Baby Tooth is often referred to as Primary Teeth - the first set of teeth that appears in a baby's mouth. Generally, the first set of teeth often erupts around 8 months of age and upwards. Children have around 20 teeth by the time they are 1.5 years of age. These teeth remain in the mouth up until they are 10 to 12 years of age. The teeth slowly exfoliate themselves and are replaced by a secondary set of teeth also called the Permanent teeth. These primary teeth or milk teeth have a specific role to play in the development of children’s skills with regards to eating, talking, smiling, self awareness and other such qualities that are related to the teeth.
Many parents do not seek any medical attention for their kids when they lose their baby teeth much earlier than anticipated. When the primary teeth exfoliate naturally, it means that the body is preparing for the secondary or permanent teeth to take up its place. But for no other reason, should a baby lose its teeth such as in an accident or losing teeth to decay and infection. In these scenarios, the patient must be taken to a dentist and be referred for this condition. The dentist may examine the condition of the teeth and may offer a possible solution such as dental crowns.
Now dental crowns may be something that parents may shy away from - because of its temporary nature as the teeth will eventually be replaced by permanent teeth. But temporary or not, the teeth need to be cared for any problems with the teeth must be fixed using dental crowns. Parents need to see this as a means of investment for their child’s skill development as primary teeth is important for:
- Better Mastication
- Proper alignment of teeth when permanent teeth erupts
- Reserves space for permanent teeth
- Helps with proper speech and enunciation
- Helps with image consciousness and self awareness
Having a healthy set of primary teeth in babies is equally important to having a perfect set of permanent teeth in adults. Therefore, there are many kinds of dental crowns and dental crown materials in the market that can be chosen based on the requirements of the patient and parent preferences. For parents who are cost conscious or patients who have need for multiple restorations, a cost effective dental crown is more ideal such as Stainless Steel Crowns.
Even though there are numerous options in the market, some of which are even esthetically pleasing such as Zirconia crowns, Resin Veneer crowns, Composite Crowns (FRC’s) etc, Stainless steel crowns are the holy grail and one of the most used restorations in the dental world. Most dentists find it convenient and most suitable to be used as temporary restorations in children due to their easy to use, low maintenance and economical features.
Stainless Steel Crows | Introduction
Stainless Steel crowns are made from a variety of combining elements majorly made from Chromium and nickel and may have a variable percentage of other elements such as Manganese and Carbon. Stainless steel crowns are made primarily from iron and carbon alloy and are mixed with the aforementioned elements to achieve certain aspects such as sturdity, durability and flexural strength. Stainless steel tooth crowns are one of the most commonly used temporary restorations in children but stainless steel crowns for adults are also in use. They are especially suited for those who do not have access to secondary care for dental problems after restorations for example in the case of older adults and the less privileged who live in rural areas without primary dental care facilities.
Stainless steel crown for pediatric dentistry was first used in 1957 and since then, there have been many forms of stainless steel crowns for children based on the requirements of various patients. Some examples of stainless steel crowns are Pre Trimmed crowns, PreContoured Crowns etc more commonly known as Prefabricated Stainless steel crowns. These crowns are designed to be used instantly for patients with small adjustments made by the dentist by simple contouring. Pediatric Stainless steel crowns are famously made by 3M and other manufacturers that are available in dentist offices and can be instantly used by dentists reducing the chair side time and restoration time overall.
Stainless steel crown tooth has many advantages when compared to other dental crown options. But the obvious disadvantages are its metallic appearance and non-suitability for children and adults who have metal allergies. Even without allergies, some kids and adults prefer not to have metallic crowns. But apart from that, they are the most preferred type of restorations by dentists. Below are some of the benefits of stainless steel crowns for babies:
Ease of Use
The biggest advantage of stainless steel crowns is the ease of use in children. Most dentists find stainless steel crowns extremely easy to use in children owing to its prefabricated nature, low chair side time and ease in restoring any number of teeth with stainless steel crowns. Prefabricated stainless steel crowns can be easily adjusted and contoured by the dentists with a little festooning. It also reduced the chair side time and the total restoration time, therefore becoming one of the best options for kids who are non-cooperative and adults or even kids who do not have access to primary dental care.
Stainless steel crowns that come off in time can still be brought into the dentists’ as an emergency and they can be cemented back into their position and therefore, the patient does not have to spend on another crown or waste any more time. Stainless steel crowns are usually dislocated but rarely do they ever give up such as being affected by fractures or complete break down.
One of the most important reasons from the patient view point is the economic factor. Stainless steel crowns are the most economical option. Not all parents may be capable of spending too much on dental crowns and some parents who have to spend for multiple restorations for this children may want to look at economical options and the stainless steel crown is one of the best and the cheapest option there is in the market
Durability and full coverage
Another important point to be considered when it comes to stainless steel restorations for baby teeth is that the baby teeth has a thin enamel with a large pulp that biomes exposed after pulp therapy. When a doctor has to remove the infected part, the remaining teeth are left exposed to further infection and plaque buildup. With stainless steel crowns, the crown covers almost the entire pulp and the total teeth after pulpectomy and therefore protects the primary teeth from further damage. Other crowns are incapable of covering the entire large portion such as in the case of primary molar teeth. Not only does Stainless steel tooth crown cover the entire tooth and protect the pulp in the best and most effective way, it is also the most long standing protection in terms of durability. Pediatric Stainless steel crowns can withstand any amount of occlusal loads and can survive a good 10 year period with relatively low maintenance.
Sensitivity and adjustment
When it comes to sensitivity, Stainless steel crowns score again as patients with sensitivity have very less issues with stainless steel crowns when compared to other types of crowns. Patients usually are able to adapt to stainless steel crown tooth much more easily and faster than other types of dental crowns. Because of the highly adjustable, malleable nature of the crown, it places less obstruction and friction over the opposing and adjacent teeth unlike ceramic based crowns which have a strong surface that may wear the teeth opposing and near it.
Preserves Primary Tooth v/s Metal Fillings
When it comes to primary teeth, filling a primary tooth has lower teeth perseverance than dental crowns. In case of dental crowns, the stainless steel crowns are more effective (6% better than metal fillings) in preserving the dental remains of the original teeth than metal fillings that usually come off in a short span of time and may even cause further damage to the child if the filling of tooth is not replaced soon enough leaving the tooth vulnerable and exposed.
It can be safely concluded that stainless steel crowns are one of the best options when it comes to babies teeth. They have more advantages than the slight or few disadvantages that they pose such as the jarring metal color which may be seen as an esthetic issue by parents and the presence of metal in its constituency making it impossible to use on patients who have metal allergies. Apart from these factors, stainless steel crowns are full of benefits and for the few years that it stays inside the baby's mouth, the esthetic issues may be ignored by patients who want to cut down on the cost associated with multiple dental crown requirements for kids.
When it comes to primary molar teeth, stainless steel crown is something of a holy grail in the dentistry world as most dentists rely on stainless steel crowns as the best and safest options for kids because of their strength, durability, easy availability, low requirement for adjustments or contouring and also the fact that they are well inside the mouth and therefore place less of an esthetic risk for children. Because of all these reasons, stainless steel crowns are preferred even today by dentists for primary teeth in children even though there are so many esthetic options in the market.