White Crowns on Baby Teeth (Primary)
According to Dr. Mila Cohen of True Dental Care for Kids & Teens far too many parents ignore tooth decay in their kids’ baby teeth. In fact, 42 percent of American children have or have had decay in their primary teeth, commonly called baby teeth. Even though your children eventually lose those teeth to make room for permanent teeth, they’re hardly disposable parts.
Just like you take your children to your pediatrician for checkups and treatment when they’re hurt or sick, take them to a children’s dentist in NJ for regular cleanings and restorative treatments when necessary. That may mean your child needs white crowns on his baby teeth to preserve his dental health and set the stage for future healthy dental development.
Baby Teeth: Tiny, But So Important
Besides giving your child a smile that melts your heart, baby teeth have several vital functions, including:
- Baby teeth help your child eat. As he starts to eat solids, strong baby teeth help him chew his food thoroughly. Food that’s well chewed is easier to digest, ensuring that your child gets all the available nutrients from each meal.
- They help your child speak. Think about what your mouth really does when you talk. Your tongue moves around, and your teeth help keep it in place as you pronounce certain words. As your child learns to talk, he needs strong, healthy primary teeth to help he can express himself clearly.
- They hold space for permanent teeth. Primary teeth become loose and get pushed out as permanent teeth come in. If primary teeth are lost or removed too early, the permanent teeth behind them may come in crooked. It’s not just a cosmetic issue. Crooked or crowded teeth can make eating more difficult. They can be harder to thoroughly clean, too, which can lead to more dental problems down the road.
- Primary teeth help him communicate. You already know that your child’s smile is precious to you, but it’s one of his earliest means of communication. Through smiling and having that smile reciprocated by his family and others, he begins to make positive connections with the people in his world.
- They help him build relationships. As he gets older and starts day care or school, a smile is often the first indication that someone is friendly. That realization is the first step toward building friendships. If your child’s teeth hurt or he feels self-conscious about them, he may smile less often, and miss opportunities to create positive relationships.
Patching Things Up
When your child gets a cavity you need to take him to a kids dentist in NJ to determine how to fix things up. Based on the size, placement, and depth of the cavity — as well as the extent of the decay — your dentist determines the restorative treatment for the tooth. Restorative treatments include:
- Stainless steel or white crowns for primary baby teeth
- Removing the tooth, which is usually done only as a last resort, when there’s too much decay to make a restorative treatment possible
When your child has a cavity that requires a pulpectomy or a pulpotomy — or there’s concern about decay spreading to neighboring teeth — your kids dentist in NJ repairs the tooth with a crown following the procedure. A crown covers the entire surface of the tooth, protecting it from further decay and providing a barrier between it and the teeth next to it.
Types of Crowns for Children
You have several choices for which crown material to use:
- White crowns made from zirconia, a high quality material commonly used in adult cosmetic dentistry
- White crowns made from a composite filling material that matches the color of the surrounding teeth
- White porcelain crowns for children
- Stainless steel, often with a white surface coating
White crowns blend in with your child’s natural teeth, making it less obvious that he’s had a restorative treatment.
Simple Steps to a Stellar Smile
The set-up depends on the type of crown chosen:
- For a porcelain crown, the dentist makes an impression of your child’s teeth and jaw so that a crown can be created to fit the affected tooth.
- For a white composite strip crown, your childrens dentist in NJ fills a tooth-shaped mold with the composite. He places this over your child’s tooth and uses a special light to harden the material. When he moves the mold away, the crown’s in place.
- For a stainless steel crown, the dentist chooses a pre-made crown that fits your child’s tooth.
Regardless of which white crowns your dentist uses, the procedure starts out similarly and follows certain steps:
- A numbing agent is applied to your child’s gums.
- An anesthetic is injected near the tooth.
- Your kids dentist in NJ cleans out the cavity, performing a pulpectomy or pulpotomy, if necessary.
- Before placing the white crown, a special tool is used to shape the surface of the affected tooth so that the crown fits snugly and securely.
- The crown is glued into place.
Keep Smiling into the Future
After the white crown is placed on your child’s tooth, his mouth may be sore temporarily. Give him over-the-counter pain relievers and feed him a diet of soft foods to avoid further discomfort. It’s best to avoid anything too hard or especially sticky, especially at first. Your childrens dentist in NJ may give you specific instructions to follow, based on the specific procedure performed.
To avoid further dental problems, make sure your child brushes his teeth thoroughly at least twice a day. Limit sugary drinks and snacks — especially hard, sticky foods like caramels and taffy. Every six months, or more often if recommended, bring your child in for a professional cleaning and checkup. Together, you and your kids dentist in NJ can keep your child smiling that beautiful smile for many years to come.