Traditional dental restoratives, or fillings, may include gold, porcelain, and composite. The strength and durability of traditional dental materials continue to make them useful for situations where restored teeth must withstand extreme forces that result from chewing, such as in the back of the mouth.
Newer dental fillings include ceramic and plastic compounds that mimic the appearance of natural teeth. These compounds, often called composite resins, are usually used on the front teeth where a natural appearance is important, as well as on the back teeth depending on the location and extent of the tooth decay.
What’s right for your child?
Several factors influence the performance, durability, longevity and expense of dental restorations, including:
- The components used in the filling material
- The amount of tooth structure remaining
- Where and how the filling is placed
- The chewing load that the tooth will have to bear
- The length and number of visits needed to prepare and adjust the restored tooth
Before your child’s treatment begins, your doctor will discuss all options and help you choose the best filling for your child’s particular case.
Pediatric Dental Crowns
As a parent, you do all you can to make sure your child grows up with the best oral health and the happiest possible smile. Even with good home hygiene, decay and traumatic injuries can happen and affect the integrity of a primary tooth. We try to keep your child’s primary teeth intact whenever possible until the permanent teeth erupt, which is when restoring your child’s tooth with a pediatric dental crowns become a good option.
Crowns are a restorative procedure used to improve a tooth’s shape or to strengthen a tooth. Crowns are most often used if your child has a tooth that is broken, worn, or damaged by tooth decay, and too damaged to hold a filling.
A crown is a “cap” cemented onto an existing tooth that usually covers the portion of the tooth above the gum line. In effect, the crown becomes the tooth’s new outer surface. Crowns can be made of porcelain, metal, or both. Porcelain crowns are most often preferred on the front teeth because they mimic the translucency of natural teeth, while metal or a porcelain-fused metal (PFM) crowns are best on back teeth because of their strength.
Unlike fillings, which are applied directly onto your child’s tooth, a crown is fabricated in our lab and is based on an impression taken of your child’s mouth. We sculpt each crown for your child so that his or her bite and jaw movements function normally once the crown is placed.
Stainless Steel Crowns
Stainless steel dental crowns are considered a good temporary restoration to save a primary tooth until the permanent tooth can erupt and take its place. Keeping the primary tooth if at all possible is very important. A primary tooth can be restored with a stainless steel crown during one appointment.
Zirconia dental crowns are made from zirconium dioxide, a white powdered ceramic material. When milled from a solid block, zirconia is more durable and stronger than other types of ceramic crowns. The smoothness of zirconia also minimizes wear and tear on the adjacent teeth.
The strength of zirconia not only helps it last longer, it also means the crown can be thinner than a traditional crown and require less removal of the healthy tooth structure below it for placement. It is always best to keep as much natural tooth as possible, both for longevity of the crown and the tooth itself.
EZCrowns™ All-Ceramic Zirconia Crowns
EZCrowns by Sprig Oral Health are the world’s first tooth-colored, prefabricated zirconia crowns especially designed for children’s primary teeth. They are created from a solid block of zirconia, much like highly aesthetic crowns made for adults.
- Safe: EZCrowns are 100% biocompatible—free of all metals, including nickel, which is commonly used in stainless steel crowns—to eliminate adverse allergic reactions or side effects.
- Aesthetic: EZCrowns have a realistic color that allows them to visually blend in with surrounding natural teeth. Each crown is glazed with a hint of natural color, making them very smooth, shiny, and resistant to staining and plaque buildup.
- Strong: EZCrowns are made of solid, monolithic Zirconia, a ceramic material time-tested for its strength and durability in adult dentistry.
Give your child the confidence to smile for life with EZCrowns.
If your child’s primary tooth has extensive decay, or has been damaged by trauma, action may be needed to restore the integrity of the tooth and prevent infection from spreading to surrounding teeth. After a set of X-rays are taken, your dentist will be able to assess the extent of the infection and recommend one of two options, a pulpotomy or a pulpectomy.
If the decay or trauma is confined to the crown of the tooth, a pulpotomy may be recommended. When a cavity gets really deep, close to the pulp of a tooth, or even into the pulp, the pulpal tissue becomes irritated and inflamed. A pulpotomy is when the inflamed pulp chamber, usually on a baby molar, is removed. The dentist will remove all the infected material in the pulp of the crown only, leaving the living tooth root intact. After a pulpotomy on a baby molar, the empty space will be filled with dental cement and a stainless steel crown will be placed to restore the tooth.
If the infection involves tissue in both the tooth crown and the tooth root, a pulpectomy may be the best option. In a pulpectomy, the entire pulp material is removed from both the crown and the roots. After numbing your child’s tooth, the dentist will remove the pulp and nerve tissue from the crown and from the canals of the roots. Then, the pulp chamber and root canals will be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected. Next, the dentist will fill the tooth and tooth roots with a dental cement, and finish with a stainless steel crown.
Crowns are “cemented” onto an existing tooth and fully cover the portion of the tooth above the gum line. In effect, the crown becomes the tooth’s new outer surface.
Stainless steel dental crowns are considered a good temporary restoration to save a primary tooth until the permanent tooth can erupt and take its place. Keeping the primary tooth if at all possible is very important. A primary tooth can be restored with a stainless steel crown during one appointment. A crowned tooth must be brushed and flossed just like other teeth.
There are times when it is necessary to remove a tooth. Sometimes, a baby tooth has misshapen or long roots that prevent it from falling out as it should, and the tooth must be removed to make way for the permanent tooth to erupt. Other times, a tooth may have so much decay that it puts the surrounding teeth and jaw at risk. Infection, orthodontic correction, or problems with a wisdom tooth can also require removal of a tooth.
If it is determined that your child’s tooth needs to be removed, your pediatric dentist may extract the tooth during a regular checkup or may schedule another visit for this procedure. The root of each tooth is encased within the jawbone in a “tooth socket,” and the tooth is held in that socket by a ligament. In order to extract a tooth, the dentist must expand the socket and separate the tooth from the ligament holding it in place. While this procedure is typically very quick, it is important to share with your dentist any concerns or preferences for sedation; we want to make sure your child is as comfortable as possible.
The day after your child’s extraction:
- No drinking with straws
- No vigorous rinsing and spitting
- A soft diet is recommended; no eating of popcorn, pretzels, pizza, crackers, or any food with sharp edges
- If your child has any discomfort, give a children’s dose of Advil® or Tylenol®
- If your child experiences swelling, apply a cold cloth or an ice bag and call our office