When a cavity has reached or is very close to the nerve (pulp) of a baby tooth, it is recommended to remove the affected and/or infected pulp in the immediate vicinity of the decay due to contamination by the bacteria (pulpotomy) and restore the tooth with a pre-fabricated crown.
There are two types of crowns – ones that are made of stainless steel and others that are either plastic or made of ceramics. Pediatric dentists recommend stainless steel crowns due to the longevity of this material and the extremely high success rate. The white alternatives are unfortunately too brittle, less conservative, do not not last as long and are not cost effective.
Stainless Steel Crowns are pre-fabricated and sterilized in various sizes and are fitted at the appointment to ensure an acceptable fit to restore the form, function and health of the baby tooth.
When the baby (primary) tooth is ready to become loose and give way to the adult (permanent) tooth, the stainless steel crown along with the tooth will fall out the same as a tooth without a crown.
The alternative to doing a pulpotomy (partial root canal) and a stainless steel crown is to either place white fillings that don’t last that long or to extract the tooth and consider a space maintainer.