Is it safe to insert a zirconia crown on a baby tooth?
Most adults are fairly familiar with the concept of a metal or zirconia crown as a means of protecting a damaged tooth.
However, what may not be as widely known is the fact that dental crowns can – and often are – used on baby teeth for the same reasons.
It might seem odd considering baby teeth eventually fall out. But your child’s baby teeth or primary teeth play an important role in helping with their nutrition and overall growth and development. In addition, primary teeth are important to maintain space for the adult (secondary) teeth and help to maintain good dimensions of the jaws.
Having healthy baby teeth will ensure that the permanent teeth then grow into the proper position.
Treatment with a crown (either metallic/stainless steel or zirconia which can be tooth coloured) is one way to help preserve baby teeth until they’re ready to fall out naturally.
BUT WHY WOULD MY CHILD NEED A ZIRCONIA CROWN?
In some cases where a tooth is severely broken down from decay, or if there’s been a defect during enamel formation and the tooth hasn’t developed properly, your paediatric dentist might recommend insertion of a stainless steel or zirconia crown.
Think of a dental crown like a helmet for the tooth. It’s going to provide a strong layer of protection so that no further damage can be done. This helps to restore the tooth BEFORE it gets to a point where it needs significant work done, such as extraction.
ARE ZIRCONIA CROWNS SAFE FOR USE ON BABY TEETH?
Absolutely! Both stainless steel and zirconia dental crowns are completely safe to use on baby teeth that are chipped/broken, have large cavities or extensive decay, or haven’t developed properly.
When it comes to treating cavities, paediatric dentists will often prefer crowns over other treatments like fillings if the decay is so bad there is a risk of it breaking.
Some parents prefer the use of zirconia crowns as they are tooth coloured. However stainless steel crowns despite their appearance have been around for a lot longer than zirconia crowns
WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A ZIRCONIA CROWN AND A STAINLESS STEEL CROWN?
Unlike stainless steel crowns which have been used in dentistry for decades now, zirconia crowns are relatively newer to the scene. However from a strength and durability standpoint, there really isn’t a difference between the two types of crowns.
Really the key difference between a zirconia crown and a stainless steel crown is simply the material they are made from, their aesthetics and manner in which the teeth have to be prepared to place them.
Zirconia is a much more aesthetically pleasing material because it has a natural tooth colour, unlike stainless steel which is metallic.
A zirconia crown is slightly harder to prepare and can take more time than stainless steel crowns. In some cases due to the amount of tooth that is removed with zirconia crowns, your paediatric dentist may need to electively perform other procedures such as treating the nerve prior to fitting a zirconia crown.
HOW LONG WILL A ZIRCONIA CROWN LAST?
As is the case with any dental crown on baby teeth, a zirconia crown will remain in place until the tooth is ready to extract or fall out of the mouth and give way to the underlying adult tooth.
CAN ZIRCONIA CROWNS BE INSERTED IN THE CHAIR OR WILL MY CHILD NEED TO GO TO HOSPITAL?
Due to the slightly harder preparation process involved with zirconia crowns, it can be challenging to complete the procedure in the chair – particularly if a child is uncooperative or anxious.
We recommend putting your child under for a short sleep, however this is something that we will assess at the time of your initial consultation. Unlike dental crowns for adults, which can often require several visits to the dentist, most crowns for children can be placed in a single procedure.
We always make sure that we discuss all options with you, and weigh the risks and benefits based on the specific needs of your child.
WHAT PRECAUTIONS SHOULD MY CHILD TAKE AFTER HAVING A ZIRCONIA CROWN INSERTED?
Dental crowns can often feel uncomfortable and large or tight after the procedure. This sensation will improve itself within a few days to a week or so.
It is important that your child maintains a good oral hygiene practice with regular brushing twice a day and flossing once at night.
REGULAR VISITS TO YOUR CHILD’S DENTIST WILL REDUCE THE NEED FOR RESTORATIVE TREATMENTS
The best kind of plan is always a preventive one.
By booking regular visits to see one of our paediatric dentists we can ensure we catch any signs of tooth or gum damage before it develops into a problem.
If your child is overdue for their next appointment give us a call on (02) 9188-0202 or book online here.
This article is intended to promote understanding of and knowledge about general oral health topics and to help begin the conversation with your children’s dentist. It should not be used as a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your health care professional prior to incorporating this as part of your child’s diet or health regimen.