What makes a child a candidate for a white crown or a silver crown (made of stainless steel)?
Why would your child even need a crown for "just a baby tooth?"
Baby teeth are inherently different from permanent teeth, they have less enamel so that means that cavities progress faster in baby teeth than in permanent teeth! What you may see as a parent as a small area in the mouth usually means it's much bigger clinically and will need a restoration that fully covers the tooth to protect it from fracturing.
In the x-ray above, the tooth in the middle has a large cavity inbetween the teeth that almost goes into the nerve of the tooth, so this would tooth would be better served by a crown vs. a large filling.
In this picture above, can you tell which teeth have crowns vs. natural teeth? That is what is great about zirconia or tooth-colored crowns. It's hard to tell! All the teeth on the top other than the one on the left is a crown (the one that looks more yellowish!) And as you can see the back molars have stainless steel crowns on them. Usually, multiple crowns that we need to place on the front teeth need to be done with children under sedation as they are quite technique sensitive.
The tooth-colored crowns I place are made of zirconia, which is a type of white porcelain. There is no metal in this material at all. That is not to say that there is not a place for stainless steel crowns which have been the gold standard in pediatric dentistry but as of 2010, zirconia crowns started to be available as a more esthetic option.
The way that I determine if a child is able to cooperate for a zirconia crown is their behavior. If your child is uncooperative, they may need to be sedated for treatment in order to have a zirconia crown, versus sometimes what is easier could be for me to mold a metal crown in order to fit the tooth quicker. It takes me about 2-3 times longer to prepare a tooth for a white crown vs. a silver crown, so if a child is young or has a hard time sitting still, a stainless steel crown may be the best option! If your child is a champ at dental treatment and historically has done great for dental work, they may be a good candidate for this treatment option.
While zirconia crowns are great options, I need to assess your child to make sure they would be a good candidate for this option, but I'm very excited to offer this service at Cultivate Kids Dentistry. Please feel free to ask more questions at your consultation appointment!