Pediatric Dentistry is not only a fascinating and essential stream of dental science, it is one of the most challenging as well. The awareness of pediatric dental health among patients including parents is very low and many parents usually take oral and dental health hygiene for granted to a large extent. Only when there is an absolute need for medical intervention such as in the case of dental caries or accidental tooth damage, parents usually bring young children into the dental clinics for medical attention.
Primary teeth are one of the most prone to dental accidents and early age caries due to the exposed and larger pulp that is present in the tooth structure. Primary teeth has smaller volume of enamel and a larger, exposed pulp that is vulnerable to plaque build up and eventual caries when poor oral and dental hygiene is maintained. Accidents causing the teeth to fall out or fracture is also another leading cause of dental injuries requiring medical attention. Primary teeth, however temporary, are an extremely important part of healthy child development.
Primary Teeth have many roles and functions in the development of a young child and cannot be left unattended or as is when one or few teeth is lost due to either of the above mentioned factors. Below are some of the most important roles of Primary teeth in young children:
1. Neuromuscular Imbalance
This is perhaps the most important factor that calls for immediate medical attention due to lack of a missing tooth/teeth in children - research suggests neuromuscular imbalance in the functioning of the body when there are spatial features due to missing teeth in a child's mouth especially with regards to masticatory functions. Improper masticatory function denotes a loss of child’s appetite, poor nutrition and lower learning skills when it comes to chewing and tearing up food as a child.
2. Lowered Esthetics
It was believed that children develop a sense of self and body consciousness only by the age of 8 and above but this number has lowered drastically in the recent few years. Recent research suggests that children can develop a high sense of self esteem, self-consciousness and self image by the ages as low as 3 and at an average of 5 years old. This means that children who lose their primary teeth in the early age may have higher self-consciousness due to the lack of esthetics owing to the loss of tooth/teeth.
3. Speech Disturbance
Children usually start speaking around the age of 2 and start speaking in full sentences by the age of 3 and above. This requires the support and proper usage of their teeth in learning new words and to enunciate them properly at the learning stage which goes on until the age of 6 to 8. The role of teeth in this learning process is irreplaceable and therefore much attention is required to replace any missing tooth/teeth to enable the speech learning process in children.
4. Maintaining space in the mouth
Every single tooth occupies a certain space in the dental arch and has a purpose in doing so as it holds down this space for eventual replacement by permanent teeth - early exfoliation can disrupt this natural process causing the lack of space maintenance in the dental arch and crowding of permanent teeth when they appear. Permanent teeth can grow crooked or crowded due to the lack of the natural space maintainers which is the function of the primary teeth in children.
Stainless Steel Crowns for Pediatric Dentistry
There have been many dental restorative materials that have come up in the last few decades but none have been as successful and relevant even today as the Stainless steel crowns. Stainless steel tooth crowns were first introduced in the years 1947 but were only popularly used by the 1950’s. Stainless steel crowns are sturdy, durable and economical when it comes to cost but the only issue with them is perhaps their metallic appearance which pushes away parents and children who want esthetic options for their dental restorations.
Stainless steel crowns are undoubtedly the best choice and are preferred for children for temporary teeth restorations (in terms of primary teeth) as they are naturally exfoliating and are replaced by permanent teeth soon enough. The economical factor that most parents worry about is their temporary nature and therefore are convinced with the cost effectiveness of stainless steel if not for their appearance. Even with regards to Stainless steel crowns in adults who have low access to oral hygiene and dental maintenance, these are one of the primary options considered by dentists owing to their low maintenance aspect and high durability.
Today stainless steel comes in many different sizes and shapes and is usually referred to as Prefabricated Stainless Steel crowns. These crowns are usually available in many sizes at the dentists’ office and can be chosen based on the requirement of the patient. WIth just a little bit of crimping and adjustments, dentists are able to provide dental restorations within a day for pediatric patients which is an excellent quality of Pediatric Stainless steel crowns owing to the non-cooperation in younger kids.
Latest Advancements in SSC - Esthetic Options
As we mentioned earlier, patients care more for esthetic options today and even kids for that matter. Children are noted to have higher self-esteem and self-consciousness in the modern generation which is severely hampered when a crown that is not of the teeth colour is apparently visible in day to day activities. Many researchers have noted that children have a drop in self-confidence when they have steel coloured dental restorations and become overly conscious of their appearance causing them unwanted stress.
To counter these new findings and to overcome young age stigma towards non-esthetic dental options, many different kinds of crowns have now come into the market to suit the children’s preference. Notable amongst these are Zirconia crowns, Resin Composite crowns, Artglass crowns and different kinds of SSC crowns that have more aesthetics than their original form. Even though there are so many options in the market, dentists still prefer stainless steel crowns owing to their benefits and therefore advise on choosing one of the aesthetically pleasing Stainless steel crown tooth that are available these days.
Below is a short description of the new types of Stainless steel crowns that you can find in the market today:
1. Open Faced Stainless Steel Crowns
These types of stainless steel crowns are becoming more and more popular as they retain all the benefits of Stainless steel crowns but with a natural, teeth-like exterior. The stainless steel crowns are placed as per usual and are set using a glass ionomer cement. The exterior metal on the front is then burred out and replaced using a tooth-coloured resin therefore making the exterior look aesthetically pleasing but also retaining all strength and durability as well as the cost efficiency of Stainless steel crowns.
These crowns are known to have a success rate of avg 95% above a 2 year period which is a good marking period when compared to other esthetically pleasing solutions that are more expensive and have lower benefits than Stainless steel crowns. The crown placement takes less time but the resin enamel bonding process may take a bit more than usual. This is the only disadvantage of this type of crown. Dentists have also noted that haemorrhage control needs to be effectively done when using resin in patients.
2. Preveneered Stainless Steel Crowns
Preveneered stainless steel crowns are gaining popularity in the west and are becoming the most used type of stainless steel crowns. Although the success and retention rate is lower than that of open face stainless steel crowns, they are more aesthetically pleasing and are therefore preferred by most patients and parents.
These crowns are made using stainless steel core and frameworks but they have an aesthetically pleasing front facade using Resin Composite material. There are several precautions that need to be taken when using these crowns as they have a softer facial front which may easily chip or crack and crimping is only possible on the lingual side. The crown also needs to be placed with great care and patience fearing the easy longer setting time and easy fracture tendency.
The crowns however have an aesthetically pleasing front and can be used for anterior restorations for patients. Even though SSC in the anterior portion is rarely ever needed, anterior teeth, especially the incisors, are usually damaged easily in accidents or falls. In such cases, preveneered Stainless steel crowns using the Resin Composite veneer is an excellent option for such patients given their teeth like appearance and ideal usage in haemorrhage control areas.
These are some of the advancements that have been made in the area of Pediatric Stainless Steel crowns. These crowns render all the great qualities of stainless steel crown in children such as:
- Cost efficiency
- No Gingival inflammation or infection etc
Today, these crowns are no longer limited to posterior teeth dental restorations thanks to the aesthetically pleasing solutions that are now available in the market. Many different brands of these SSC’s are now available in the market and are commonly found as Cheng Crowns, Kinder Crowns or the Nu smile crowns all of which have similar properties.