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Everything You Need to Know About Pediatric Dental Crowns

As a parent, you want the best for your child, especially when it comes to their health and well-being. Dental health is a crucial aspect of overall wellness, and sometimes, despite our best efforts, our little ones may need more than just regular cleanings and check-ups. If you’ve recently learned that your child might need a dental crown, you’re probably feeling a mix of concern and curiosity. Don’t worry – we’re here to help! At Sweet Tooth Kids Dentistry in Downers Grove, IL, we understand your concerns and want to provide you with all the information you need about pediatric dental crowns.

What Are Pediatric Dental Crowns?

Pediatric dental crowns are specially designed caps that cover damaged or decayed baby teeth. They’re used to preserve the natural appearance and function of a tooth that’s too severely compromised for a simple filling. These crowns play a crucial role in maintaining your child’s oral health by protecting the affected tooth until it naturally falls out, making way for the adult tooth.

Why Are Pediatric Crowns Different from Adult Crowns?

It’s important to understand that pediatric crowns are quite different from adult crowns in several ways:

  1. Material: Pediatric crowns are typically made of stainless steel, while adult crowns can be made from various materials like porcelain or ceramic.
  2. Fabrication: Pediatric crowns are pre-fabricated and modified chairside by the dentist during the appointment. Adult crowns, on the other hand, are usually custom-made in a laboratory, based on impressions or scans of the patient’s mouth.
  3. Cost: Pediatric crowns can be less expensive than adult crowns.
  4. Longevity: Pediatric crowns are designed to last only until the baby tooth naturally falls out, while adult crowns are meant to be a long-term solution.

Why Might Your Child Need a Dental Crown?

There are several situations where Dr. Jamie, our experienced pediatric dentist at Sweet Tooth Kids Dentistry, might recommend a crown for your child:

  1. Unsupported Enamel: Baby teeth have thinner and more brittle enamel compared to adult teeth. When decay or damage compromises a significant portion of the tooth, a crown provides full coverage and protection, preventing further damage and additional dental work.
  2. Following Nerve Treatment: If your child has undergone a pulpotomy (a type of root canal treatment for baby teeth), a crown is often necessary to protect the weakened tooth structure and prevent fractures.
  3. Extensive Decay: When a cavity is too large for a filling to adequately restore the tooth, a crown becomes the best option to save the tooth and maintain its function.
  4. Fractured Teeth: If your child has suffered an injury resulting in a cracked or broken tooth, a crown can help restore its shape and strength.
  5. Developmental Defects: Some children may have teeth that didn’t form properly due to genetic factors or other conditions. Crowns can help protect these vulnerable teeth.

Types of Pediatric Dental Crowns

At Sweet Tooth Kids Dentistry, we offer two main types of pediatric dental crowns:

1. Stainless Steel Crowns (SSCs):

Stainless steel crowns are the most commonly used type of pediatric dental restoration. Despite being called “silver” crowns due to their appearance, they’re actually made of a special alloy of metals that gives them their bright, shiny look. Here’s why SSCs are often the go-to choice:

  • Durability: They’re highly resistant to corrosion and can withstand the forces of chewing and grinding.
  • Flexibility: They have a slight flex when being placed, allowing for a snug fit on the prepared tooth.
  • Easy Maintenance: SSCs are simple to clean and maintain, making them ideal for children who might struggle with thorough oral hygiene.
  • Cost-Effective: They’re more affordable than other options, making them accessible for most families.

2. Zirconia Crowns:

For parents concerned about aesthetics, zirconia crowns offer an excellent alternative to stainless steel. These crowns are made of a ceramic material that closely matches the color of natural teeth. Benefits of zirconia crowns include:

  • Natural Appearance: They blend in seamlessly with your child’s other teeth, which can be especially important for visible front teeth.
  • Durability: While not as flexible as stainless steel, zirconia is still very strong and resistant to wear.
  • Biocompatibility: Zirconia is well-tolerated by the body, making it a good choice for children with metal sensitivities.

The Pediatric Crown Procedure: What to Expect

If Dr. Jamie recommends a crown for your child, here’s what you can typically expect during the procedure:

  1. Examination and Preparation: Dr. Jamie will thoroughly examine the affected tooth and may take X-rays to assess the extent of damage or decay.
  2. Anesthesia: Local anesthesia will be administered to ensure your child’s comfort throughout the procedure.
  3. Tooth Preparation: The damaged or decayed portions of the tooth will be removed, and the tooth will be shaped to accommodate the crown.
  4. Crown Selection and Fitting: For stainless steel crowns, Dr. Jamie will select the appropriate size from pre-fabricated options and make any necessary adjustments chairside. For zirconia crowns, a precise measurement will be taken to ensure a perfect fit.
  5. Placement: The crown will be securely cemented onto the prepared tooth.
  6. Final Check: Dr. Jamie will check the bite and make any final adjustments to ensure proper fit and function.

The entire process usually takes place in a single visit, which is great news for busy parents and potentially anxious children.

Caring for Pediatric Dental Crowns

After your child receives a dental crown, proper care is essential to ensure its longevity and your child’s overall oral health. Here are some tips:

  1. Maintain Good Oral Hygiene: Encourage your child to brush twice daily and floss regularly, paying extra attention to the area around the crown.
  2. Avoid Sticky Foods: Chewy or sticky candies and foods can potentially dislodge the crown, so it’s best to avoid them.
  3. Regular Check-ups: Continue with regular dental visits to monitor the crown and your child’s overall dental health.
  4. Be Mindful of Grinding: If your child grinds their teeth, talk to Dr. Jamie about potential solutions to protect the crown and other teeth.

The Benefits of Pediatric Crowns

While the idea of your child needing a dental crown might seem daunting at first, there are numerous benefits to this treatment:

  1. Preservation of Natural Tooth: By saving the baby tooth, we maintain the proper spacing for the adult tooth to come in later.
  2. Prevention of Further Damage: Crowns protect weakened teeth from further decay or damage.
  3. Improved Oral Function: A properly restored tooth allows your child to eat, speak, and smile comfortably.
  4. Avoiding Extraction: In many cases, a crown can prevent the need for tooth extraction, which could lead to more complex issues like the need for space maintainers.
  5. Cost-Effective in the Long Run: While there is an upfront cost, crowns can prevent more expensive treatments down the line.

Choosing Sweet Tooth Kids Dentistry for Your Child’s Dental Needs

At Sweet Tooth Kids Dentistry in Downers Grove, IL, we understand that entrusting your child’s dental care to a professional is a big decision. That’s why we’re committed to providing compassionate, high-quality care tailored to each child’s unique needs. Dr. Jamie and our entire team are experienced in working with children and making their dental visits as comfortable and positive as possible.

We believe in educating both parents and children about oral health, and we’re always here to answer your questions and address your concerns. Whether your child needs a routine check-up, a filling, or a more complex procedure like a crown, you can trust that they’re in good hands at Sweet Tooth Kids Dentistry.


Pediatric dental crowns play a vital role in preserving your child’s oral health when baby teeth are severely damaged or decayed. By understanding what these crowns are, why they might be necessary, and how they’re placed, you can feel more confident in making decisions about your child’s dental care.

Remember, early intervention and regular dental check-ups are key to maintaining your child’s beautiful smile. If you have any questions about pediatric dental crowns or would like to schedule an appointment, don’t hesitate to contact us at Sweet Tooth Kids Dentistry. We’re here to support you and your child on the journey to optimal oral health.

Your child’s smile is precious, and we’re dedicated to keeping it healthy and bright. Let’s work together to give your little one the best start in life with a healthy, happy smile!

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