will have their full set of 20 primary teeth by the time they’re 3 years old. So while your child will start losing some baby teeth around 5 or 6, your child won’t lose their baby molars until they’re between 10 and 12 years old.

Crowns for babies and children (also called pediatric crowns) can promote the longevity of your child’s teeth by repairing severely misshapen, injured, or decayed teeth. Along with saving baby teeth from being lost prematurely, crowns can be a proactive preventative treatment that protects baby teeth that are soft or otherwise vulnerable to decay. By treating cavities and preventing future ones, well-timed dental crowns for your baby can also prevent the spread of tooth decay and spare your child from needing more extensive dental work down the line.

4. What can happen if I don’t get a crown for my child’s affected tooth?

Untreated dental issues in baby teeth can impact your child’s total well-being for life. Along with causing your child avoidable discomfort and pain, untreated dental issues are likely to worsen over time and can cause irreversible damage to your child’s jawbone, gums, and permanent teeth. The consequences of untreated cavities or gum disease aren’t just physical. Poor oral health in children is associated with low academic achievement and increased social difficulties.

Repairing your child’s primary teeth to their optimal function and health can help protect your child from unnecessary physical, emotional, academic, and social consequences while bolstering their immediate and long-term health and development.

5. What are EZCrowns by Sprig?

EZCrowns by Sprig are the first pediatric dental crowns made from zirconia—a high-tech ceramic that’s revered in restorative and cosmetic dentistry for its strength, beauty, and compatibility with the mouth’s delicate living tissues (known as biocompatibility). Along with resembling the texture, shade, and sheen of natural teeth, zirconia is resistant to decay, breakage, and plaque accumulation.

EZCrowns by Sprig harness the benefits of zirconia and same day crowns while catering to a child’s unique oral health needs. The inner surface of EZCrowns are designed with deep internal retention grooves that seal out harmful oral bacteria and create a durable, long-lasting restoration that can last as long as your child’s baby tooth does.

6. Is cosmetic dentistry for children necessary?

Treating an underlying dental issue and preventing future problems can benefit your child in so many ways—period. Be that as it may, choosing to provide your child with a natural-looking and aesthetically pleasing white crown can offer additional advantages, such as supporting your child’s sense of normalcy and self-esteem during peer interactions and day-to-day living.

At Spinnaker Pediatric Dentistry, helping your baby, toddler, kid, and teen enjoy the benefits of a healthy, beautiful smile is our passion and priority. For a personal and caring pediatric dentist experience in Salem, Oregon, contact our office to schedule an appointment.