Use of Stainless Steel Crowns in the Permanent Dentition of Paediatric Dental Patients: A Guide for GDPs

Paediatric Dentistry is the branch of Dental Science that deals with the oral and dental care of children. Every child grows teeth as a toddler around the age of 1 year to 1.5 years of age. This set of teeth is referred to as the primary teeth. Around the age of 12 to 14, the primary teeth exfoliate on their own and are replaced by secondary teeth. The process is one of the many wonders of nature and the human body. The primary teeth and secondary teeth have their own functions and roles that help children with many developmental milestones beginning from the toddler stage up until they are fully adults. Primary teeth need to be taken care of as much as an adult would take care of their own teeth.

Primary teeth have a thin enamel and larger pulp causing it to be very susceptible to germ attack and plaque buildup. Coupled with childrens’ sugary diet and constant snacking and with minimal oral care, more children suffer from tooth decay today than several years ago. Infection of a primary tooth may cause discomfort, ruin normal functionality and even affect speech and spread to other teeth. Immediate attention from a GDP is important in this scenario. Most parents may let an infected tooth fall off or request for an extraction but this is not the solution. Primary teeth, however temporary, are very vital for the development of a child’s masticatory functions, speech functions and the alignment and growth of secondary teeth upon its arrival.

Dental Crowns for Paediatric Patients

Dental Crowns are the solution for most kinds of dental issues today. They are the easiest and the most effective solutions for dental caries, tooth decay, fractures of the teeth or even for cosmetic corrections such as misshapen teeth or uneven coloured teeth. Dental crowns are placed right on top of the original teeth therefore eliminating the need to extract a tooth that has gone through any correction. The original tooth is reduced so that the crown can be placed while protecting the original tooth within. The only two things that are required here is the perfect fit by the crown and the crown type that is to be chosen by the patient and the dentist.

When it comes to paediatric dentistry, there are a few types of crowns that are used for children as not all kinds are favourable for young children. Amongst all the options, perhaps stainless steel crowns are the oldest and still the most relevant type of dental crown in the market. Pediatric stainless steel crowns are usually prefabricated which means that they come in a variety of sizes and shapes and can be easily clipped on by a GDP without the need for senior or special denticians. Prefabricated stainless steel crowns have their own advantages and a few disadvantages but overall, they are the most preferred types of dental crowns for children.

Apart from Stainless steel crowns for pediatric dentistry, there are other types of crowns as well that are being used off late for children such as Zirconia crowns, Resin Veneer crowns, polycarbonate crowns, clearstrip crowns etc. Of all the types of crowns, perhaps stainless steel tooth crowns and Zirconia crowns are the two most favoured types of crowns by parents and GDPs everywhere. They have strikingly different characteristics and therefore serve the two major categories of patients: Economical posterior restorations and esthetic anterior restorations. Most paediatric patients would fit either of the two bills.

Stainless Steel Crowns for Permanent Dentition for Paediatric Patients

Paediatric Dental Patients are children below 12 to 13 years of age and these children have what is referred to as Primary teeth. It is the first set of teeth that comes into being when they are around 1 year of age and are replaced by secondary teeth at around 12 to 14 years of age. Primary teeth may suffer from problems such as dental cavities, sensitivity, grinding of teeth and even fractures of the tooth because of falling. For all such issues, GDPs can safely opt for Dental crowns instead of teeth extraction. Dental crowns help in protecting the original teeth from further damage and retain the original primary teeth so that the permanent teeth can grow into the space. By losing out on a primary tooth, there is a considerable chance of having poor shape of teeth alignment at the time of permanent teeth growth.

Stainless steel tooth crowns are the preferred type of crowns by most GDPs because of the simple fact that they are long lastic, easy to adapt to and need very little maintenance. They are more economical than any other options out in the market which is good for parents. Most children may end up losing more than a couple of teeth due to various reasons and sometimes may even lose a crown or two. For this very reason, parents may shy away from investing too much in a crown, not to mention the fact that they would no longer be needed in a few years when the permanent teeth come in.

Given all these factors, stainless steel crown tooth is the best option for parents as well as GDPs globally for the paediatric patients. But there are certain scenarios where stainless steel crowns may not be the right option such as

When the patient has Nickel allergy

Stainless steel crown tooth are primarily made from nickel alloys and are therefore not suited for those children who are allergic to nickel or metal as such 

When there is very high Occlusal Reduction

If the tooth had to be worn down too much because of the amount of decay present and there is not much tooth structure remaining to work with then stainless steel crowns may not be an option in this case

Underlying issues such as Radicular Pathology or Periapical Pathology

If there are nerve related issues that are inflamed or radiate pain or if there are periapical lesions and cysts due to necrotic pulp then stainless steel crowns may not be the right solution

Benefits of using stainless steel crowns for Permanent Dentition in Paediatric Patients

There are several benefits of using Stainless steel crowns for Pediatric Dentistry especially in permanent dentition. Some children may have early exfoliation of deciduous dentition (primary teeth) and may have a few or a set of permanent dentition (permanent teeth). Early dental caries can affect primary teeth as well as permanent teeth in young kids and can cause severe pain and inconvenience. In both these dentitions, stainless steel crowns is one of the most efficient types of dental crown that has many benefits not only for the patient but also for the parents and the General Dental Practitioner. Below are some of the benefits of using stainless steel crowns in permanent dentition on paediatric dental patients:

1.Ease of Use

Pediatric Stainless steel crowns and stainless steel crowns for adults both are extremely beneficial for both the patient and the dentist as they are easy to use and easy to adapt to. They are placed with minimal technique sensitive placement methods and make it perfect for non-cooperative patients such as young kids. The crown can be designed, crimped and adjusted at the base and for height easily and can be set with a biocompatible luting agent.Stainless steel crown is best suited for children with permanent molars as they are much more durable than other options.

2. Cost Effective

Stainless steel crowns remain the most cost effective solutions in the market even decades after its popularisation in the 1950s. They are very economical and most children who tend to have multiple restorations can benefit from having stainless steel crowns as they are less expensive than other options for cost conscious parents. Not many insurances cover dental restorations so stainless steel crowns crowns for children make sense

3. Availability of Crowns

Prefabricated stainless steel crowns are easily available in all markets and most dentists may have a set of crowns readily available in several different sizes and shapes. They are extremely easy to use and can cut down the total time of restorations by half. The only downside to them is that they cannot be extensively trimmed or crimped as this would comprise the structural integrity provided by the manufacturer. But in most cases, these crowns act like plug and play options for most patients

4. Full Coverage

One of the best things about stainless steel crowns is that they provide full coronal coverage unlike other types of crowns. They can be adjusted to fit and cover the tooth entirely so that the original structure is fully protected and avoids any further pulpal damage. Most teeth that are fit with stainless steel crowns crowns have usually undergone pulp therapy and therefore taking care of the original structure from plaque buildup and other factors is pivotal

5. Durability

Stainless steel crowns are known to be very durable for primary and permanent teeth in children. Incase of primary teeth they can very well last until the eruption of the permanent teeth and in case of permanent restorations of molars or premolars with stainless steel crowns in children, the crowns can last for about 10 to 12 years without any problems. They also require very less maintenance and care which makes them perfect for children who have less than normal oral hygiene. They are sturdy and are perfect for posterior permanent dentition restorations in children.

These are some of the key benefits of using stainless steel crowns in paediatric dental patients for both primary and permanent dentition.