Do Children Need Dental Crowns?
Since children go through phases of developing teeth, from the primary to permanent teeth, it can get complicated to understand the dental work that they truly do need. One of the questions parents have is whether or not children need dental crowns.
Sometimes, a child may need dental crowns to protect primary (baby) teeth that are broken or have cavities. Primary teeth are essential to making sure that the adult (permanent) teeth grow in correctly. Here is what a crown is — and why it might be needed to protect your child’s smile.
Children and Dental Crowns
Tooth decay is the most common chronic disease that affects children. When a child develops a cavity, it’s important to act fast to prevent it from causing tooth loss. Even though it’s a primary tooth, it has a big job in holding the correct space for the adult tooth to take over one day.
The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry explains that larger cavities, which are ones often associated with broken-down teeth and infection into the nerve of a tooth, require the strength and protection of a dental crown. This is because larger cavities present a greater risk of:
- Tooth loss
- Serious infection
- High costs that come along with recurring cavities
Further, based on a number of different studies, dental crowns are durable. Stainless steel crowns are the restoration of choice where there is extensive decay in primary teeth. They can prolong the life of a tooth when re-treatment would require sedation or general anesthesia with its attendant risks and expense.
Dangers of Cavities in Children
If a child has a cavity that goes untreated, it can lead to pain and infection that can cause issues with how they eat, speak, play, and even learn. The CDC explains that children who have poor oral health often miss more school and receive lower grades than children with healthy smiles. Staggering statistics of children with cavities include:
- About 1 in 5 children from the ages of 5 to 11 have at least one untreated decayed tooth.
- 1 in 7 adolescents from ages 12 to 19 have at least one untreated decayed tooth.
While this is one of the most common childhood health issues, it is completely preventable.
Preventing Cavities in Children
As parents and caregivers, there is a lot you can do to help set your children up with healthy teeth and gums. The CDC provides tips on what you can do to protect their smiles:
Wipe their gums twice a day with a soft, clean cloth in the morning after the first feeding and right before bed. This will help remove bacteria and sugar that can cause cavities. When their first teeth begin to come in, begin brushing twice a day with a soft, small-bristle toothbrush and plain water (no toothpaste). You should take your child into the dentist once they receive their first tooth, or by the time they turn one, whichever comes first. At this appointment, your dentist will give you further tips and talk to you about the benefits of adding in small amounts of fluoride to protect their teeth. Always talk to your dentist before you begin using fluoride on children younger than two years old.
Once your child has most of their baby teeth, you should be brushing their teeth twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste. Further, in many communities across the United States, the tap water contains fluoride. Drinking tap water can be beneficial for their teeth. During this stage, talk with your dentist about the use of dental sealants to further protect their teeth.
You should help your child brush their teeth until they are about six years old. If they can do it alone, make sure you watch them for a while to make sure they are doing it properly. They should be brushing their teeth with a pea-sized amount of toothpaste and always spit it out (not swallow it).
Make an Appointment with Dr. Ania
If you are interested in learning about dental crowns, sealants, or about other dental health options for your children, make an appointment to come see Dr. Ania here in Boulder, Colorado. In our practice, we want to make sure that you and your entire family are set up with a healthy smile for life. Whether you’re a child or an adult, you can trust that you’ll feel comfortable under Dr. Ania’s care. Make an appointment with us today by calling (303)-872-9940.