Some of the most perplexing words you can hear from your pediatric dentist are, “Your child has cavities.” Sometimes you already know, and sometimes you are taken off guard; but regardless of the circumstances, these words can often leave a parent feeling guilty and uncertain about what comes next.
If the cavity is still small, your pediatric dentist can fix the tooth with a small simple filling. However, if the decay has significantly damaged the tooth, it is often necessary to place a crown “cap” on the tooth. Crowns are placed on teeth that have large areas of decay that could possibly break if restored with a simple filling material.
So your child needs crowns, and you are asking, “What choices do I have?” Some of the most common options in pediatric dentistry are listed below.
Stainless Steel Crowns With White Facings
To make the stainless steel crowns look more esthetic, especially on the front teeth, stainless steel crowns are available with a pre-veneered plastic facing. These crowns look better, because from the front they look “white.” In order for the white facing to
adhere to the metal, extra bulk must be added, making these crowns look bulbous or rounded. The white facing also has a tendency to chip off over time, exposing the silver crown underneath. Chipping can occur when children grind their teeth or as a result of chewing forces on back teeth.
Composite Strip Crowns or Resin Crowns
This type of crown is very esthetic when prepared correctly by your dentist. Installing these crowns demands skillful technique and often requires more time to perform. Because of the time required, these crowns can be difficult to place on small, uncooperative children; and general anesthesia sedation is often recommended. Strip crowns are entirely made of composite “white” filling material. This filling material looks very natural; but over time, it does have a tendency to absorb stains and discolor. It can also attract plaque if not kept clean. Resin crowns are also much weaker than stainless steel crowns, and there is an increased chance that a piece or corner of the crown may fracture off.
Preventing Cavities For Your Child
From infancy children face an environmental and dietary up-hill battle. Young parents are often undereducated when it comes to safeguarding their children’s dental health. Babies falling asleep in strollers or cribs with milk bottles in their hands, introducing Coca Cola and other soft drinks to children as young as six months of age, and substituting juice for water between meals are all common factors contributing to tooth decay in today’s society.
Often parents will say, “My baby’s teeth came in rotten.” Sadly, this observation is quite true. As soon as the deciduous “baby teeth” break through the gums, diet and lack of dental hygiene begin the decaying process that inevitably leads to chronic pain, dental abscesses, emergency room visits, infection, and ultimately early extraction of these teeth. This phenomenon is not restricted to older children.
Setting good examples and creating an environment that promotes health and safety should be part of our daily commitment. Educating our children to adopt good health habits is no exception. The example we set teaches our kids a lot about who we are. Taking good care of our own teeth and showing our children the importance of good oral hygiene will help establish habits that will last them a lifetime.
Source: Pediatric Dentistry, EZ-Pedo, WEBMD