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Parent’s Guide to Children’s Dental Crowns

Does your kid need a crown? This guide will provide you with essential information so that you fully understand the reasons we place dental crowns and what to expect during and after crown placement.

A children’s dental crown is much like an adult crown, only smaller. Crowns, also called caps, are dental restorations that reinforce a tooth’s damaged structure. For a cracked or decayed tooth (one with a cavity), crowning the tooth restores health, appearance, function, and comfort.

In today’s blog, the Children’s Dental Zone team in Johns Creek, GA, will educate you on many aspects of dental crowns and provide answers to the most common questions parents ask regarding children’s dental crowns.

If you have questions or would like to schedule an exam for your child, call us at 770-777-1222. Our board-certified pediatric dentists provide gentle, effective dental treatment for children of all ages, while keeping parents informed and educated on their child’s oral health.  

Now, let’s dive in!

Frequently Asked Questions About Pediatric Dental Crowns

If your questions are not sufficiently answered by the time you complete reading this article, give us a call. We’re always eager to help parents understand pediatric oral health and hygiene.

Who needs a dental crown?

If the dentist recommends a crown for one or more of your child’s teeth, your child likely has developed tooth decay, a cavity, or a tooth has become fractured, which simply means cracked or broken.

Why does my child have cavities?

For generations, parents have warned children about the result of eating too much candy and soda: cavities. The warnings are valid. Sugar feeds bacteria and demineralizes teeth, prepping them for an onslaught from S. mutans, an oral bacteria that causes cavities. 

Beginning in 1945, American communities introduced fluoride into tap water because this interesting mineral has the power to attract other tooth-enamel-strengthening minerals. However, today many kids drink only bottled water, so they miss out on the benefit of fluoride.

Children’s cavities are most often caused by poor oral hygiene practices. Every human should brush twice a day and thoroughly floss once a day. If brushing isn’t thorough, bacterial plaque builds up. Add to this decaying food particles wedged between teeth, and you have a perfect recipe for tooth decay.

Tips for reducing the potential for cavities in kids:

  • Drink tap water, not just bottled water
  • Avoid sodas, sports drinks, and other sugary beverages
  • Use an athletic mouthguard for sports 
  • Never allow a child to go to sleep with a bottle or cup filled with anything but water (including no milk or formula)

Oral hygiene routine for kids:

  • A soft-bristled toothbrush will protect enamel from scratching
  • Parents should brush and floss their child’s teeth until the child is four years old
  • Parents should supervise daily hygiene results until a child is around age eight
  • Kids eight and older need periodic checks by parents to ensure good brushing and flossing
  • Kids older than three years should use fluoridated toothpaste
  • Kids three and younger should use non-fluoridated toothpaste
  • Children can use regular dental floss or a small, disposable, pre-threaded flosser
  • First, floss in the morning
  • Next, brush thoroughly
  • Brush again before bed

Why is my child’s tooth cracked?

The enamel coating baby teeth is not as durable as an adult’s tooth enamel. A child may crack a tooth by chewing on hard objects or foods, by using teeth as tools to cut or pull with, or through an injury like a fall or blow to the face.

A crack or chip in a tooth creates an imperfection that’s more prone to decay. Bacteria will enter the tooth through the fault and, in some cases, infect the tooth from the inside.

Why not a dental filling?

Dental fillings are the restoration of choice for small chips or cavities. When damage is too extensive for a filling to repair, the pediatric dentist usually recommends a dental crown. Because of their coverage on the chewing surface and around the sides of teeth, crowns provide structural support that fillings do not. 

Is it okay to pull a decaying or cracked baby tooth?

Children’s baby teeth are placeholders for the developing permanent teeth inside the jawbone. When a tooth is missing, other teeth shift. This can cause crowding or tipping of teeth. Ultimately, braces may be required to correct alignment issues in permanent teeth that began with the loss of the baby tooth.

What will happen if I don’t have my child’s tooth decay treated?

Untreated cavities grow. Our teeth don’t have the ability to heal, as does our skin. Cavities can kill the nerve and blood vessels within a tooth, which leads to the need for root canal therapy or extraction. Even the permanent teeth buds within the jaw can be negatively affected by a large dental cavity. 

Generally speaking, poor oral health affects overall health. Bacteria inside teeth can get into the bloodstream to cause systemic health issues. Gum disease is another possibility with ramifications to overall health. When cavities aren’t treated, bacteria irritate gum tissue to cause gingivitis, which also requires treatment. 

Will my child endure having dental crowns placed?

At Children’s Dental Zone, we offer laughing gas (nitrous oxide), as well as sedation dentistry. Our board-certified pediatric dentists are gentle and understanding, as are our support staff. We help our patients and their parents throughout the process of all dental treatments. 

Does my child need a root canal and crowns?

Bacteria that gain access to a tooth’s core may enter through a chip, crack, or cavity. Once the core of the tooth becomes infected, the tooth cannot survive. To restore oral health, the tooth may require root canal therapy. 

Children’s Dental Crowns Materials

Depending on your child’s age and both your and his preferences, you can choose from three types of dental crowns. The dentist will offer advice and answer your questions about differences and benefits of these materials.

  • Stainless steel crowns – most common and durable
  • Stainless steel with veneered white facing – looks natural 
  • Composite strip or resin crowns – looks natural

What to Expect at the Appointment

  • Anesthesia for optimal comfort
  • Tooth preparation
  • Dental impressions
  • Temporary crown
  • Second appointment for permanent crown placement

After a Dental Crown is Placed

  • Do not eat until anestheisa has worn off
  • Expect discomfort for 24 hours and use Tylenol or Motrin for pain relief
  • Never again eat taffy, caramel, or jawbreakers
  • Never use teeth to crack nut shells, open bags, or to pull on items
  • Rinse with water after consuming sugary or starchy foods and drinks
  • Always wear a mouthguard during sports
  • Practice excellent daily dental hygiene
  • Attend six-month checkups and cleanings
  • If the child develops bruxism, clenching and grinding teeth (usually while sleeping), a mouthguard should be worn to protect teeth and restorations

Learn More About Children’s Dental Crowns

If you notice a flaw in one or more of your children’s teeth, it’s important that you bring your child in for a checkup. Oftentimes, we find chips, cracks, and cavities during six-month checkups. In some cases, a parent wants a second opinion about a diagnosis, and we can help. Call Children’s Dental Zone in Johns Creek, GA, today and schedule your children’s dental appointments. We are accepting new patients and would love to welcome your family!

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