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 Crowns

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.

Stainless Steel Crown Kit with various pre-made sizes

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.

Why should I consider saving the baby tooth when it will fall out anyways?

Baby teeth are there for a reason and should stay till the permanent tooth is ready to come out (erupt) and function. Early loss of a baby tooth leads to the loss of function, eventual loss of space, lack of space for the permanent adult tooth and shrinkage of the jaw that can lead to crowding and orthodontic problems.

Early loss of baby teeth is associated with an increased need for orthodontics later in life.