The Importance of Pediatric Crowns

There are many misconceptions about primary or baby teeth. Parents are often unaware that baby teeth are critically important to their children’s oral health, their ability to enjoy a healthy diet, speak well, and especially to their self-esteem. When a young child’s teeth look like the “before” shots in this post, they may not be able to articulate that they are in pain or being bullied or outcast by other children for their appearance. Primary teeth can end up looking like this due to various conditions including advanced decay, discoloration resulting from decay or medications, and infections.

Cavities and kids

Tooth decay is one of the most common and preventable childhood diseases in the United States and is even more common than obesity and asthma. Untreated, cavities can cause pain and infections that can lead to difficulty eating, talking, playing, sleeping, and learning. Kids with severe cavities usually miss more school than those with good oral health. Another potentially serious consequence of untreated dental disease is being more vulnerable to infections in other areas of the body, such as in the ears and sinuses.

More than 50% of children 6 to 8 years of age have experienced at least one cavity in their baby teeth. One in five children have had a cavity by kindergarten age and more than 50% have had cavities by the time they reach 8 years old. Their risk is higher if their community water is not fluoridated, they are not brushing with fluoride toothpaste, have not been treated with fluoride varnish, and do not have a dental home. Parents and siblings with a propensity for cavities and poor diet can also influence risk.

Benefits of crowns versus fillings


Before and After Cheng Crowns
Before and After Cheng Crowns


If the extent of a child’s carious lesions is too great to support large amalgam or tooth-colored restorations, the best choice for them may be a zirconia crown. Large fillings are subject to fracture, which leads to cracked teeth, re-treatment, and sometimes the necessity for a root canal, often a costly inconvenience that may still result in pain and additional future failure.

Zirconia crowns, as well as stainless-steel crowns, ensure proper function and protect the teeth from further decay. Tooth-colored zirconia crowns can be placed on either front or back teeth and will improve appearance, especially in anterior teeth.

Other positive attributes of crowns versus fillings are that crowns cover most of the tooth, protecting it from further decay, which is important for children with a high caries risk. They also prolong the life of the primary tooth, which is necessary to ensure the proper space between the baby teeth is maintained for erupting adult teeth to fit into.

Undergoing multiple restorations in a baby tooth can cause a lot of stress and discomfort for young children. Tooth preparation for a crown may take a little longer than placing a filling, but most children can be fitted with a crown at the same appointment, minimizing trauma and time spent in the dental office.

Why zirconia?


Before and After Cheng Crowns
Before and After Cheng Crowns

Zirconia is available in different formulations. Monolithic zirconia, the type Cheng Crowns utilizes, is incredibly durable and reflects light like natural teeth do, so it will blend well with surrounding teeth. A monolithic zirconia crown provides strength to the underlying tooth that aids in proper chewing and developing speech and fits snugly to protect the tooth from future decay.

Finally, in case you were wondering, a zirconia crown will last until the baby tooth naturally falls out like other baby teeth—so don’t worry about disappointing the tooth fairy.



Casamassimo PS, Chin JR, Conte CE, et al. Treating Tooth Decay: How to Make the Best Restorative Choices for Children’s Health. Chicago, IL: Pediatric Oral Health Research and Policy Center, American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry; 2020.

Children’s Oral Health. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Available at Accessed January 16, 2023.

Do Baby Teeth With Crowns Fall Out On Their Own? Warr Pediatric Dental Associates. Available at,to%20keep%20it%20or%20not. Accessed January 16, 2023.

Children’s Oral Health. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Available at Accessed January 16, 2023.

The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry. Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ). Available at Accessed January