Stainless Steel Crowns

What is a stainless steel crown?

Stainless steel crown is a semi-permanent restoration used in milk teeth and young permanent teeth. It is a metallic restoration containing chromium, nickel, iron and other minor elements. A stainless steel crown is a biologically compatible and clinically acceptable restoration. It maintains the form and function of the restored tooth and helps to retain the tooth vitality. It is a far more superior restoration to extensive amalgam restorations with respect to lifespan and replacement. Furthermore a stainless steel crown is a low cost restoration and the procedure is relatively easy to carry out.

When to use a stainless steel crown?

  • Stainless steel crowns are used to restore the teeth affected by developmental disorders such as enamel dysplasia and dentinogenesis imperfecta. It is a choice restoration following pulp therapy in milk teeth. It may also be used in permanent dentition. The tooth, following pulp therapy, requires a crown as it may become more brittle and susceptible to fractures.
  • It is used to restore the teeth which have hypoplastic defects since these teeth are more susceptible to dental caries (tooth cavities) and may lose tooth structure by abrasions and attrition. A stainless steel crown can restore the tooth structure and avoid further damage to the tooth.
  • Stainless steel crowns can be used as a preventive restoration in patients who are highly susceptible to dental caries.
  • It is used to support space maintainers or prosthodontic appliances.
  • As a temporary restoration for fractured crowns.
  • In cases with severe bruxism (grinding of teeth) to restore the tooth which is damaged by severe attrition and prevent trauma to the pulp.
  • It is used to treat certain orthodontic problems such as single tooth cross bites.
  • For replacement of prematurely lost anterior (front) teeth.

Why are stainless steel crowns used?

Stainless steel crowns are more often used in milk teeth for two reasons :

  1. The deciduous teeth are relatively smaller in size therefore the dental caries (cavities) tends to destroy the tooth’s integrity at a much faster rate when compared to permanent teeth.
  2. In the deciduous teeth the layer of enamel and dentin are thinner and the pulp chamber is larger in size as compared to permanent teeth. The thinness of enamel and dentin makes the tooth unsuitable for extensive dental amalgam restorations.

How are stainless steel crowns inserted?

The use of stainless steel crown requires the evaluation of certain pre-treatment factors such as dental age of the patient, patient’s cooperativeness and condition of the tooth. The initial part of the treatment requires taking alginate impression of the teeth. The impression is used to replicate the tooth structure on a cast.

The next appointment includes placement of the stainless steel crown. All the decayed and damaged tooth structure is excavated using hand instruments or slow speed hand piece. Dental cements can be used in few cases to build up the damaged tooth material. An ideal preparation is made after which the crown is adapted to the tooth and inspected for any problems. After the crown is properly adjusted and adapted it is cemented over the tooth using dental cements.

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