Is crowning baby teeth necessary?

You’ve received the news from your pediatric dentist that your child needs dental crowns on their baby teeth. Now what? You may find yourself thinking, “Why is crowning baby teeth even a thing? Baby teeth are going to fall out eventually, so is it even necessary to go to all this work to save them?”

Those questions are good questions to be asking. It’s important to be fully aware of why certain dental procedures are used, and even more so when it comes to your child’s oral health. Here are 3 reasons why saving baby teeth is important, and in what instances a crown may be used.

Reason 1: Baby teeth are the foundation for permanent teeth.

Crowning not only enables your child to restore and keep their baby teeth, but it also ensures that their permanent teeth come in healthy and strong. Sometimes dental crowns are needed to restore teeth back to functionality, and restoring baby teeth is just as important as restoring permanent teeth. Studies show that if a child has strong, healthy baby teeth, they are less likely to experience problems with their permanent teeth.

How exactly does this work? First of all, the roots of baby teeth act as placeholders for permanent teeth, leaving a spot for the adult teeth to erupt. When a primary tooth is lost too early, the adult teeth are more likely to come in at the wrong spots or the wrong angles. This can cause your kid to experience more orthodontic issues than they otherwise might have.

Baby teeth also play a very important role in myofacial development. Your child’s primary teeth stimulate the alveolar (jaw) bone, assuring proper development. When those teeth are lost too soon, it affects the growth pattern of the jaw and mouth structures. This can cause orthodontic problems, sleep apnea, and other health problems.

Reason 2: Crowns may be used on severely decayed baby teeth.

In the same way keeping strong, healthy baby teeth in place until they’re ready to come out prevents orthodontic complications, treating decay in baby teeth helps lower the amount of decay that might occur with their permanent teeth.

Baby teeth are a little different to adult teeth—they’re softer and the enamel is thinner. Cavities essentially work the same way in baby teeth as they do in adult teeth; that is, bits of food and sugar turn into acids that erode the enamel, and the decay spreads. However, because of the difference in the enamel in baby teeth, this decay spreads faster. If a decayed baby tooth doesn’t get prompt treatment, the decay can spread not only to the neighboring teeth, but also to the permanent teeth underneath them, because permanent teeth develop very closely to the roots of baby teeth.

The bottom line is that treating cavities is just as important in baby teeth as it is for adult teeth. Sometimes, when a baby tooth has a very large cavity, a filling cannot restore the tooth, and a crown is necessary.

Reason 3: Crowns may be used for chipped or broken teeth.

Children are more prone to falling, getting hurt, and chipping or breaking a tooth than adults are. In fact, half of all children will experience some kind of injury to a tooth, and most dental injuries and accidents happen in children and teenagers.

Some common causes of dental trauma include biting down on hard foods, biting into items that weren’t meant to be bitten into (such as ice or hard candy), and sports. Chips are the most common kind of tooth trauma, and crowns may be used to treat a medium-sized chip. Crowns are always necessary for major tooth damage. If the injury appears mild, it’s still important to visit your dentist and have it checked out.

Crowns restore baby teeth back to their primary function and last until baby teeth fall out. Your child’s baby teeth help them eat and talk correctly during crucial development years, and it’s important to put the same amount of care into them as permanent teeth.

Dr. Jeffrey C. Jaynes can help your child maintain great oral health.

Having a child who needs a dental crown can be stressful as you worry how it will affect the placement of their future teeth and their general oral health—but don’t worry. Dr. Jeffrey C. Jaynes has years of experience working with kids and ensuring their beautiful smiles stay healthy. If you want to learn more and you’ve been searching for a dental practice in Plano, Texas, book an appointment with us today.