Dental Crowns: Protecting Your Child’s Baby Teeth

little girl in dental chairThe health of your child’s baby teeth is important for facial growth and development. Baby teeth allow your child to bite and chew solid foods, help with your child’s speech, and serve as a guide for permanent teeth to grow into their proper position. While baby teeth do fall out, it’s important that they stay in the mouth until they are ready to fall out naturally. To save these teeth for as long as necessary, sometimes your dentist will choose to place a dental crown over your child’s baby tooth.

A crown is a tooth-shaped cap that covers the surfaces of the tooth. It is often composed of a silver-colored stainless steel or a tooth-colored resin. Crowns can be placed on both the back teeth (molars) and the front teeth (canines and incisors). Circumstances that may require a crown to be placed on a baby tooth include:

  • Severe decay, often in large areas of the tooth and on more than one surface, in which case a regular filling would not suffice
  • An irregularly developed baby tooth
  • A baby tooth that has undergone root canal therapy
  • A child who is prone to high levels of tooth decay, in which case the crown can prevent further decay from occurring

A dental crown for a baby tooth can often be placed in a single visit. The dentist will use a local anesthetic to numb the area where the crown will be placed. Once numb, a dental dam will be placed over the rest of the teeth to isolate the tooth that is being prepared for a crown. The tooth will be reshaped and any present decay will be removed. Then the crown will be fitted over the tooth to ensure it is the proper size and shape. Once the crown is prepared, the dentist will place it over the tooth and secure it with a sturdy dental cement.

Your child may experience some mild pain after the procedure. Over-the-counter pain medication can help alleviate the pain. Be sure to keep a close eye on your child to make sure he or she does not bite down on the numbed area. It is also a good idea to hold off on solid foods and only give your child soft foods and liquids within the first several hours after the procedure. If any problems occur, be sure to contact your dental office immediately.

You may be wondering – will my child’s baby tooth still fall out normally even though it has a crown over it? The answer is yes, the crowned tooth typically falls out as it normally should when the permanent tooth begins coming in. Regular visits to your dentist can help monitor this and ensure that your child’s teeth remain healthy and continue to develop properly.

Photo credit: ianusCC license

About the Author

I am a family dentist who treats children as well as adults. Making smiles people love, extreme makeovers and complex dental reconstruction is our niche including implants, TMJ, orthodontics and cosmetic dentistry. As a participant in the blog, I will be offering dental perspectives on pediatric safety and health care options on a regular basis. I can be reached at Blessings to all!
Dr Williams is a member of the PedSafe Expert team


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