I have a question about pediatric dentistry. Although I’m not a parent, I am an elementary school teacher and just finished up my first year at a new school. The other teachers and I all got together for a last hurrah after the last day of class and somehow we got on the topic of the children’s teeth and why every pediatric dentist seems to prefer silver when doing crowns for kids. One suggested that it might be different in other parts of the state or country because a lot of our kids come from low-income homes. However, I’ve also seen kids who come from higher-income households with mouths full of silver, and I think there must be some other logical reason for it. Still, it’s odd because adults always get the white ones, right?
Dear Ms. Smith,
This is a great question. Before we get into the logic of silver fillings it’s important to note that kids from any type of household can get tooth decay. Tooth decay is linked to oral hygiene, preventative care, diet, and habits the child has or had, such as taking a cup or bottle of juice or soda to bed. Moreover, some children are genetically predisposed to tooth decay.
There are also factors such as socioeconomical status and race which are linked with lower rates of preventative care, like cleanings and sealants. These children are also less likely to have tooth decay treated, which means by the time they see a pediatric dentist, the only option is a crown (possibly with a specialized root canal called a pulpotomy) or an extraction. So, then, it’s no surprise that if many of the students in your school come from low-income families and/or are minorities, they would likely have more dental issues.
There are organizations that help low-income families, and many states offer free dental coverage to children. Many parents are quite loving and dedicated, but they could be unaware of the options for getting dental care.
Why Do Pediatric Dentists Use Silver Crowns?
- The cost. Baby teeth need to remain in place until the adult teeth erupt, so restoring them is preferred over extracting them. Stainless-steel crowns are less expensive than the tooth-colored crowns adults usually get. They come in premade shapes, so they can be placed inexpensively.
- It reduces the number of visits. Many small children need anesthesia for dental work or are prone to wiggling, so limiting the number of visits is important. Because the crowns are premade, they can be placed in one visit.
- Stainless steel is effective. When too much tooth structure is lost, a filling won’t preserve the tooth. It needs full coverage, which the stainless-steel crown provides.
- It can protect the tooth longer. A crown can help prevent the tooth from further decay and repairs. It also helps protect it from sensitivity.
- The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends stainless-steel crowns. For all these reasons, and more, the AAP recommends stainless steel. Doctors who use these crowns are following the recommendation.
This blog is sponsored by Naperville Dental Specialists.