Choosing the Right Crown for Your Child’s Tooth: White Zirconia vs. Stainless Steel

Posted on March 11, 2024 | First Time

Choosing the Right Crown for Your Child’s Tooth: White Zirconia vs. Stainless Steel

Knowing what type of crown to select for the restoration of teeth with large cavities is one of those things in life you hope you’ll never have to think about. If you are faced with the decision of white crowns vs. silver crowns, Blossom will help you through the process, starting by providing background info. 

In terms of appearance, white crowns resemble natural teeth, while silver crowns look metallic—but what are the real differences between these two options? And how do you know which one is best for your child? Let’s find out. 

Stainless Steel (Silver) Crowns

Stainless steel crowns, commonly referred to as ‘silver crowns’, are a staple in pediatric dentistry. They have been used for decades, and their success has been well documented over and over. 

Pros of Stainless Steel Crowns:

  • Durabile: Silver crowns are highly resistant to wear and tear, making them ideal for children who may be prone to accidents or rough play.
  • Affordable: The cost of stainless steel crowns is lower than zirconia crowns, making them a more budget-friendly option.
  • Easy to Place: Due to their malleable nature, stainless steel crowns can be placed more quickly and with less drilling, reducing the time spent in the dental chair.
  • Gentle on opposing teeth and gum tissue: Silver crowns are made of medical grade stainless steel and are gentle to opposing teeth. 

Cons of Stainless Steel Crowns:

  • Aesthetics: While stainless steel crowns are champions in functionality, their metallic appearance may not win any beauty contests, leaving some parents longing for a more natural-looking option.
  • Metal Allergies: Some patients may have a sensitivity to components of the metal, in which case silver crowns may not even be an option.

Zirconia (White) Crowns

Zirconia crowns, A.K.A. ‘white crowns’, are crafted from a ceramic material and offer a more natural look than their metallic counterparts. However, placing zirconia crowns is a more complex procedure—the material is extremely sturdy, but less malleable. It takes longer, there’s more drilling, and it’s more expensive. 

Pros of Zirconia Crowns:

  • Aesthetic Appeal: Zirconia crowns are the chameleons of dentistry, seamlessly blending into your child’s smile both visually, and functionally.
  • Biocompatibility: Zirconia is hypoallergenic and compatible with the body’s tissues, reducing the risk of allergic reactions or other adverse effects.
  • Longevity: These crowns stand the test of time—and chewing. They are often used as substitutions for adult teeth because of how strong they are. 

Cons of Zirconia Crowns:

  • Cost: Zirconia crowns are a significant investment, especially when talking about baby teeth that might be gone in a few years (or less). 
  • Longer Procedure: Both silver and white crowns have a lot of prefabricated sizes, but the zirconia crowns are not flexible at all, meaning that it takes longer to make it fit the tooth, when compared with a stainless steel crown.
  • More drilling: White crowns require significantly more drilling on the tooth than stainless steel, which can also result in more gum tenderness afterwards. 

A Crown Is a Crown Is a Crown

The important part is that a damaged or decayed tooth is repaired as soon as possible. Whether that’s done with a white or silver crown is a secondary consideration. Since we handle primarily pediatric patients at Blossom, we usually recommend the stainless steel crowns. They’re quicker, easier to implant, more affordable, and often, kids think they’re cool!

Blossom Says “It Happens”

In a perfect world, we couldn’t get cavities that need crowns, but sometimes, it just happens. 

Whether your child’s tooth gets damaged from falling off a swing set, or you didn’t realize the consequences of eating raisins daily for snacks, sometimes patients need crowns. 

Blossom wants your (or your child’s) teeth looking great and working properly. Our expert staff will help make sure the crown implants go off without a hitch, whether silver or white. 

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