Restoring Children’s Primary Teeth – Fillings & Crowns

Fillings and crowns are the most common types of restorations in children. Restoration refers to returning the tooth to its original shape and function.

Stainless steel crowns are silver caps that cover the whole tooth. Porcelain crowns are tooth colored. Dental crowns are completed in one visit. Our philosophy is to place stainless steel or porcelain "tooth colored" crowns on first baby molars that have decay in between the teeth. Stainless steel or porcelain crowns are very sound restorations. They will last until the tooth falls out around the age of 12. Often times if a 2-surface filling is used to restore a first baby molar, it may decay again or the dental filling may break due to the shape of the tooth. If that occurs, the tooth may need a stainless steel crown or be extracted with space maintenance if the tooth abscesses. That would mean the child would have to go through an extra procedure and the parent would pay for treatment of the same tooth twice! Our goal is to restore the health of the tooth for longevity.

Choosing a dental filling or dental crown depends on the tooth and how much of the tooth is still healthy.

Pros of Crowns Cons of Crowns
(Stainless Steel & Tooth-colored)
• Longevity • The look of stainless steel. Also, ceramic white crowns potentially chip and are silver underneath.
• Long-term economics • More tooth structure removed leading to possible nerve treatment (tooth-colored mainly)
• Complete in single visit • Limited post-op research (tooth-colored)
• Tooth-colored option • Excellent patient cooperation needed (tooth-colored ONLY)
• 1st baby molars are gold standard  
Pros of Fillings Cons of Fillings
• Less expensive in short term • Inadequate for teeth with large or multiple fillings; decay so close to the nerve that removal of decay would expose nerve; or baby tooth in which nerve has been removed.
• Tooth-colored option • 60% failure in two years for 1st baby molars.
  • Tend to leak and stain, resulting in a crown anyway or possible extraction & spacer.