My 20-Year Quest for Quality Pediatric Crowns

How I finally discovered a quality white pediatric crown.

My 20-Year Quest for Quality Pediatric Crowns 1

During my pediatric dental residency program at the Medical College of Virginia (MCV) in the early 1990s, I began the quest to find a quality white crown, hoping it might be available at least for anterior teeth. The possibility of a white crown that would stand up to the stresses experienced by posterior teeth seemed too much to hope for. At MCV, residents were taught to use the strip crown technique for anterior teeth—an unsatisfactory option since the strip crown would discolor over time and invariably begin to chip and break down with wear. The only available alternative to the strip crown was a stainless steel crown with a window cut to hold a composite facing. This option was relatively satisfactory—until the composite chipped or the crown fell off. 

Once in private practice, I lost count of the number of times parents would ask me, “Can you provide my child with a white crown instead of a silver one?” These parents went on to express concerns over how a silver crown looked and the effect its appearance would have on their child. No alternatives were available for posterior teeth. For anterior teeth, the only option I could offer were the stainless steel crowns with composite or plastic bonded to them. While acceptable at first, the composite or plastic would eventually chip off revealing a black and white crown, leaving the child with what came to be called “zebra teeth.” Clearly, I had not yet found the object of my quest—a quality white crown. 

What I like most of all, though, are the smiles displayed on the faces of children who proudly show off their beautiful white teeth. 

A few weeks later, I had the opportunity to place the crowns on primary first molars on a brother and sister. I anxiously waited for the six-month re-care appointment to see if the crowns would still be serviceable. At the re-care appointment, I not only found the crowns in remarkable condition, but the gingiva were awesome also. The children’s mother was incredibly happy and thanked me profusely for not putting stainless steel in her children’s mouths. With the knowledge that a product was now, in fact, on the market that provided not only esthetics but also durability, I began to incorporate EZCrowns into my practice. 

To increase my knowledge about the crowns and to improve my technique in using them, I signed up to attend the Sprig University—an all-day, hands-on program explaining the properties of Zirconia and the fundamentals of placing Zirconia crowns on pediatric teeth. During the course, we learned about the properties of the crowns, received helpful hints into the preparation of the teeth, and gained insight into the use of appropriate cementation techniques. The highlight of the Sprig University for me was being able to discuss the process with John and Jeff, who took an individual interest in the personal success of each participant. 

Sprig paid attention to every detail in the design of their crowns, not just the color and shape. I particularly like the space-loss crowns, specially developed to fit over teeth that are narrower due to decay. I also appreciate the extra retention of patented Zir-Lock Ultra—the internal grooves milled into the crowns—and their crimp-lock margins. With these features, Sprig’s Zirconia crowns are unique. What I like most of all, though, are the smiles displayed on the faces of children who proudly show off their beautiful white teeth, and the satisfaction expressed by their parents over the natural-looking results created by using Zirconia crowns. 

Finally, at the 2013 AAPD Annual Meeting in Orlando, Florida, I saw the Sprig booth, as well as booths of several other companies, displaying pediatric Zirconia crowns. I talked with representatives at all the booths and met doctors Jeff Fisher and John Hanson, founders and developers of Sprig’s Zirconia crowns. I appreciated the fact that I got to discuss the pros and cons of the crowns with the dentists who actually created them. After discussing the product with them, I purchased a starter kit and looked forward to finally placing white crowns that would work and hold up long term.