In the event that a simple restoration can not adequately replace tooth structure lost to decay or the root canal has been compromised and a medicament placed a “full” coverage dental crown may be indicated. Research indicates that dental crowns offer more durability than multi-surface restorations. Crowns placed when treatment occurs to the inner part of a tooth, pulpotomy, carries a guarded prognosis for primary teeth. It is important to note that roots of primary teeth are resorbed as the permanent tooth erupts. This limits and often eliminates the treatment of the root itself and thereby bacteria may be present even after treatment of the coronal portion of a tooth. A dental crown is cemented to the remaining tooth structure and exfoliates “falls out” when the replacement permanent erupts.
There are different materials used in the fabrication of crowns. For posterior primary teeth the most common most researched material is stainless steel (silver colored). Zirconia (white colored) engineered crowns are available in various sizes to fit both posterior and anterior primary teeth. Composite “strip” crowns are plastic shells in the shape of anterior teeth that are filled with composite material and hardened around the tooth with the use of a curing light. This type of crown, while highly esthetic, is moisture sensitive during placement and has reduced durability properties. Another option for anterior teeth is a stainless steel crown with porcelain fused to mimic a natural tooth. The risks, benefits, and prognosis of using crowns to treat teeth should be discussed in detail during treatment planning and prior to care.