When a cavity infects a tooth to the point that a normal filling won't hold up, your dentist may recommend crowns or "caps". A cap is used to fully cover the portion of the tooth not already covered up by the gums. The decayed portion of the tooth is removed with the drill, the tooth is shaved down to make space for the cap, and the cap is then cemented on the tooth.
Caps are great because they protect especially high-risk teeth from getting cavities again and therefore needing the fillings replaced every few years.
Even though it may seem easier to just have the tooth pulled, keeping teeth that can be saved with caps are important because they hold the other baby teeth in position, which will then guide adult teeth into their future position. It's also important to save teeth whenever possible to ensure kids still have enough teeth to adequately chew their food.
An important note: Capping a tooth doesn't ensure anything bad will ever happen to that tooth again. If plaque and bacteria sit along the gum line of the capped teeth for extended periods of time, it will likely re-infect the tooth from the inside and cause an abscess, or build-up of puss inside the bone.
Some parents don't like the way caps look and will therefore tell the dentist they don't want them for their kids. If this sounds like you, let our dentists know and we will run through the possibilities of other treatments and the pros and cons of them.
Happy Teeth Dental Centers also offers white caps for baby teeth made by a company called NuSmile. It's basically a metal cap with a white coating and is great for kids who need a cap in the esthetic zone. There are some disadvantages however, as they cost more and the white coating can chip off. Ask your Happy Teeth dental provider about the possibility of white caps for your child's teeth.