We’ve all seen children with a “silver tooth” or a stainless steel crown, as they are referred to by dentists. But why does it have a crown? What is the reason for it all?
A tooth has several layers that make them up. First, the outside layer, or the enamel, is the hardest layer; it protects the teeth from chipping, denting, decaying, and breaking down. Once erosion (or decay) gets through the enamel it can accelerate the cavity process because the second layer, the dentin, is the softer, less dense part of the tooth. Once a cavity expands past the dentin it is then into the pulp tissue of the tooth. This is the vital part of the living tooth that supplies blood and nutrition to the teeth during normal growth and development. But when a cavity infiltrates into the pulp tissue, it causes inflammation (leading to a toothache) and often times local infection. This usually results in an abscessed tooth and will need to be pulled. But if a cavity is caught early enough, the primary, or baby tooth, can often be saved by a “Pulpotomy”, and “Stainless Steel Crown.”
The pulpotomy procedure is referred to by many dentists as a “baby root canal”. The reason is, much like a root canal, you remove the affected or inflamed portion of the pulp tissue, and treat any remaining bacteria in the pulp space with a medicinal solution. Once this is completed, the pulp space where the nerve tissue was once located is then filled-in with an intermediate restorative material (IRM) to keep the tooth from rejecting itself; preserving the natural space for the adult tooth to come in normally.
After such procedures, it is recommended to have this tooth monitored at your semi-annual checkups to make sure no internal resorption or signs of complications are present. The stainless steel crown will typically reabsorb and fall out naturally like a normal functioning baby tooth would. This procedure is very important for maintaining normal spacing and development of a child’s mouth.
If you have any questions about a baby root canal, stainless steel crown, or any other dental issues, contact us and schedule a consultation!