It is necessary for a dentist to seat a crown, called a cap by those not in the dental field, on decaying baby teeth so the child can develop healthy permanent teeth. Many parents do not understand the importance of healthy baby teeth in developing healthy permanent teeth.
Most dentists will use stainless steel crowns for baby teeth. A stainless steel crown is less expensive than porcelain and more durable, making it the best choice.
Some people are born with naturally harder teeth than others and those with softer teeth experience more dental decay. The child's dentist will at first recommend the use of a sealant on the teeth to help prevent decay. However, sealants are not enough alone to prevent decay. The child's parents must also see that their child follows through with proper brushing and flossing techniques in order to prevent cavities.
Too vigorous brushing can lead to the sealant being damaged and sealants will wear down naturally over a period of time. Therefore, it is necessary for the parent to remain in the room with the child while the child is brushing and flossing. It is also necessary for the parent to see the child has routine dental visits.
Decaying baby teeth can cause cavities in the permanent teeth being formed below the gum line. If a decayed tooth is pulled it leaves a gap. This can, and usually does, lead to shifting of the other teeth in the mouth. Not only will the baby teeth become crooked, so will the forming permanent teeth. This is particularly true with back teeth.
There may be a long period of time between when the baby tooth is lost and the permanent tooth would erupt. The longer the period of time between the two, the more shifting can take place. Crooked teeth lead to the need for braces.
If sealants are not working for the child, the dentist has no option but to crown the teeth. The child will accept the silver colored teeth without problem as long as the parents do not voice their dismay in front of the child. In my years in the dental field I saw many children who seemed rather proud of their new silver teeth.
A parent is their child's first line of defense against cavities and loss of teeth. It is an act of love of a responsible parent to see that their child receives routine dental exams and follows proper dental hygiene techniques. The same holds true for following through with the dentist's recommendations for necessary dental treatment.