STAINLESS STEEL CROWNS: A COST-EFFECTIVE CHOICE FOR SEVERE DECAY
Why would a parent choose a crown for a child? Here are some possible reasons:
- If a cavity is not caught early, the decay can destroy so much of the tooth structure that there is not enough left to support a filling. A crown will save the tooth.
- If your child has a root canal (or pulpotomy), which will leave the tooth more susceptible to fracture, a crown is recommended.
- A crown can restore a tooth with a developmental defect or a tooth fractured in an accident.
- If your child is at high risk for cavities and compliance with daily oral hygiene is poor, a crown will restore the decay while protecting the remaining surfaces of the tooth.
- If your child’s cooperation is affected by age, behavior or medical history, a stainless steel crown is likely to last longer and possibly decrease the frequency for sedation or general anesthesia with its increased costs and risks.
- Stainless steel crowns are more cost effective and are the treatment of choice for large areas of decay.
Stainless steel crowns have been used over 50 years to save teeth that otherwise would be lost or when other treatments would fail. One of the strongest and most durable services in dentistry, they last longer than fillings and cost less than other types of crowns. Their greatest disadvantage is that stainless steel crowns are not the color of teeth, but the color of polished silver.
The treatment process is the same for stainless steel crowns as for tooth colored crowns. First, the decay is removed from the tooth. Next, the tooth is made smaller so the crown can fit over it. The crown is cemented (or bonded) into place.
TOOTH-COLORED CROWNS: A STRONG TREATMENT WITH NATURAL LOOK
Tooth-colored crowns can be selected as treatment for the same reasons as stainless steel crowns. For example, they are recommended for treating severe decay or restoring a tooth with a fracture or developmental defect. On the plus side, tooth-colored crowns are natural looking and can provide an excellent cosmetic result for your child. On the minus side, they may be less durable, cost more, and may require longer treatment time.
Anterior Strip Crowns
Anterior Strip Crowns are used to restore broken down front teeth or teeth with decay on multiple surfaces or severe bruxism (grinding).
The crowns help ‘seal’ the underlying tooth from acid attacks and reduce the chance of developing further decay on the tooth. The crowns are made of white composite filling material. The tooth surface is prepared to specific dimensions and then the crown is carefully fitted over and bonded onto the existing tooth.
The success of these crowns depends on how much good tooth structure is available to place the crowns onto. If your child bumps their front teeth afterwards, there is a risk of the crown breaking or an abscess forming.
Anterior crowns need good preventive care since they are quite vulnerable to sugar and acid.
At this time, we do NOT currently offer tooth-colored crowns for posterior teeth.
We have been monitoring the options available since we understand that parents prefer tooth-colored crowns!
Several options that we have considered:
- Preformed white crowns are stainless steel crowns with tooth-colored veneers. Unfortunately, these crowns are subject to fracture or loss of the facing.
- There is a zirconia (ceramic) crown that has been made in standard sizes for baby molars. It requires a more aggressive tooth preparation, going below the gumline and often exposing the nerve, thus requiring a pulpotomy. It is also more expensive and time-consuming (costs would have to be past along).
- Custom-fabricated ceramic/porcelain crowns are made in a laboratory to match the size, shape and color of the patient’s natural teeth. They are reserved for permanent teeth that are fully erupted with the gum tissue at its adult position, and are performed by a general dentist.
We know that at some point, there will be a great tooth-colored crown for the back teeth in your child’s mouth. We can’t wait for that day… or better yet, when there is no need for crowns or fillings!