41 answers

Dentist Wants to Put a Crown on a Baby Tooth.

Hello! I'm hoping some other mothers have experience with the same dental issue. My husband took our 7 1/2 daughter to the dentist on Monday. The dentist came in for the consult after looking at her teeth and explained to my husband that she has a tooth that is "beyond repair" and needs to have a crown placed on it. Our children all go for regular dental visits and our daughter has never even had a cavity. When the same dentist examined her 6 months ago everything was fine. I guess my real issue is I have a problem with spending $1200.00 to put a crown on a baby tooth. According to the dentist she will have that tooth for another 4 yrs or so and it definately needs the crown. We are considering getting a second opinion on the tooth, our insurance however; wont pay for the second opinion visit. I would rather have the tooth just pulled than pay that kind of money for a BABY TOOTH! If you have experience with this issue, please let me know what you decided to do. Thanks!

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my oldest son now 13 had to have a baby tooth pulled, but they put in a spacer until the adult tooth came in. Definately not as expensive.

I would agree with getting a second opinion! I would look for a dentist that specializes in children. It would be worth paying for a second opinion here. I would opt for pulling the tooth too (if it's not visible from the front).

My daughter had 2 of her molars pulled when she was somewhere around that age. My dentist said that the ones that grew in after that were pushing against them funny when they grew in, causing a lot of damage underneath the skin. She has never had a cavity, but he said that these could abcsess under the gums. They were I think 12 year molars... they were the baby teeth, and the molars have not grown back yet, but she is fine so far. She is almost 10 years old now. It was really hard for me to watch him pulling them out, but he did not even suggest a crown, or anything like that. I had similar issues with my teeth when I was a child.

I think I would call him and ask him about it, Let him know that money is an issue.

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Hi A.. I am a pediatric dental hygienist in Madison. I understand your concern. I have a few suggestions.

1) call your dentist and voice your concerns and questions--you have valid ones.
2) Spend the $70 to get a second opinion if you are not satisfied with his/her answers. You may get a piece of mind.
3) Yes, it sounds like JUST a baby tooth. However, if you pull the baby tooth, you would need to have a spacer made and cemented in....not any cheaper. If you don't have a spacer placed her teeth will shift and block out the permanent tooth. Then later on she will need orthodontics to create space and have that tooth pulled up. Also, not a money saver. Kids have 8 baby molars in their mouths. 4 one year old molars and 4 two year old molars. She wouldn't lose them until ages 10 and 12. If you did nothing to the tooth the decay will spread. She could end up with an abscess (painful!)or more cavities.....

Did she have xrays for the first time on Monday? (that could be why there were no problems found 6 months ago) Some teeth do form weak and can break down quickly (its called enamel hypoplasia and is quite common) Why there is a problem now is a good question to ask.

Did you get an estimate for the crown? If you have insurance they should cover some. Also, $1200 is what an adult crown costs....they are made of gold or porcelain. Primary teeth (baby teeth) are crowned with premade stainless steel crowns. We only charge $240 for crowns at my office. It wouldn't hurt to find a pediatric dentist in your area to evaluate her. Kids teeth is what they do best!

I hope I helped. I would be happy to help out if you have any other questions.......Good Luck!

2 moms found this helpful

Yes, it is appropriate to put a crown on a baby tooth that has too much decay to leave enough tooth to support a filling, but usually it would be a stainless steel crown if it is in the back, and an acrylic one if in the front. So, it shouldn't be any where near $1200 like a porceline or gold adult crown!!!
I would definately advice a second oppinion, many dentists will even give second opinions for free or very little cost, just remember to have your childs records (especially x-rays)sent to the second opinion dentist before the consult, that will save you $$ in re-taking records.
Final note, you really do not want to extract the tooth, that will only create more problems later and more expenses later, you need that baby tooth to maintain space so the other teeth don't shift and then your looking at orthodontics.
Good luck

J. (dental hygenist and Mom)

1 mom found this helpful

My son also had a baby tooth that was damaged that wouldn't come out for about 3-4 yrs but rather than go to the expense to fix it, our dentist said that it wouldn't hurt anything to pull it. Maybe your insurance company would consider a 2nd opinion rather than pay for the cost of the repair? Or would another dentist give you an opinion on the phone in hopes of you switching dentists? Just a couple of thots. Hope all turns out well for you!

I understand it is expensive to put a crown on your childs baby tooth! However, do you realize that the other teeth will try to move over and become very crooked and uneven. I only wish my parents had listened to my dentist and put a crown on my baby tooth. Braces are not cheap either! Good luck!

I was just in this predictament on Tuesday actually. I knew they were going to give my daughter(7) 2 fillings but they warned me that the one tooth may or may not need a crown as well they wouldn't know the extent of how bad it was until they were in her mouth working. This is her back molars. Thankfully they were able to just put in a filling it was borderline needing a crown but they were able to get away without doing that.

Why do they need crowns on baby teeth you ask because they need those teeth until they're permanent ones come in and if you just let it go it will become infected, hurt and could spread infection, decay etc to the surrounding teeth. You could have her tooth pulled but that will effect her eating and you'll need to get a spacer put in so her other teeth don't shift out of place.

I wouldn't get a second opinion I don't think dentists make up stuff to cash in on us parents and put our kids through torture.

My daughter had 2 of her molars pulled when she was somewhere around that age. My dentist said that the ones that grew in after that were pushing against them funny when they grew in, causing a lot of damage underneath the skin. She has never had a cavity, but he said that these could abcsess under the gums. They were I think 12 year molars... they were the baby teeth, and the molars have not grown back yet, but she is fine so far. She is almost 10 years old now. It was really hard for me to watch him pulling them out, but he did not even suggest a crown, or anything like that. I had similar issues with my teeth when I was a child.

I think I would call him and ask him about it, Let him know that money is an issue.

$1200 seems like an awful lot of money for a child's tooth that will fall out. I would ask if they were planning on doing a rootcanal with it. If they are then I would get a second opinion. Root canals are not done on baby teeth. My daughter had one capped but it was not near $1200. My insurance will not normally cover caps but did for the one the dentist did.

Hi A.,
I guess my first question would be, exactly what is wrong with the tooth that happened in the past 6 months that now it would need a crown? Is it suddenly full of cavities? Is it cracked? It sounds to me like something is fishy with this dentist. If there truly is something wrong, I would have the tooth pulled. My son had a molar pulled after it was broken in half, about the same age as yours. The dentist then put a space maintainer in to keep the other teeth from shifting until a new tooth comes in a few years from now. There is no way I would pay to put a crown on a baby tooth. I wish you the very best of luck! Kris

2 of my boys have had crowns on baby teeth. As others have mentioned, those baby teeth are need to keep the other teeth in place until the adult teeth are ready to come in. My youngest had to also have the spacers and we had trouble keeping them in place...he now has braces and they are having to move teeth apart so the others can come in as the spacers didn't do their job well.
I'd go ahead and put a silver crown(unless it's a front tooth) on it and be done with it until it's time for it to fall out naturally.


I would have them pull it but put a spacer there some when her teeth are growing they will grow in the right space. Otherwise what will happen is that here teeth can grow together in that please were the baby tooth suppose to be and when her permament tooth starts to come in it may not have enough room for it to come and because the other teeth has pushed in its place. This is from experience and now I have to pay alot, alot more to get my daughters teeth fixed. Good luck!!!

I would say spare the expense and pull it. However, as others have recommended, I would consult w/an orthodontist and see if she would need some type of spacer to prevent future problems. Another thing you could do (if you decide to have the crown or even a 2nd opinion) is use the services of a dental school. I know here in Omaha, Creighton Univ. has a dental program and they provide all dental work at a reduced cost because students are performaning the services. The one problem w/that is sometimes you have to have more visits and it's a longer process. Good luck!

My 4 year old daughter had to have a crown put on. It was such hard a decision to make. She had a cavity in her tooth. We tossed around ideas, to pull it, to leave it alone, etc. We had started out at a regular dentist and then went to a pediatric dentist. Both dentists and our pediatrician said we needed to get it fixed. I read a lot of articles and comments other parents had made on the Internet. Of course everyone had different opinions. The pediatric dentist and a lot of the articles on the Internet were concerned about the spacing of the teeth if you pulled it.

Good luck with your decision.


A., my 8 year old has a crown. He's had it for two years. He had absolutely refused to see a dentist up until that time which is why the tooth was so bad. I would get a second oppinion since your daughter has had regular check ups. The second oppinion won't cost that much - probably around $75 - just to be sure. The other thing that I question is the cost of the crown - she only needs a silver crown - which should be about half of what you quoted. My son had a crown and three other cavities filled by our PEDIATRIC DENTIST who is pricier than the one that the rest of the family sees - and all of that was less than $1000.

Hope this helps.
Lisa (Mom of 4 boys)

I had a baby tooth pulled as a child before the adult tooth was ready to come in. There was a space for a couple of years- i survived.
Either pull it or get a second opinion, both options are cheaper than crowning it.

I agree with the others A.. My son had a crown put on one of his baby teeth as well. It saves the tooth so it doesn't hurt her bite, adult teeth, etc. It shouldn't cost that much if you use a silver crown. I'd ask about that.
Good luck!


Especially if you haven't successfully used this dentist for a long time, I would get a second opinion. We have moved around a lot and I have had a lot of different dentists. Occassionally, I have had a new one say that I all of a sudden have all these cavities. (They said it was pregnancy related, and I believed them.)

But then once it got way out of hand. At my third 6 month visit to a new dentist, (and after having him fill at least 9 cavities,) he said I had something like 12 cavities and over 20 watchspots that would have to be filled over the next year. I tried a new dentist who said I didn't have ANY cavities and my teeth were healthy. This dentist was filling perfectly healthy teeth to make money.

If you happen to live in the Twin Cities South Metro, Dr. Gregory Smith in Lakeville is fantastic. I know people who have been going to his office since the late 80's and won't see anyone else.

Good luck,

My son had the same problem. what we did was have the tooth pulled then had a spacer put in so the remaining teeth did not move so the adult teeth could still grow in normally. The cost was less than what they want you to pay for a crown.

I also completely agree with you. If you can't get the second visit because of cost, I would just have it pulled. Assuming that the tooth isn't a tooth in the front, she will do fine with not having it. When I had braces put on at age 12, I had nine baby teeth pulled, because who in their right mind would straighten baby teeth! I did just fine, and she will to.

A., I would not put a crown on her baby tooth. Provided she's not in pain, who cares if the tooth is "beyond repair"? It's going to fall out anyway.

Hi A., My son had a crown on a baby tooth. I too did not want to spend the money back then. but it worked great. the dr said the teeth would move together and the space wouldn't be there when the permanent tooth was ready to come in. we went with a cheaper metal looking crown. He also had a spacer, where they pull the tooth and leave a spacer in so the teeth don't move. I don't remember if that was cheaper or not. but you could mention it to the dr. They took the spacer out when it was time for the permanent tooth to come in. the crown fell out like a baby tooth would. Now he is 18 and has nice straight teeth and no cavities. He just didn't have very good baby teeth. good luck

I'm sorry but I haven't been in this situation but if I were I wouldn't pay that if it'll come out in 4-5 years anyway. It sounds like he wants some cha ching $$$. I'd get another opinion or two to make sure he's right and then I'd personally get it pulled out. If it was a permanent tooth I'd say to get the crown. Will there be any shifting in teeth to worry about after it's pulled or do they need to put spacers to make sure the teeth don't close in. Something to ask. Maybe that's why he suggested a crown. I'd price out.

My daughter went through a similar situation, the tooth was abcessed even though she had had regular check-ups. The dentist pulled the tooth & put a "spacer" in to keep the other teeth from moving into the gap. When the permanent tooth started to come in, he removed the spacer & she is doing just fine. I think a crown on a baby tooth is a waste of money. If your dentist won't do this, I would find someone who would. I would also recommend talking to your insurance company, as the bottom line for them is the cost. They may be willing to cover it. Good luck.

At the time my son was 4 year's old and had to have dental work. He had 8, yes 8 cavitie's and 2 of them were his two front teeth and I couldn't bare the thought of pulling his teeth so we had them fixed. Ater what he went through if it were anything other then his front teeth I would have pulled them In a heart beat. Good luck, J.

my oldest son now 13 had to have a baby tooth pulled, but they put in a spacer until the adult tooth came in. Definately not as expensive.

I am a SAHM of 2 - 6 year old, and 4 year old. My 6 yr son broke a tooth at 3. The Dentist pulled it because it was a baby tooth and not essential to spacing. My daughter split a tooth at 3 1/2. Her tooth was an eye tooth - very essential to spacing, therefore the dentist (same guy) put a crown on it. SO we have had both. I would be bothered too if 6 mths ago the dentist didn't notice anything - that itself would warrant a 2nd opinion. bottom line is the decisioin is up to mom and dad. MJM

my opinion-if you cant see a 2nd dentist-pull it-then request to have sealents put on all kids baby teeth-protects the adult teeth waiting to come in.had it done to my kids-they have perfectly beautiful teeth -i just read a article on the internet-on how these dentist are turning into total scam artist-if you can afford a crown-you can afford a 2nd opinion-all those baby teeth will be coming out quicker than you realize.good luck

If it is a baby tooth they should put a stainless steel crown on it should not cost that much. You don't want to pull it because it holds a spot for another adult tooth and spacing could get messed up. I would still get a second opinion it won't cost you a fortune get the xrays from your current dentist and go have it checked out. I used to work in a dental office and know a little about this. If I can help anymore just email me.

Pull it! My daughter is Three. She fell and hit one of her front teeth on the cement steps this past spring and chipped it. The dentist recommended a root canal and cap as she would not be getting adult teeth for several more years, but I just had them pull it out. She is gapped there for a couple years, but she doesn't care and is still a cutie anyway. Not worth the expense. Also, I thought it would be more traumatic to have to sit there still in a chair while they worked on it than to just numb it and yank it out quick. She was running around and super happy by the time we got home.
I just wanted to add that we take her to Camp Smile in plymouth in the West Health Building. They are excellent with kids, and her spacing was big enough that no spacers needed.

My advice is to do it!!! My 7 1/2 year daughter grinds her teeth very badly at night, and has almost completely worn her teeth down to little nubs, and our dentist told me the same thing: if the teeth aren't any better, or even worse, then the next time we go in, she will have to have her teeth crowned. We have already gone through having the teeth filled and have caps put on them, twice, and I am not seeing an improvement, since she is grinding the caps down also. Our dentist told us that if the teeth get to badly ground down, the nerves in the jaw and teeth will start popping through, and on top of being extremely painful, it can leave lifelong repercussions for adult teeth.

I had a two year old that had a tooth beyond repair. We pulled it. It was a back tooth and apparently it was deformed in someway and it took a very short time for it to decay. We did have to have a spacer put in to keep the teeth from shifting so that there would be normal growth of her second teeth. It hasn't seemed to cause her any problem since and she is now six.

I know it's easy to think that these baby teeth fall out but they hold the spacing for the adult teeth. If the space isn't there, the adult teeth don't come in aligned properly and you end up with braces, which are much more costly than a crown. I agree with the rest that $1200 is way too high. I paid out of pocket for a crown (in Green Bay) about $200. I would get a second opinion for sure. Sometimes they will put a crown on, only to end up having to pull the tooth later so make sure that a crown will fix the problem. If you decide to pull it, insist that they put a spacer on as soon as possible. Once the tooth is gone, the other teeth start shifting quickly. Preventative action will pay off in the long run. I've got a seven year old that had a couple crowns, one ended up getting pulled. They didn't put a spacer on and my new (fantastic and insurance approved!) dentist said because of that missing tooth, her teeth are a little misaligned and she'll probably need some correction. She's constantly biting her cheek because of it. SO, I know baby teeth seem trivial, but they are so important! I would say get a second opinion and pay the money now to avoid paying ten times more in five or six years. Good luck!!

You said your daughter is 7 1/2 then there's a good chance that she'll be losing a lot of baby teeth soon. I certainly wouldn't (and couldn't!) pay that kind of money for a crown for a tooth. Looking back, I don't believe that I had any baby teeth left when I was 12, but I looked it up and I guess it's pretty normal to still have them at that age.

I do think it's a good idea to get a second opinion or at least ask this dentist if you have any other options. My 8 year old has a couple of teeth that are "beyond repair" and her dentist has opted to have them removed entirely.

Hi A...........My grandson had a crown put on last year. He was 7 at the time. I also could not understand why you would do that with a baby tooth. But apparently it helps to preserve the space for the permanent tooth that will come into that spot by preventing the teeth on either side from moving. I think I would get a second opinion tho as the price seems awfully high. I had one put on within the past 6 mo and it was only arond $700 and it was a white one to match the rest of my teeth. Hope all goes well!

I would agree with getting a second opinion! I would look for a dentist that specializes in children. It would be worth paying for a second opinion here. I would opt for pulling the tooth too (if it's not visible from the front).

My son is 8 years old and has what they call, "soft teeth." He has a few crowns or caps on his baby teeth. How the Dr. explained it, he said that they still need the baby teeth in thier mouths so the adult teeth grow in where they are supposed to. Now, one of the Drs. we saw, he pulled the tooth and put a spacer where the empty spot is. When the adult tooth starts to come in, the spacer will be removed and the space will still be there and everything will grow in the way it is supposed to. You may want to talk to your Dr. about that.

When my 10 year old was 3 he had to have 3 crowns put on baby teeth. Generally, dentist do not put adult crowns on baby teech. If insurance doesn't pay for it then out of pocket cost should be less than $200.00. If this is a tooth that won't come out for a while it is best to put a crown on it than to have it pulled. Pulling it could cause her more problems, unless it will be coming out soon.

If your dentist wants to charge you $1200. to put a crown on her tooth then I would hit the door running the other way and get a second opinion.

Good luck!

We have run into the same thing with our 7 year old daughter. It is so frustrating spending money on teeth that are going to come out anyway. Well, one of the teeth that would still be in for quite some time broke and was pretty much rotten. We had it pulled out and had a "nance" put in by an orthodontist to keep the space open for when the permanent tooth comes in. So far for the whole program at the ortho it's only been $600...better than $1,200. I would ask about this. Maybe it's the dentist wanting the money instead of passing you along to an ortho )-: Good luck, I feel your pain!

I am a dental hygienist and first want to say that baby teeth are very important and that your daugther will have her back baby molars until she is about 12 years old. However $1200 is a rediculous amount of money even for a permanent crown! If you were to extract the tooth, that might cause issues with how the permanent teeth come in as baby teeth hold the position for the permanent ones once they start to erupt. I would get a second opinion for sure, it will cost you less to do that even if you still need to do the crown. Where are you located? Feel free to contact me ____@____.com

I dont have the right or wrong answer for you, but my child also had the same thing happen. Her tooth was beyond repair and we also wanted it pulled, but our dentist showed us we would be making more issues in her mouth by pulling it. Its 2 years later and she still has that tooth, it's suppose to be one of the last that falls out=) Good luck.

Boy that is one expensive crown for a baby tooth. I am a Dental Hygienist and I believe baby teeth are very important...If you remove a baby tooth before its time you can run into a lot of problems later on. Teeth will shift and the bite will get off and you will run into Orthodontic problems. Your dentist is right that she should have that tooth until she is 11 or 12 years old.

Our dental office would put a stainless steel crown on that baby tooth for $160.00!!! You do not need a permanent crown on a baby tooth....which at our office would only run $815.00-860.00. You must be in some big city.

Well I have personal experience with this as I had 4 (yes 4) crowns put on my baby teeth when I was about that age! I am very prone to cavities and to this day have to have my back teeth seeled to prevent getting more. My teeth were beyond repair too.

Later I also had 1 baby tooth pulled but they needed to put in a spacer behind the entire bottom row of my teeth ( I think another post mentioned something like this as well). I am guessing that pulling a tooth or two and putting in a spacer is more expensive than 1-2 crowns.

If you are really concerned I would get the second opinion.

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