What's a Dental Strip Crown for Children?

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Dental crowns aren't just for permanent adult teeth. Children sometimes need a crown too, and this when a primary (baby) tooth has become damaged, whether the tooth has decayed, or has broken after an accident. Stainless steel crowns are standard for a child's rear molars, due to the ease of installation, and the fact that the crown is only temporary since the primary tooth will be shed and replaced with a permanent tooth. The location of a steel crown means it won't create any aesthetic issues in your child's smile. But what about when your child needs a dental crown on a prominent tooth?

An Obvious Problem

A dentist can fit a stainless steel dental crown to any tooth, but if such a crown was to be fitted to an incisor or canine tooth, then the crown will undeniably be obvious—too obvious. Where possible, dental restoration work should be invisible, designed to mimic the natural color and structure of a tooth. Although a stainless steel crown will have the same shape as the tooth it's restoring, it won't have the same color. However, stainless steel crowns are not the only option for primary teeth.

Porcelain Crowns

When a primary incisor or canine tooth requires a crown, your dentist may suggest a strip crown. A strip crown lacks the permanence of an adult dental crown, which is typically made of porcelain. Given the cost of a porcelain crown, they're not recommended for primary teeth that will soon be lost. A strip crown is a happy medium, looking just like a natural tooth without the price of the type of crown usually reserved for permanent teeth.

Strip Crowns

A strip crown involves the fabrication of a clear plastic shell that is fitted over the tooth while being slightly larger than the underlying tooth. The restoration material (a tooth-colored composite resin) is then injected beneath the shell. The composite resin is a viscous and adhesive substance which bonds to the contours of the underlying tooth, using the plastic shell as a marker for its outer shape. 

A Temporary Solution for a Temporary Tooth

Once the composite resin has dried and hardened, the clear plastic shell is removed, and the strip crown is complete. It's an aesthetically pleasing and cost-effective temporary dental crown, and while the resin isn't as durable as a porcelain crown, it doesn't need to be. 

The lifespan of a composite resin strip crown is perfectly sufficient for a primary tooth that will soon be lost, making it an ideal solution when a child needs a crown on a prominent tooth.