What's Involved When A Child Needs A Dental Crown?

You might think of dental crowns as being a restoration method for permanent adult teeth. Your own smile might even feature a crown or two. A porcelain crown seamlessly fitted over an existing tooth can sharply restore the structure, improve the strength, and upgrade the appearance of a tooth. But it's not only an adult tooth that may encounter the sort of problem that can only be solved with a dental crown. Why is your family dental center suggesting that your child may soon need a crown on a baby tooth? 

A Temporary Tooth

Even though a baby tooth is only a temporary tooth, it must efficiently serve its purpose until such time as it's naturally replaced. A damaged baby tooth can not only be uncomfortable for your child but if it deteriorates to the point where it's prematurely lost, the development of your child's adult teeth may be affected. Their bite pattern and speech may also be adversely affected. This is why children, on occasion, will need a dental crown for a baby tooth.

Not Quite So Permanent

Adult dental crowns are made of porcelain—chosen for their strength and aesthetics. It offers the form and function of a natural tooth while matching the look of a tooth's natural dental enamel. A child's tooth doesn't need anything quite so permanent (or expensive). Because the tooth will be lost, and the crown's only purpose is to preserve the tooth until it detaches, a more cost-effective material will be used.

Anterior and Posterior Teeth

Teeth are broadly divided into two sectors. These are anterior and posterior teeth. Anterior teeth are the ones that are visible when smiling, eating, and speaking—teeth toward the front of the dental arch. Posterior teeth are the molars and premolars, teeth that handle chewing—located toward the back of the dental arch. A child's dental crown for a posterior tooth will typically be made of stainless steel.

Posterior Crowns

Although a stainless steel crown might look unnatural, its position means it won't be visible. Stainless steel is highly tensile even when incredibly thin, so the tooth doesn't need much preparation to host the crown. Its surface doesn't need to be modified to attach to the crown, as is the case with an adult's permanent porcelain crown. This is why stainless steel is the favored material for a crown on a child's posterior tooth. A more prominent anterior tooth requires a different approach.

Anterior Crowns

With an anterior tooth, your child's dentist will make a resin crown, which will be tooth-colored while still holding the tooth together and protecting it from further deterioration. It won't have the longevity of a porcelain crown, but given the circumstances, it doesn't need to.

The process and materials for a child's dental crown will differ from those for an adult's crown, but the crown still preserves the tooth for as long as it's needed.

Contact your family dentist to learn more.