White Crown v/s Stainless Steel Crown - What's right for my child?

Dental crowns have been around for many, many years now and have been serving a multitude of dental purposes to cover up the need for a functional tooth wherever necessary. Dental crowns can sit on top of a defective tooth that has suffered any type of decay, infection, cracks, fracture or colour issues of the enamel. These are some of the conditions that dental crowns can be helpful in covering up. A dental crown sits on top of the original teeth just like a crown and hence the name. It helps in restoring the original functionality of the tooth by providing shape, sturdity and other functions such as speech, enunciation and mastication.

When it comes to Dental crowns for children, the game is slightly different. Dental crowns for children come in a limited number of dental materials. This is mostly because of the fact that the dental restorations for kids cannot be too expensive which rules out most of the expensive materials. Secondly, the restorations would be in place for a few years until the permanent teeth kicks in. This means that the restorations need to be simple yet effective and easy to use for the child for the time it is there. This is another reason why materials such as stainless steel crowns are used widely for children.

Some children who have lost their anterior teeth much earlier in life either due to decay or due to a fall or fracture may want to consider more esthetic options such white crowns. Although this is a viable option, practically speaking, most paediatric dentists prefer stainless steel crown for pediatric dentistry. There are several factors that support white crowns and several others that support stainless steel tooth crowns. Both of these types of restorations are discussed here in detail.

Need for Dental Restorations in Children

It is often assumed that children are in no need for dental care as their baby teeth or milk teeth fall off in a few years and new permanent teeth replace them soon enough. But this is a misinformation as healthy teeth is a requirement and a requisite for normal childhood and early development process that involves many physical and mental conditions. Below are some of the most important functions of teeth which make it an important part of childhood

  • Teeth aid in proper chewing and mastication
  • Teeth is necessary for proper speech and enunciation
  • Teeth is required for the proper growth of permanent teeth
  • Missing tooth can cause alignment issues for new teeth
  • Missing tooth can impair aesthetics
  • It can further cause social awkwardness and self confidence issues

These are some of the known facts that have been backed by research. This is why all paediatric dentists recommend that children get proper dental treatment for their issues and make use of paediatric crowns so that it aids in the normal development of permanent teeth and other functions.

Children are susceptible to many kinds of dental issues such as:

  • Early childhood carries
  • Falls causing tooth lose
  • Falls causing fractures
  • Small cracks on the teeth

These are some of the known issues in children. Although other issues such as misshapen teeth or discoloured teeth may exist among kids, they are not considered major issues as the teeth would naturally be replaced with a healthy permanent tooth soon enough. Carries are the most important kind of dental issue in kids as childrens’ teeth have soft enamel that is vulnerable to plaque and germs and the pulp is exposed. This makes the teeth prone to decay faster in kids than adults.

Routine pulpectomy or pulpotomy can help in getting rid of the decayed portion of the original tooth. Post this, a dentist may recommend a crown placement as this helps in preventing further damage to the original primary teeth and replacing the functionality of the original tooth by restoring with a crown. The most popular choice is usually a stainless steel crown tooth.

Pediatric Stainless Steel Crowns for Children

Stainless steel is the most preferred material for dental crowns in children. Stainless steel crowns for adults are rarely used these days because of the advent in dental technology that has given us many options for crowns in adults. Metal crowns are seldom used these days. But stainless steel crowns for adults are still used in patients who do not have the capacity for regular dental hygiene or regular dental checkups. Similarly, children are great candidates for stainless steel crowns because of many factors:


    The most important factor is cost - pediatric stainless steel crowns cost much less than any other crown in the market. They can easily be prepared and are available as prefabricated stainless steel crowns as well. This makes them affordable and easily available. Since these crowns are easily outgrown by kids in a few years, parents see it fit not to spend too much on dental crowns for kids. Secondly, most kids would also have more than one restorations or lose their caps often. For all such factors, stainless steel crowns are the most economical dental crowns to work with.


      As mentioned earlier,prefabricated stainless steel crowns are the most popular dental crowns in the market and are available in many sizes and shapes. With just a little bit of chairside adjustments, the dentist can simply pop the crown on the restored teeth and it's done.

      Reduced Chair Time

        Due to the reduced manufacturing time and contoured trims, there are very few adjustments that are required on the crown and therefore, once the tooth is restored and healed, the crown placement can be done within a day for stainless steel crown for pediatric dentistry

        Strength and Durability

          Although the requirement for crowns in kids can be less in terms of years, it is still important that the crown be sturdy and durable.Stainless steel crown tooth ensures that tooth is protected, can tolerate good occlusal load and bite force and is very durable so that the child does not need to get multiple restorations done.

          White Crowns v/s Stainless Steel Tooth Crown

          White crowns are referred to as porcelain crowns or ceramic crowns. They offer excellent esthetics for children and are viable in many conditions such as:


            The foremost issue today with metal based crowns is the lack of aesthetics. Ceramic crowns such as Zirconium offer good esthetics for kids who have issues with metal appearance on their teeth. It may cause awkwardness or lack of self confidence in some children and for such patients, white crowns are recommended by dentists

            Anterior restorations

              Kids who have lost or have restorations on their front teeth do not require extreme strength or durability. Anterior teeth have less bite force and therefore, stainless steel crowns can be swapped for white crowns if the parents and kid seem to be interested in esthetic options

              Metal Allergies

                Stainless steel crowns may not be suitable for those who have metal allergies. Therefore, most dentists will recommend a metal free dental material such as white crowns made from ceramic such as zirconia crowns for kids.


                  If the kid is in need of a crown in his or her early ages, which means that the crown would be used by the kid for a longer duration, in such scenarios investing in a white crown would make sense. Parents usually prefer cheaper options because of the low duration for which the crown is required for the child and its replacement by natural teeth but if the patient has lost the tooth much earlier in life, the crown would serve for a good ten years or above in which case, investing in a higher grade material such as Zirconia crown for kids might be a good option.

                  White crowns are basically crowns that are colour matched to the natural shade of the teeth. This means that the crown is indecipherable at first glance until upon close examination. Some children who are interested in keeping their esthetics intact would prefer white crowns especially if they are anterior teeth. For kids who are allergic to metals such as nickel also end up with no option but white crowns. Although they are more expensive than stainless steel crowns, they still are one of the best alternatives to baby teeth crowns. White crowns such as Zirconium can be made with high tech milling machines in dental labs with the exact measurement with CAD/CAM applications and are extremely strong and durable. They are also one of the widely used options these days in paediatric dentistry because of their viability and improvement over time.

                  In conclusion, both stainless steel crowns and white crowns are good options for children and parents may choose one over the other based on the various requirements of the patient.