Stainless steel crowns are tooth-shaped caps that fit over an entire tooth. They are commonly used in pediatric dentistry as a way of preserving baby teeth that have become significantly decayed or damaged. Although the primary teeth will eventually be lost to make room for permanent teeth, it is important that they are not lost prematurely. The premature loss of baby teeth can cause a variety of complications that can ultimately affect the permanent teeth. Therefore, stainless steel crowns provide protection for baby teeth until they are naturally lost.
Did You Know?
Primary teeth are more susceptible to tooth decay because they have a thinner enamel layer than permanent teeth. Additionally, the pulp layer in primary teeth is much closer to the surface of the tooth, which means pulp infections can occur more easily in primary teeth.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Does my child need a stainless steel crown?
Your child may need a stainless steel crown if they have one or more teeth that are significantly decayed or damaged. As a general rule, pediatric crowns are recommended in cases where a small dental filling is not enough to restore the tooth. Additionally, if your child is in need of a baby root canal, you can expect they will need to have a stainless steel crown placed following the procedure.
How are stainless steel crowns applied at my San Antonio pediatric dental office?
To apply a crown, we will first sedate your child to alleviate their anxiety and keep them relaxed during the procedure. Dental anesthetics will also be used to keep your child numb and pain-free while their crown is placed.
Once your child is relaxed and comfortable, our pediatric dentist will begin by removing any decayed or damaged tissue from the tooth. If a baby root canal is needed, this will also be performed to remove decay from the inside of the pulp chamber. After all the decayed tissue is removed, your child will be fit for a crown.
Stainless steel crowns are prefabricated, meaning they come in a range of sizes that can be customized to fit any size baby tooth. Your child’s dentist will determine the correct size and make any modifications that allow the crown to fit. The crown will then be cemented in place over the tooth. Stainless steel crown can be placed during a single dental appointment and it should last until the tooth is naturally lost.
How do I help my child after they have a stainless steel crown placed?
After your child has their crown placed, you will need to keep them from eating until the numbness from the anesthetics has worn off in order to prevent damage to the soft tissues. Depending on the level of dental sedation used, your child may also experience some residual sleepiness, so you may need to monitor them throughout the day. Finally, over the counter pain medications can be used to manage any discomfort they feel while their tooth adjusts to the crown. It may also be helpful to provide them with a temporary soft foods diet to make chewing easier.
How do I care for my child’s dental crown?
You can help your child care for their dental crown by encouraging them to brush their teeth twice a day and floss once a day. This will reduce the risk of bacteria getting under the crown, and will also prevent other teeth from becoming decayed. You will also want to help your child avoid behaviors like chewing on ice, pens, toys, or hard candies. Although stainless steel crowns are exceptionally strong, these behaviors may still cause damage to the crown. As a final note, you will need to schedule regular dental exams and cleanings every six months so your child’s pediatric dentist can evaluate them.