While nobody wants to hear that their child needs a crown, sometimes that is the best and only option. When a cavity becomes very large, a traditional restoration or “filling” as they are often called isn’t the best treatment option for a few reasons. When there is a lot of decay, removal of so much tooth structure can make the tooth fragile and the tooth could more easily crack or the restoration could fail due to not enough support from the surrounding tooth structure. In these cases, a crown is indicated and may not be quite as involved as you’re thinking. Let us explain:

Often adults hear the word crown and think back on their own experiences of receiving a crown as an adult. It usually includes multiple visits and a mold/impression being sent to a lab in order to fabricate a crown that is specific and specialized just for this person and their tooth. Yikes, this sounds like a lot for a kiddo to go through! Rest easy, it’s not the same process for crowns on primary (baby) teeth. There are two types of crowns we use and a few different techniques.

Stainless Steel: The traditional type of crown used for children is stainless steel. It is a great option because it is flexible and holds up well in the mouth.

Hall Technique: With the traditional stainless steel crown we are able to place them traditionally (local anesthetic and preparation of the tooth with a bur) or with what is called the “hall technique”. The hall technique is a great option for those children who have a larger cavity that requires a crown but would not tolerate treatment with local anesthetic. Dr. Nolan is able to place a stainless steel crown over the tooth and cement it in place with very little to no preparation (drilling, etc.) of the tooth. In this instance, the crown will generally starve the cavity/bacteria of oxygen and it will die and no longer continue to grow.

Zirconia (white) crowns: We also offer white crowns that are made from a zirconia material. These look most similar to an adult crown that you may be accustomed to. These crowns are a great option for those kiddos who are able to tolerate treatment well or for those who are having treatment done under general anesthesia. The placement of these is a bit more technique sensitive so cooperation is important. During placement of a white crown, local anesthetic is needed in all cases. While the white crowns may be more esthetically pleasing, they are not always the best choice. Dr. Nolan will discuss with you the options for your child and which option he would recommend. Of course, if you only want a white crown, let us know and we’ll do everything we can to make it happen!

Different from adult teeth/crowns, the crowns placed on primary teeth are done in one visit without having to take impressions and being sent to a lab. When there are multiple teeth needing crowns, the child may have to come for multiple visits in order to complete treatment in full but each tooth worked on will have the crown placed that day. While Dr. Nolan always tries to be as conservative as possible and do traditional fillings whenever he can, sometimes a crown is the only option to save a tooth. Hopefully now after reading the information about them and the steps involved, it will help put your mind at ease!

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