My child needs metal caps, what are they?

A child opens their mouth and you see metal. Surely that’s not real or safe? You look again and yep, you weren’t imagining it, there is definitely metal in there. So what is this new trend we’re seeing and why metal? Stainless Steel Crowns (SSC’s) are becoming more widespread – read on to find out more about these metal caps. If you think your child needs dental work, then look no further than Riverstone Family Dental. We treat children of all ages, give us a call on 8678 3538 for gentle dental care.

What are Stainless Steel Crowns?

Stainless Steel Crowns (SSC’s) are pre-made metal caps that are cemented over the top of your child’s teeth. They are useful if your child’s tooth is very badly broken down, if they suffer from Molar Incisor Hypomineralisation (MIH) or if their teeth require nerve treatment. Aside from MIH, the main reason your child may require SSC’s is due to tooth decay. This is why prevention is so important. Prevention can be achieved through brushing your teeth twice a day, flossing once a day and seeing your dentist every 6 months for a checkup and clean.

Why Stainless Steel Crowns?

The number one reason we dentists choose SSC’s is because of their success rates. Case selection is very important which is why choosing a dentist experienced in placing these restorations is crucial. SSC’s work because they do not suffer from the same problems that fillings have. Fillings can fall out or break a lot more readily depending on the conditions in the mouth. For example, if your child does not brush their teeth or grinds their teeth at night, a filling is more likely to break or fall out. Another challenge dentists face is in placing the fillings. Moisture control is very hard in a mouth full of saliva! So, if your child struggles to hold their mouth open or follow instructions, then moisture contamination can result. Why is this a problem? This increases the risk of that filling breaking or falling out. This is why it is important to assess whether your child can have dental work in the chair. If not, they may be better off having treatment under sedation.

Downsides to Stainless Steel Crowns?

SSC’s are more expensive compared to fillings. Expect to pay on average double the cost of a filling. However, SSC’s are extremely durable and the rate of replacement of these is low (3% compared with 15% for fillings). This makes them more affordable in the long-term. Another point to consider is your child may or may not require local anaesthetic prior to the preparation of the tooth. Tooth preparation means drilling/cutting the tooth down so you can place the SSC over the top of it. In recent years, dentists have a new way of placing SSC’s known as the Hall Technique. It is case selective and can only be used for certain teeth. It does not require tooth preparation and is a very simple, straightforward way of placing a SSC on your child’s teeth with minimal chair time.

I hope this blog has been helpful in explaining SSC’s aka metal caps. If you require any further information, please contact my team at Riverstone Family Dental on 8678 3538.

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