There are a number of reasons on why the back teeth on babies and young children decay. Usually, the decay is related to drinking too much sweetened juices and eating too much candy combined with irregular brushing and cleaning. The sugar in the juices and candy stays on the teeth and will eat through the enamel to cause cavities. Left unattended, the damage can become so severe that the young child can have difficulty biting down and eating with their back teeth (called primary molars). One of the most effective treatments to restore the ability of the child to bite down and eat is to place stainless steel crowns on top of the back teeth. Here is how a dentist can place stainless steel crowns on the back teeth of young children with decayed and/or broken teeth.
The dental work involved in placing stainless steel crowns can be extensive and time consuming. Some dentists may place your child under a general anesthesia which puts the child to sleep while the dentist is working on preparing the teeth and placing the crowns.
The dentist will clean out the cavity before a tooth is enclosed with a stainless steel crown. This will help to ensure that the tooth doesn't still continue to decay after the crown has been placed on top of it.
Shaping the Teeth
A diamond tip burr (a burr is a type of drill bit) is used to reduce the size of the surface of the tooth to make room for the stainless steel crown to fit over the top of it. The dentist will start in the valley of the molar and trim it down a little. Then the dentist will trim down the sides of the tooth.
The dentist will have an array of different pediatric sized crowns on the tray next to them. The dentist will pick and choose which crown to use for a specific tooth. In many cases, the dentist may have to adjust the shape of the crown to make sure it fits correctly over the tooth. The important thing is that the natural bite motion is restored and the crown fits snugly over the top of the tooth.
Cementing the Crown
The crown will be cemented onto the top of the tooth once the dentist is satisfied that the child will be able to bite down normally and the fit is correct. The cement permanently bonds the crown to the top of the tooth.
The dentist will repeat this procedure on any other back teeth that needs a crown so the child can chew and eat properly without pain or discomfort. The crown is removed from the mouth when the baby teeth fall out and are replaced with their permanent adult teeth.