Dental caries has become a world epidemic affecting more children than you would actually think. A study in the UK revealed that 15 percent of children had atleast one tooth extracted because of early age carries and by the age of 8, atleast 45 percent of children had one or more teeth extracted. This indicates the radical problem that is dental and oral health amongst children in today's world. Not only are children uninformed towards these healthy practices, they grow up not knowing the importance of primary teeth and how they are necessary to form healthy and strong secondary/ permanent teeth.
Primary dentition in young children holds many important functions and roles. Some of the most important ones are:
Helps with proper chewing of food and nutrition
Children who are learning to use their teeth for cutting up and chewing food need to have a solid base which is provided by the primary teeth. Toddlers and young children learn the art of chewing food from the age of 1 and above and therefore, having healthy teeth in this period of time is important.
Helps with the growth and adjustment of secondary teeth
Primary teeth hold space for the secondary teeth. When children reach the age where primary teeth exfoliate by themselves, the secondary teeth grow in the place of primary teeth therefore adjusting and aligning themselves in the right order.
Self confidence and appearance
The fact that children are growing more and more aware of themselves and want to have good teeth is becoming a major factor to retain primary teeth. Although some children do not have the knowledge to keep them healthy, the lack of good teeth becomes a hurdle in their self esteem and confidence as they grow up - thereby indicating the need for healthy teeth.
Pediatric Crowns and its applications
Pediatric crowns are the best solution for all dental issues that children face in their young age. Primary teeth have certain roles to play in the day to day function and the lack thereof needs to be substituted with something that not only helps with the functionality of the original tooth but also helps in protecting the tooth from absolute damage and further infections.
This is where dental crowns come into the picture. Dental crowns sit right on top of the treated tooth after the removal of the infected portion and helps in full coverage and protection of the original tooth. It also helps in substituting and taking up the functions of the original tooth in terms of proper mastication of food, speech and enunciation, appearance and alignment and other such roles of the tooth.
Pediatric dental crowns are used by dentists to help out young pediatric patients in repairing and protecting their original teeth. Esthetic pediatric crowns are preferred to non esthetic pediatric crowns by children in the modern age as they help in covering up the crown placement and look close to the original teeth. White pediatric crowns are considered esthetically suitable and are popularly used for anterior teeth.
Pediatric crowns - Types
There are many different types of dental materials that are used to make pediatric crowns for front teeth and the back teeth. The type of crowns and dental materials chosen are based on the type of restoration - whether they are anterior teeth or for posterior teeth. Because more and more children and their parents place a lot of importance on esthetics today, esthetic pediatric crowns are becoming more and more popular.
Some of the common esthetic pediatric crowns in the market are:
Zirconia pediatric crowns
Zirconia crowns are our top choice for pediatric crowns in the market. Not only are these crowns durable and strong, they offer top esthetics for children who need a viable and durable option. For kids who lose their teeth within the first few years of life and have well over 7 to 8 years, zirconia crowns are an excellent choice and an investment to consider.
The zirconia pediatric crown costs around a few hundred dollars and may be slightly more expensive than other crowns, but once you see the list of advantages that they have over other types of crowns, you will consider them worth the price and investment. Here are some of the best features of zirconia pediatric crowns:
Zirconia crowns are known for their excellent strength and are better than metal crowns in all known aspects. They are excellent choices for anterior and posterior teeth thanks to their high load bearing and bite force bearing qualities.
As mentioned before, if your child or patient has lost their tooth in the early years and has a good few years to go before exfoliation, then you need to look for a durable solution that lasts longer. Zirconia crowns are extremely durable as they are strong, resists infections and are safe because of their biocompatible nature.
In continuation with the feature above, biocompatibility is one of the key aspects to choosing a pediatric crown. Some children may turn out allergic to metal and other chemicals in metallic crowns. For parents who do not want to risk metal exposure, zirconia crowns are one of the safest options in the market.
Zirconia crowns offer amazing esthetics as they are slightly opaque and white in nature. They mimic the white coloured teeth and can be used for anterior teeth. Some parents or children may find the opaque appearance unlike their natural teeth and in these cases, glazing and shade matching techniques can be used to introduce a healthy, natural shade.
Resin veneer crowns / Preveneered Stainless steel crowns
Resin veneer crowns or preveneered stainless steel crowns are becoming more and more popular in the pediatric dentistry front. Many parents resound with the idea of esthetically pleasing crowns that do not look jarring, that is in the case of metallic crowns. Resin veneer crowns have a stainless steel core and a resin veneer exterior that has a teeth like enamel coating which mimics the real tooth of a child.
Preveneered stainless steel crowns are another name for resin veneer crowns. Pre Veneered crowns are available in the market in ready to buy forms and shapes. All the dentist needs to do is to fit them on, adjust and crimp and they are ready to go. This offers incredible flexibility to patients and dentists and reduces the chair side time by more than half. They are also super inexpensive but are harder to maintain due to risk of chipping and fractures.
Pros of Resin veneer crowns:
- Teeth coloured resin enamel with pleasing esthetics
- Has good strength because of the stainless steel core
- Increased functional stability
- Prone to chipping and fractures
- Low load bearing strength
- Low durability
Composite clearstrip crowns
Composite clear strip crowns are made from a special composite material that looks very much similar to transparent rubber stoppers placed on top of the tooth. Composite clearstrip crowns are easy to place and fit but the technique is very sensitive and requires precision. The crowns are majorly used for pediatric temporary restorations owing to their low durability but since they are easy to fix, many dentists prefer clearstrip crowns to other materials.
Some advantages of clearstrip crowns are:
- They can be easily placed during restoration
- They are easy to repair and remove at the time of exfoliation
- They are clear and therefore match the existing tooth of the child
- They have a smooth and shiny appearance
- Composite can be shade matched to provide excellent esthetics
Some cons of clearstrip crowns are:
- The restoration method is very technique sensitive and requires high precision
- The bonding material can interfere with saliva and blood
- Hemorrhage can change the color of the material
- Needs most of the tooth structure so as to establish a successful bond on the tooth
Polycarbonate crowns are made from carbonic acid and are one of the best treatment modalities for deciduous anterior teeth. Polycarbonate crowns are thermoplastic resins and can be molded when they are hot to form any shape. Therefore, they are excellent at preparing pediatric crowns in different forms and shapes based on measurements. They are also extremely esthetic and have a beautiful shiny, smooth and teeth like finish which is extremely appreciated by patients worldwide.
Pros of polycarbonate crowns:
- Can be used for extensive carious lesions involving all three surfaces
- Can be used for children after pulpal therapy
- Can be used for children who have broken, fractured or misshapen teeth as well
- Dimensionally stable structure with high impact strength
- Have excellent esthetics
Cons of polycarbonate crowns:
- They have a tendency to chip or fracture
- Cannot be used when there is low space between teeth
- Cannot be used on patients who have bruxism
Pediatric crowns are an excellent option to provide strength and functionality to teeth. They help in protecting the original tooth and also offer better functionality for the teeth after pulpal therapy. Crowns are also a durable dental option that helps in prolonging the life and usability of primary teeth.