What is a children’s dental crown and is there a difference between zirconia and stainless steel crowns?




In paediatric dentistry we get a lot of questions regarding why crowns are recommended for baby teeth. Most parents understand the concept of a dental crown as they are often suggested on adult teeth. Children too may also need dental crowns depending on their dental needs.


What is a crown? 

A crown is essentially a strong cap used by dental professionals to repair and reinforce a tooth – think of it as similar to a helmet but for teeth.


Why are crowns recommended for baby teeth?

It is important to preserve baby teeth as they are essential in the development of children and they assist with adult teeth erupting in the right direction. The mentality of “it’s just a baby tooth” is shifting nowadays with baby teeth seen as being important for growth, speech, nutrition and good health for life. Children really do need their teeth to be healthy.


When a large dental cavity develops, your child’s dentist may recommend a crown. Crowns are shown to protect and reinforce teeth better, and can prevent dental work from being repeated on the same tooth (e.g. fillings breaking and falling apart, and therefore more dental visits). Crowns are recommended over large fillings, or when the baby tooth has broken.

They are also recommended for teeth that have not developed properly. The most common material choices for crowns in children are stainless steel and zirconia.


Is there a difference between stainless steel crowns and zirconia crowns in children?

In short – not a whole lot.

Nowadays zirconia crowns and stainless steel crowns are available for children. These are the material choices used in children’s dentistry and they are both quite similar in properties. Most recently zirconia crowns have increased in popularity as they are more aesthetically pleasing.  From a strength and durability point of view, research has shown there isn’t any difference between the two crowns. Stainless steel crowns are our traditional crowns and have a long clinical history of over 60 years of use. The great thing about stainless steel crowns is that they have a long history of research and are highly reliable from that perspective. They are silver in colour and are made of nickel, chromium and iron. Zirconia crowns on the other hand are a newer type of crown and is tooth-coloured. They are made of zirconium which is a similar material to titanium. Zirconia crowns are a great option if children have a known nickel allergy as we cannot use stainless steel. Honestly they look great and we frequently have parents asking for these tooth coloured crowns over silver crowns. Other than these main differences, they are both great materials to choose from, and are great options that are offered to all our patients.



Taran PK, Kaya MS (2018) A comparison of periodontal health in primary molars restored with prefabricated stainless steel and zirconia crowns, Pediatric Dentistry V40, No5, Sept-Oct 1, p334-339

Donly KJ, Sasa I et al (2018) Prospective Randomised clinical trial of primary molar crowns: 24-Months old, Pediatric dentistry, V40, No4, Jul-Aug 18, 253-258

Seminario AL et al (2019) Survival of zirconia crowns in primary maxillary incisors at 12-, 24- and 36- month follow up Pediatric dentistry, V41, No5, Sep-Oct 19, 385-390

A note about COVID-19 – Update 21/03/2022

Lucas Dental Care is following all government guidelines and are doing our best to ensure the safety of all our staff, patients and the wider community. This includes implementing social distancing policies at our practice where possible, and maintaining a high degree of infection control. The situation is fluid and at times we are given government information with only a day’s notice. We thank our patients and community for your patience.

Like many other industries we are feeling the affects of covid on our small business, so please be patient with our staff as we work through our valued patients appointments.

In regards to general anesthetics for children, these are currently going ahead but there is a back log due to the pause on elective surgeries in 2021 and early 2022. If your child requires a general anaesthetic we will triage him or her accordingly. Any concerned parent or caregiver is welcome to discuss any enquiries with our experienced staff.

About our hygiene practices

We would like to reassure you that Lucas Dental Care is always proud of its commitment to, and enforcement of, the very highest standards of infection control and hygiene – and no less so at a time like this.

As a matter of course, we are continuing to eliminate risk to our patients of any type of infection. By its very nature, as a dental practice, our clinic maintains the highest standard of infection control on a permanent basis.

As always, the health and safety of our patients is of utmost importance when receiving treatment at Lucas Dental Care. We thank you for your patience and cooperation during this time. If you have any queries regarding an upcoming appointment, please do not hesitate to contact us on 03 9824 7614 or by email.