Dental Crowns: Protecting Your Child’s Baby Teeth

little girl in dental chairThe health of your child’s baby teeth is important for facial growth and development. Baby teeth allow your child to bite and chew solid foods, help with your child’s speech, and serve as a guide for permanent teeth to grow into their proper position. While baby teeth do fall out, it’s important that they stay in the mouth until they are ready to fall out naturally. To save these teeth for as long as necessary, sometimes your dentist will choose to place a dental crown over your child’s baby tooth.

A crown is a tooth-shaped cap that covers the surfaces of the tooth. It is often composed of a silver-colored stainless steel or a tooth-colored resin. Crowns can be placed on both the back teeth (molars) and the front teeth (canines and incisors). Circumstances that may require a crown to be placed on a baby tooth include:

  • Severe decay, often in large areas of the tooth and on more than one surface, in which case a regular filling would not suffice
  • An irregularly developed baby tooth
  • A baby tooth that has undergone root canal therapy
  • A child who is prone to high levels of tooth decay, in which case the crown can prevent further decay from occurring

A dental crown for a baby tooth can often be placed in a single visit. The dentist will use a local anesthetic to numb the area where the crown will be placed. Once numb, a dental dam will be placed over the rest of the teeth to isolate the tooth that is being prepared for a crown. The tooth will be reshaped and any present decay will be removed. Then the crown will be fitted over the tooth to ensure it is the proper size and shape. Once the crown is prepared, the dentist will place it over the tooth and secure it with a sturdy dental cement.

Your child may experience some mild pain after the procedure. Over-the-counter pain medication can help alleviate the pain. Be sure to keep a close eye on your child to make sure he or she does not bite down on the numbed area. It is also a good idea to hold off on solid foods and only give your child soft foods and liquids within the first several hours after the procedure. If any problems occur, be sure to contact your dental office immediately.

You may be wondering – will my child’s baby tooth still fall out normally even though it has a crown over it? The answer is yes, the crowned tooth typically falls out as it normally should when the permanent tooth begins coming in. Regular visits to your dentist can help monitor this and ensure that your child’s teeth remain healthy and continue to develop properly.

Photo credit: ianus; CC license

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About the Author

I am a family dentist who treats children as well as adults. Making smiles people love, extreme makeovers and complex dental reconstruction is our niche including implants, TMJ, orthodontics and cosmetic dentistry. As a participant in the blog, I will be offering dental perspectives on pediatric safety and health care options on a regular basis. I can be reached at Blessings to all! Dr Williams is a member of the PedSafe Expert team


9 Responses to “Dental Crowns: Protecting Your Child’s Baby Teeth”

  1. McKayla Strauss says:

    I haven’t actually heard of children needing dental crowns on their baby teeth before. It’s interesting that it can be put on an irregularly developed baby tooth. Is that only an option if the tooth would cause other dental or oral health issues if left alone?

  2. It’s so sad to think of little children getting root canals! Kids are not immune to cavities, though. Parents really need to do what they can to keep those teeth healthy!

  3. Aaron Kriegerson says:

    Thanks for your post about how to keep children’s teeth healthy. Crowns can be an effective treatment to prevent a tooth from being pulled. I also like how you specialize in cosmetic dentistry. I want to get my teeth whitened one of these days.

    • Stefanie Zucker Stefanie Zucker says:

      Hi Aaron, Glad you liked the post…and really appreciate your stopping by to tell us! It’s funny what a difference whitening can make. I had mine done a year ago and it made a huge difference in how comfortable I felt about my smile…and how willing I was to smile in front of other people. 🙂 Thanks again for dropping by. Please come back anytime

  4. Hazel Owens says:

    I think I had a crown put in when I was very young. I had a tooth knocked out when I was a toddler, so some sort of fake tooth was put in to fill the gap. Crowns aren’t just for adults or cosmetic dentistry; they can be used to help your child’s teeth and mouth develop correctly. Thanks for the information.

  5. I think protecting your child teeth should be a top priority so you don’t have to do costly repairs later on. I think talking with your dentist about what would be best for your child teeth and how you can prepare for the future will surly pay off. It’s never too early to start caring for your teeth, but you need to make sure that you do it right.

  6. Abélia says:

    It’s interesting that dental crowns can prevent tooth decay. I think that it is highly valuable for kids who are pretty rough on their teeth. I think my daughter is going to need a few dental crowns. She is highly prone to tooth decay. Thanks for sharing this information!

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