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Carousel Pediatric Dentistry & Orthodontics

What Are Hall Crowns and How Do They Work?

January 17, 2022
Posted By: Carousel Pediatric Dentistry & Orthodontics

A cavity! Now what?!!

So, your young child has a cavity on a baby molar. For us, it's no sweat; we see kids with cavities all day long! But we realize that, from your standpoint, several questions may be running through your head: What? Where? How? Why?

And finally, what do we do?! 

Traditional Cavity Treatment Methods

Tooth-colored fillings are a common treatment method for small to moderate-sized cavities. Having fillings done is no big deal for some children, but it can be very challenging for many, including very young children or those with significant anxiety in the dental chair. Fillings often require local anesthetic (a "shot") and require teeth to remain dry and free of saliva, as well as the use of the drill that sprays water and makes a noise that some children find intimidating. 

Hall Technique Silver Crown

One great option we offer at our Apple Valley, MN pediatric dental office is the Hall crown, which is a minimally invasive technique to place a stainless-steel crown on a baby molar tooth with a cavity. Steel crowns have long been the "gold standard" for baby molars with cavities for several reasons. Once the crown is placed, the baby tooth can't get another cavity; the crown restores any broken-down tooth structure and then falls out with the baby tooth when it's time. 

Why do we care about baby molars?

Baby molars are important to keep in your child's mouth until they are ready to fall out because they preserve space for the permanent teeth to come in, typically around 11–12 years of age. If the baby molars are extracted early due to cavities, the back teeth shift into the space of the missing tooth, which can create significant orthodontic problems later on. 

More about the Hall Crown Technique 

We can place a steel crown without numbing or drilling with the hall crown technique! First, we place orthodontic separators to create a tiny bit of space on either side of the baby molar needing the crown. After several days, your child will come back, and we simply try on different sizes of steel crowns until we find the perfect fit! Then we cement it on the tooth, and your child is back in business. 

When Do We Recommend the Hall Crown Technique?

Any baby molar with a small to medium-sized cavity would benefit from the Hall crown technique. If the cavity is too large and into the nerve, though, the Hall crown technique cannot be used.

But what about the cavity underneath? Can you just leave it? 

Scientific studies show that if a cavity has not already spread into the tooth's nerve, the cavity will stop spreading if we simply "cut it off" from the sugar in the diet since cavities need sugar to grow. If we cover the tooth with a steel crown, we very effectively cut off the cavity from sugar. Additionally, the inside part of the tooth will repair and heal itself from the cavity once the cavity can no longer access the sugar. The baby molar with a Hall crown will stay healthy until it's ready to fall out, and no additional treatment is needed after it's placed.

"Okay, but it's silver."

We understand that most parents prefer that their child's teeth be white. Unfortunately, there is no alternative to the steel crown when it comes to the Hall crown technique. However, when parents demonstrate a positive attitude toward the crown and make it fun, young children quickly and easily model their parents' behavior and attitude. "Princess tooth, robot tooth, armored tooth, superhero tooth…." You name it—they will love it!

Furthermore, the steel crown is the same material as the bands and braces used in orthodontics. The steel crown is just like the orthodontic band but with a top on it. Many young children have silver in their mouths for orthodontic treatment, so silver is a common color to see in a child's mouth!

Why We Love the Hall Crown Technique

The Hall crown technique keeps dental treatment easy and fun for very young children, which creates a framework for a positive dental attitude throughout their life. Sure, white crowns and fillings are possible, but they require numbing and removing tooth structure, which can be difficult for young children. Even one or two difficult dental appointments can make it hard to regain a child's trust. 

The Golden (Silver) Rule

"Treat others as you'd like to be treated." As pediatric dentists in Apple Valley, MN, We would never recommend a treatment for your child that we wouldn't recommend for our own children! Our five-year-old son James had a cavity on one of his molars (yes, dentists' kids get cavities!), and we placed a Hall crown, easy peasy!

Feel free to check out the video we made of James having his Hall crown placed, and don't hesitate to let us know if you have any questions!

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