A crown is a cover placed over the entire tooth that is made to look like a tooth. It is used for teeth that are badly damaged or decayed. Many people call this a “cap.” In children, crowns are used several reasons.
It’s important to try to save primary teeth until they are ready to fall out on their own. Primary teeth are important for several reasons:
- Chewing food
- Allowing speech to develop normally
- Maintaining spaces for the permanent teeth
- Guiding the permanent teeth into position
A cap is one way to treat severe tooth decay. If decayed primary teeth are not treated, the infection can spread in the mouth. Pain and infection can lead to other health problems as well.
Molars are the teeth in the back of the mouth. They are used primarily for chewing. There are eight primary molars. Dentists will use a crown on children’s primary molars in several cases:
- When a primary or young permanent tooth has extensive decay, often on three or more surfaces
- When a filling would be very large, because large fillings can weaken the tooth and make it more likely to break
- When a primary tooth has not developed normally
- When a child with high levels of decay is also disabled or has poor oral hygiene habits. In this case, the crown will protect the tooth from further decay.