Stainless Steel Crowns (SCCs): Restorations for Primary Teeth

NewMouth is reader supported. We may earn a commission if you purchase something using one of our links.
CAN MOUTHWASH KILL COVID-19? FIND OUT WHAT THE RESEARCH SAYS

Jump to topic

What is a Stainless Steel Crown (SSC)?

Stainless steel crowns (SSCs) are preformed metal crowns that restore severely decayed, damaged, chipped, or fractured baby teeth.

In some cases, they are also used to temporarily restore a child’s permanent tooth until a permanent porcelain or metal crown is created.

stainless steel crown

SSCs may also be placed after a pulpotomy, pulpectomy, or in teeth with large cavities where amalgam restorations are likely to fail.

Since the 1950s, SSCs have been a valuable restorative material and treatment of choice by pediatric dentists because they are durable, strong, and affordable.

BOOK A TOP DENTIST NEAR YOU ON ZOCDOC

1. Find nearby in-network dentists

2. Browse reviews by real patients

3. Book your dentist appointment online

FIND A DENTIST

What Might Require Placement of a Stainless Steel Crown?

There are two primary indicators for stainless steel crown placement in pediatric dentistry:

  • Primary molars that have severe crown destruction due to tooth decay or damage, such as fractures or chips, caused by an accident.
  • Permanent first molars that have severe developmental defects, such as dental erosion or worn down teeth caused by excessive bruxism (teeth grinding).

What Causes Cavities?

Plaque buildup is the primary cause of cavities. Plaque attacks tooth enamel, which causes holes and dark brown spots on teeth. If plaque is not removed completely, calculus (hardened plaque) forms and can only be removed by a pediatric dentist.

Primary teeth are more susceptible to cavities and tooth decay because they have thinner enamel. Common causes of cavities in primary and permanent teeth include:

Dietary Habits

Children and adolescents who consume foods and drinks high in sugar, such as candy and juices, are more susceptible to tooth decay. Starches, such as chips, pasta, and bread can also lead to cavity development because they are high in carbohydrates, which turns into sugar.

Tobacco

Adolescents and teens who begin smoking or chewing tobacco early are more prone to tooth decay, tooth discoloration, and gingivitis (gum disease). Eating sugary foods and smoking regularly can lead to enamel breakdown and cavity formation.

Poor Oral Health

Brushing twice a day with fluoride toothpaste, flossing before bed, and rinsing with mouthwash help prevent cavities.

Every six months, children and adolescents should also visit a dentist for professional teeth cleanings, fluoride treatments, and dental exams. During the exams, pediatric dentists look for signs of tooth decay and determine the best treatment option, including SSCs or cavity fillings.

Medications and Dry Mouth

Dry mouth occurs when the salivary glands in the mouth do not make enough saliva and can be caused by some medications. Over time, dry mouth often results in cavity formation. Adults and seniors are more prone to dry mouth because they take medications more often than children.

Medications that can cause dry mouth and tooth decay in children include:

  • Antihistamines
  • Pain Medications
  • Parkinson’s Disease Medications
  • Antacids
  • Decongestants

Types of Stainless Steel Crowns

Stainless steel crowns, also referred to as caps, are pre-made and sized to fit over a child’s tooth. Dentists seal them in place with dental cement. There are two types of SSCs available:

Precontoured Crowns — this type of crown is the most popular because it closely resembles the shape and look of natural teeth. They are pre-contoured before placement and typically do not require much trimming.

Pre-trimmed Crowns — pre-trimmed means it is already trimmed according to a specific size. They do not require trimming to fit the tooth. These crowns have straight, non-contoured sides.

Advantages of stainless steel crowns for children:

  • An effective way to save baby teeth and stop the decaying process
  • Durable, strong, and inexpensive
  • Provide full-coverage protection long-term
  • They do not need retreatment

How Much Are Stainless Steel Crowns?

Stainless steel crowns are cost-effective, long-lasting, and have a high success rate. The cost of a stainless steel crown depends on the dentist’s location and how many are needed.

Since dental restorations are medically necessary, part or most of the procedures are covered with a good insurance policy. The prices below reflect procedure costs without insurance:

  • Precontoured Stainless Steel Crown: $300-$500 (per tooth)
  • Pretrimmed Stainless Steel Crown: $300-$500 (per tooth)

Stainless Steel Crowns FAQs

Are stainless steel crowns permanent?

If a stainless steel crown is placed temporarily, it will be easy to remove. Permanent crowns are permanently cemented to teeth and are very difficult to remove.

Are stainless steel crowns safe for kids?

Stainless steel crowns are typically not recommended because they can contain up to 12% nickel. Alternative options are available that do not damage your teeth as much.

Are stainless steel crowns used on adults?

Stainless steel crowns (SSCs) are rarely used on adults. While SSCs are strong, they are not the most natural-looking and durable type of dental crown available. If an adult does get a stainless steel crown, it will only be used temporarily while the permanent crown is being fabricated.

How long do stainless steel crowns last?

Stainless steel crowns can last for four years or more.

FIND AND COMPARE TOP LOCAL DENTISTS

Choose your insurance to find nearby in-network doctors who accept your plan. Read verified reviews & book appointments online.

Resources

“Dental Caries (Tooth Decay) in Children Age 2 to 11.” National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, www.nidcr.nih.gov/research/data-statistics/dental-caries/children.

Koch Göran, et al. Pediatric Dentistry: a Clinical Approach. John Wiley & Sons Inc., 2017.

Nowak, Arthur J. Pediatric Dentistry: Infancy through Adolescence. Elsevier, 2019.

calendar icon
Updated on: October 20, 2020
Author
Alyssa Hill
About
calendar icon
Medically Reviewed
Photo of Lara Coseo
Lara Coseo
About
menu