When a child has a baby tooth with extensive decay or that has been badly chipped, it’s likely we’ll recommend placing a pediatric dental crown on the tooth to give it the strength needed to stay in place until it is replaced by the permanent tooth down the road. There are two options for these crowns, stainless steel or white crowns made from zirconium.
In this page, we’ll discuss white crowns.
What is a dental crown?
A dental crown is a prosthetic that covers the entire visible portion of the damaged tooth, right down to the gum line. A crown is necessary when the natural baby tooth (or adult tooth) has severe decay or damage. Without a crown the tooth will likely need to be extracted, which is never what we want to do. Once a tooth is covered with a crown, it regains its strength and can now be used to bite and chew normally.
How are pediatric crowns different from adult crowns?
There are two main differences between pediatric and adult crowns. First, pediatric crowns can be placed in a single appointment. That’s because these crowns are pre-made in a variety of sizes and shapes to fit individual baby teeth. Once the decay or damage has been addressed, our four pediatric dentists at Park View test out different crowns to find the best fit. Adult crowns need two appointments because they are fabricated based off impressions taken, as they need to precisely match the previous natural tooth and fit in seamlessly with the adjacent natural teeth.
Second, pediatric crowns don’t have to endure for decades. The average child has their full set of 20 primary (baby) teeth by the age of 3. Between the ages of 6 and 7, the primary teeth begin to shed, and the permanent teeth begin to descend to take their place. So, a pediatric crown only needs to last at most 4 years and usually less.
What is a white pediatric crown?
A white crown is made from zirconia, which is basically like ceramic. This material can be matched very precisely to the colors of natural tooth enamel, so a white crown can blend into the child’s smile and no one will know it’s there. At Park View, we often recommend white crowns when a child has a damaged front tooth, as these are so visible. For molars, most parents are fine with placing a stainless steel silver crown.
What are the advantages of a white pediatric crown?
The obvious advantage to zirconium white crowns is their aesthetic appearance. They blend in with the child’s other teeth. White crowns are also stronger and more durable than natural tooth enamel. They are also resistant to the accumulation of plaque and the development of decay. For patients who may have an allergy to nickel, zirconium crowns are a great alternative that is incapable of producing an allergic response.
What are the downsides of a white pediatric crown?
Stainless steel crowns have been used in pediatric dentistry for over 80 years, and they are regarded as a time-tested, trusted option. The crown is made of a blend of nickel, copper, and aluminum and is a metal shell that is easily placed and can be customized to fit any tooth. But they are there for all to see.
White crowns look much better, but they cost more. We also must remove more of the natural tooth structure to fit these crowns because they are thicker than stainless steel crowns. Also, white crowns are more likely to break if the child bites on really hard foods or grinds his or her teeth.
How long will a white crown last?
We perform these restorations in our Fifth Avenue offices. We first locally numb the affected tooth and the area around the tooth. We also offer single tooth anesthesia and sedation should the child need it.
Once the area is fully numb, our skilled pediatric dentists then remove the decay or address the damage in the primary tooth. If the tooth interior, the dentin, has been exposed, a minor root canal may be needed to remove the nerves in the damaged tooth.
When the tooth is clean, we shape it to the necessary form to match the white crown we are placing. The crown will fit tightly and is cemented permanently onto the tooth.
For most pediatric patients at Park View, placing a white crown on a damaged tooth takes just a single appointment.
Does it hurt to get a white crown?
We numb the patient fully, and sedation is offered if desired. There isn’t any sensation or pain involved. Afterwards, there may be some negligible soreness from where we had to remove the decay from the tooth, but it is easily managed with over-the-counter children’s pain medication. These are not painful treatments in the least.
How long will a white crown last?
Overall durability isn’t a problem with white crowns (unless they are broken). They will last the four or less years necessary until the permanent teeth begin to descend and the crowned tooth falls out.
Read what our patients are saying!
"My 1.5 year old came in to get crowns on her chipped two front teeth. The staff there was incredible! So professional, kind, and truly knew what they were doing. We had the absolute best experience & wish we lived closer to continue seeing them! Highly recommend! Attached is my daughters before & after!"
Is there recovery after my child receives a white crown?
There isn’t any recovery. As soon as we cement the white crown onto the child’s tooth, they can go out and get back to the business of being a kid.