Sometimes, children may develop dental conditions that damage teeth severely enough to require restoration. In addition to improving the function and feeling of one’s teeth, some restorative procedures may also be used for cosmetic reasons, such as to close a gap between teeth or replace a missing tooth.
Crowns provide a durable, full-coverage option for posterior (back) and anterior (front) teeth that are severely decayed or damaged from early childhood caries (ECC). ECC – also known as “baby bottle caries” – is a bacterial infection causing severe decay in the teeth of young children. ECC is of epidemic proportions in the United States.
The crowns are easily placed on the affected teeth and are durable. They provide a strong protective cover for the remaining tooth structure and improve tooth function. Crowns may also be used to cover cracked or chipped teeth, thereby preventing the chip or crack from becoming larger, and to help keep bridgework from shifting.
In addition to crowns, fillings may be used to address cracked or chipped teeth. However, fillings are most commonly used to repair cavities. Cavities develop when a substance called plaque, which forms from saliva, bacteria, acid, and food pieces, builds up in the mouth. Plaque tends to stick to teeth, where it slowly erodes the surface until holes, or cavities, are formed.
Before inserting a filling, which may be made of gold, porcelain, silver amalgam, plastic, or glass, the decayed part of the tooth is removed. The filling is then added to fill the void created by the removal of the decayed area.