Fillings and Crowns – How Children’s Teeth Are Repaired
Children’s teeth may need repairing with dental fillings or crowns if they become damaged due to trauma or decay. These teeth are called primary or milk teeth and are in place until the ages of six to twelve when they are gradually replaced by adult teeth. Even though milk teeth are fairly temporary, they are still worth protecting which is why Dr. Marina Krepkh or any of our pediatric dentists here at the Kids Dentistry Center will always try to restore them so they can be used normally until they are ready to fall out naturally.
Why Primary Teeth Matter
These early teeth are important to your child’s oral health, both in the short and long term and it is also more aesthetically pleasing to have a smile which is intact. One of the key reasons for ensuring milk teeth last until they are ready to fall out on their own is to make sure the adult teeth have sufficient room so they can emerge without any issues with overcrowding. This helps reduce the need for orthodontics in the future.
Repairing Primary Teeth with Fillings
The most common way to repair a child’s milk tooth is by using a filling. This will fill any cavities created by tooth decay, restoring lost strength and structure to the tooth. These fillings can be made from a silver colored material called amalgam, or they can be fabricated from tooth colored composite resin. Amalgam fillings are very hard wearing and are good for repairing cavities in back teeth as they can withstand the quite substantial pressures created during chewing. The problem with amalgam fillings is that they are highly visible and are unlikely to be used to repair front teeth. Composite resin fillings do look much nicer as the resin will be specially chosen to blend in with the rest of your child’s natural teeth. These are slightly more expensive than silver fillings as the technique to place them is a lot more complicated because the area to be filled has to be absolutely dry, something that is quite difficult to achieve in a small mouth.
Using Crowns to Restore More Badly Damaged Teeth
If a child has a more extensively damaged tooth then we may need to cover it up completely with a crown. There are several different types of crowns that can be used and the process is very different from crowning an adult or permanent tooth. Often we will be able to crown the tooth immediately after treating the tooth decay or trauma, using a preformed crown. We choose the most suitable sized crown to cover up the tooth and adapt the tooth to fit the crown. It then remains in place until the tooth is shed naturally to make room for the adult tooth.
Different Crown Materials
These crowns can be made from stainless steel and may have a tooth colored resin facing, particularly if the crown is in the front of the mouth. We can also make resin crowns which are fabricated using a preformed mold that is placed over the tooth and filled up with the appropriately colored resin. These crowns are only used to cover up teeth that will be in place for a short while and the idea is to make sure your child can eat and talk normally while providing an effect that is reasonably pleasing.