Placing Stainless Steel Crowns on Primary Baby Teeth
When children get small cavities in primary teeth (also known as baby teeth), the best course of action is to fill these cavities with a dental bonding agent. Even after the dentist removes the decayed portion of the tooth, there is still sufficient natural tooth structure that remains. However, severe cavities or exceptionally large cavities destroy so much of the natural tooth surface that the only way to save the tooth and preserves its normal function is to cap it with a stainless steel crown. This will cover the tooth and prevent further tooth decay.
Stainless steel crowns are a lot easier to fit to primary teeth than are porcelain crowns to adult teeth. With porcelain crowns, the dentist has to take an impression of the tooth and custom make the crown in a dental laboratory. This means the patient has to come in for two dental visitsone for the impressions, and one for the fitting.
Stainless steel crowns, on the other hand, are pre-manufactured.
In order to make the procedure painless for your children, we take a few preventative steps. We first numb the tooth and surrounding gum tissue. This is not only to prevent the child from feeling pain, but also to prevent the child from feeling an excessive amount of pressure during the procedure. The dentist will first use a handpiece to remove all areas of decay from the tooth surface and interior. The tooth will then be shaped to tightly fit the interior of the crown so that the two will have no space between them. This is very important in order to prevent tooth decay from setting in after the cap is placed.
The crown itself is then trimmed and shaped to match the corresponding size and shape of the tooth. Because stainless steel is very easy to trim and shape, the dentist can do this in the office without having to having to send it off to a lab. The dentist will then test fit the crown to make sure there is a snug fit. If any adjustments need to be made, they are done at this time prior to final fitting.
Once a proper fit is established, a stainless steel crown is cemented to the primary tooth to hold it firmly in place. Then, the dentist double checks the childs bit to make sure that he or she will have no problems chewing. The dentist also checks to make sure the new crown is snugly placed and that there is no wiggle room, so to speak, that will allow the cap to come off or bacteria and plaque to form under its surface.
This takes only one appointment, so kids normally do not have to miss more than half a day of school to have their teeth fitted.
Stainless steel crowns are amazingly resilient and easy for children to take care of, and they are far less expensive than adult crowns. There is little point in using a porcelain cap on a baby tooth that is eventually going to be replaced by a permanent tooth. However, there is great benefit to saving a primary tooth so it can live out its natural lifespan. Not only does it prevent tooth decay from spreading down to the gums and to other teeth, but it also prevents premature primary tooth loss which invariably result in spacing and alignment problems when gaps form in a childs smile.
Cosmetic Dentistry is a specialized field that requires extensive knowledge and experience to be done correctly. The Medical Center Dental Group in Houston, Texas brings all of that and more to the direct benefit of each and every patient we treat. Although we are located in the world famous Houston Medical Center at Scurlock Towers, we routinely see dental patients who travel from Austin, San Antonio, Dallas, Beaumont and Midland Texas to see Dr Dale Brant, Dr. Charles Campbell or Dr. Elizabeth OSullivan-Winslow for their cosmetic denistry services.