What is a filling + when does my child need one?
- A filling is used when a tooth has decay (also called a cavity). The dentist will remove the decayed part of the tooth with special instruments and replace it with a tooth-colored filling material. Tooth colored fillings work well in smaller cavities, for older children, and when the child does not have a high risk of future cavities.
- If your kiddo has a large cavity (or the cavity covers multiple surfaces of the tooth), there is a higher risk of future decay, or is very young, your dentist may discuss with you using a crown instead of a filling.
What is a crown + when does my child need one?
- A crown is used when a tooth has a large cavity that covers multiple surfaces, (think of it being on more sides of the tooth) has fractured, or has enamel that has not formed well. White porcelain crowns are placed on the front teeth at FoCo Kids Dentistry, and we use stainless steel or metal crowns on the back teeth. The benefit of a crown is that the tooth is completely covered, which makes it very unlikely that the tooth can have future decay. This is why pediatric dentists will often recommend crowns when they feel there is a high risk of more decay in the future.
According to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry:
“There is evidence from retrospective studies showing greater longevity of preformed metal crown restorations compared to amalgam or resin-based restorations for the treatment of caries lesions in primary teeth. Therefore, use of stainless-steel crowns is supported on high-risk children with large or multi-surface cavitated or non-cavitated lesions on primary molars, especially when children require advanced behavioral guidance techniques including general anesthesia for the provision of restorative dental care.”