Dentists use stainless steel crowns in pediatric care and some cases of adult care. Like any dental treatment, stainless steel crowns have benefits and drawbacks for the dentist and patient to consider. Keep reading to learn more about this type of restoration.
What Is a Stainless Steel Crown?
Stainless steel crowns are metal caps designed to cover decayed and damaged teeth in children. Instead of filling a cavity, a dentist can instead place a crown over the entire tooth to prevent further decay. These crowns can also leave the space needed for adult teeth to form. When the baby tooth underneath the cap falls out, the crown comes with it. Dentists discovered their usefulness in the 1950s, and they are still in use today.
Why Is a Stainless Steel Crown Necessary?
Although stainless steel crowns have a long history in dental care, most adult patients prefer the more natural appearance of zirconium oxide or resin crowns. For that reason, stainless steel crowns are most often used in pediatric dental care. However, whether used for children or adults, these extremely durable restorations protect at-risk tooth surfaces.
Children, especially, are at high risk of exacerbating teeth weakened by tooth decay, cracks, breaks or chips. Stainless steel crowns can protect the remaining at-risk tooth surfaces for a healthier smile.
Stainless steel crowns are most often used:
- For teeth with large areas of decay, multiple lesions or extensive lesions.
- For teeth with multiple surfaces where other crown materials are likely to fail.
- To restore fractured, chipped or broken teeth.
- To provide support for a dental bridge.
- Following a pulpotomy or pulpectomy, in which the tooth’s pulp is either partially or fully removed.
If you’re in need of a stainless steel crown, contact us right away!
Benefits of Stainless Steel Crowns vs. Other Crown Types
Today, there are many crown materials available for use in addition to stainless steel. Dentists can offer crowns made from resin and zirconium oxide in addition to the classic stainless steel. While these new options are available, the original still holds up today. The benefits of stainless steel crowns include:
- Durability: Research shows that even a heavily damaged tooth keeps its shape when covered with a steel cap.
- Easy placement: Most types of crowns need to attach to the tooth without moisture or bleeding getting in the way. Stainless steel crowns don’t have much sensitivity to these factors. The dentist can easily trim and contour steel caps for the perfect fit.
- Affordability: Stainless steel crowns cost less to place than most other types and have many of the perks of more expensive options.
- Adaptability: In many cases, dentists don’t use stainless steel crowns for adults. However, they could help in situations where the patient has health issues that make other options difficult, such as pregnant and older adults.
Stainless steel crowns have some drawbacks that could make them less suitable than other options, including:
- Appearance: When you have a steel crown, other people can easily see it.
- Allergic reactions: Modern steel crowns have more allergy-friendly materials than they did in the 1950s. But, some people still have irritation in response to the nickel inside them.
Stainless Steel Crown Procedure
Although most dental crown procedures require two visits to the dentist, the placement of a stainless steel crown is a little different. Stainless steel crowns are not custom-made. Rather they are produced in a variety of pre-fitted sizes. So, fitting and securing a stainless steel crown can be done in one visit.
We perform crown placement procedures in an environment designed to optimize your comfort and safety. First, the dentist will examine and prepare the tooth. Our team may take a few X-rays to check the surrounding tissue and bone. An additional procedure such as a root canal treatment may be needed first if there is extensive decay.
The entire stainless steel crown procedure is minimally invasive and usually takes less than an hour. Before placing the crown, the dentist will clean and numb you or your child’s mouth. Next, the affected tooth will be gently cleaned and filed to remove any tooth damage or decay. Stainless steel crowns require less trimming than other crown material.
Once the tooth is shaped and prepared, the dentist chooses a pre-fitted crown that will fit you or your child’s tooth perfectly and will not affect your bite. The stainless steel crown is then bonded into place.
Following your stainless steel dental crown procedure, the Grande Prairie dental team will help you understand how to take care of a stainless steel dental crown. The cement holding the stainless steel crown requires approximately 12 hours to completely set. On the day of your procedure, stick to eating softer foods. You can resume your regular diet the next day.
In the future, you will still want to avoid chewing or eating extremely hard or sticky foods on the side of your mouth with the stainless steel crown as it could become dislodged or pulled off.
The gum tissue around the restored tooth may be slightly irritated or inflamed for a few days following the crown procedure. Clean the affected area gently with your toothbrush while this persists, gradually increasing to normal toothbrushing pressure. A saltwater rinse is also an important part of your stainless steel dental crown care as it can ease gum irritation.
If the stainless steel crown becomes loose or dislodged, save it and contact our office as soon as possible.
How to Take Care of Your Crowns
No matter your age, you need to take good care of your crowns like you would your teeth. The covered tooth may have protection from decay, but the rest of your teeth don’t. Brush twice a day and floss daily. To keep your crowns in place, avoid sticky foods that can move them.
Stainless Steel Crowns in Grande Prairie
Seeing a dentist on a regular basis can also keep your crowns in good condition. They can check for any damage and provide a thorough cleaning. We welcome patients from the Alberta area to make an appointment with Gateway Dentistry Group. Our team aims to provide high-quality dental care. Fill out our online appointment form or call us at 1-780-539-3555.