I teach in a low-income area. I’ve noticed most of the children have a mouth full of silver dental crowns. Why don’t they get the white crowns the way most adults get? Is it a poverty thing or is there another reason?
A child’s tooth needs a dental crown when there is too much decay for a filling or when they’ve developed a tooth infection which requires a pediatric root canal treatment, known as a pulpotomy. Many parents ask why work on a tooth which is going to fall out anyway.
That is a great question. If the tooth was naturally about to fall out anyway, it’s okay to just pull it. However, there are times when a tooth needs work long before it is time to come out. Some teeth, such as molars, need to stay in until the child is around twelve years old.
In both the latter cases, when a tooth is removed prematurely, the open space allows the remaining teeth to shift into the free area. This leads to crowding, which means expensive orthodontics later in life.
Why Pediatric Dentists Use Silver Crowns
Silver crowns aren’t about income levels. You will see children from all economic sub-groups using them. While you might see very wealthy families paying for a porcelain crown, most don’t because it’s unnecessary. There are some advantages to silver crowns:
- Silver crowns are more affordable than their adult counterparts. This is very useful because they’re only needed for a limited lifespan. It makes sense not to spend a fortune on them.
- They are prefabricated. Not only does this aide the cost factor, but it reduces the number of visits the child has to make. Instead of needing a custom-fitted crown which often requires two appointments (unless your dentist does CEREC crowns), your dentist will just use one that fits closely and place it during the same appointment.
Unless the parent requests otherwise, a pediatric dentist will place the silver crowns. Not because of income level or race, but because it is the standard treatment. Any patient can request a different type of crown. Most just go with the standard because they’re temporary.
This blog is brought to you by Lafayette, LA Dentist Dr. Ashley Price.