21 answers

Experience with Capping Child's Teeth?

Our dentist says my almost three year old needs her upper front four teeth capped due to severe decay. Yikes! What can we expect from this process? Does it hurt? Do the capped teeth look natural? I would love to hear other's experiences. Thanks!

What can I do next?

Featured Answers

I don't have any experience with capping children's teeth but I would really recommend getting a second opinion from at least two other pediatric dentists. The more you know the easier it will be to decide what to do.

My daugthers had caps put on about the same age. She was given a little twilight to kee pher relaxed and get it done fast. They premedicated her for pain discomfort afterward. I did have the choice of having the white porcelin put over the front of the silver caps so that it looked like her teeth and not a rapper's grill....LOL.... they fall out just like normal and the new teeth are fine.
Both of my girls did very well. Just remeber to keep pain medication going and soft foods for abit. Good luck

More Answers

My daughter's teeth were capped at age 2 1/2 due to severe early childhood caries. Your daughter's teeth will most likely be capped in porcelain finish rather than the silver metal finish. Appearance is truly the least of your worries in this case. It does not hurt them because they have anesthesia for the process. You will be able to live with it and so will she. There are many, many children with capped front (or otherwise) teeth and it is very common and rarely the fault of the parents. For us it was bad genetics. You need to make sure that the dentist you are working with is a Pediatric Dentist who has at least 30 years experience with this stuff. We didn't feel comfortable with ones with less experience than that. DO NOT LET THEM PERFORM GENERAL ANESTHESIA IN THE DOCTOR'S OFFICE. Never, ever let them administer general anesthesia in the dentist's office. That is hugely unprofessional and life-threatening for the child. THIS MUST BE DONE IN A SURGICAL AREA WITH TRAINED MEDICAL STAFF AND DOCTORS. MAKE ABSOLUTELY SURE THEY HAVE A CRITICAL CARE PEDIATRIC ANESTHESIOLOGIST PRESENT IN THE OPERATING ROOM AND THAT THERE IS A PEDIATRIC INTENSIVE CARE UNIT in that hospital. My daughter ALMOST DIED when they gave her too much anesthesia (though they'll never admit it) and my husband and I had only a prayer to give us the strength to trust the helicopter would safely carry her in the thunderstorm to a hospital out of state where she was (finally) stabilized. After all that fun, for the next two months we got to stand in line all over again for this procedure at an entirely new hospital and by the time we finally got her in with the very competent doctors there, she had developed even further caries and it was a nightmare. Thankfully, she did have a successful experience with anesthesia and did not have Malignant Hyperthermia like the previous doctors at the first hospital had alleged (!). In my opinion, the anesthesia part is the part you need to most examine. Educate yourself. Go online and read up on pediatric anesthesia. Make an appointment for a consultation with a critical-care pediatric anesthesiologist to discuss the risks and ask them where they would like this procedure done for THEIR child, and make arrangements to go there.

1 mom found this helpful

My daugthers had caps put on about the same age. She was given a little twilight to kee pher relaxed and get it done fast. They premedicated her for pain discomfort afterward. I did have the choice of having the white porcelin put over the front of the silver caps so that it looked like her teeth and not a rapper's grill....LOL.... they fall out just like normal and the new teeth are fine.
Both of my girls did very well. Just remeber to keep pain medication going and soft foods for abit. Good luck

My daughter was told she may need her molar capped too. I think from my understanding it's silver unless you pay extra for them to use white and match it to your teeth. I could be wrong but I think that is what it is. I'm praying my daughter doesn't need this as well.

My daughter who is now 4 1/2, had her back two capped a year ago. It wasnt the most pleasant experience Ive ever had to go through. We went to a pediatric dentist in Des Moines. They gave her laughing gas and before they gave her the shot they applied a topical to numb the area. She is not good around strangers (and this was only the second time she had seen the dentist) so besides the anxiety of the dentist doing "wierd stuff" to her mouth she was nervous from being around a new person. I did have to hold her down a couple of times (which I think was ultimatly worse on me than it was on her :0) I guess for the most part it wasnt too bad, I dont think it ever hurt her too bad - she was just scared.
As for looking natural, I am not sure - hers were in the back so she has silver caps on. I did get the rest of her back teeth "sealed" that way hopefully until her grownup teeth come in we wont have to deal with this again.
Like I said before I think its a lot worse on the parent than it is on the child :0) Hope this helps and good luck!!

I had a son that had severe tooth decay and he had his two front teeth capped when he was 18 months old. They look very natural.With the sedating medication, he was sleeping and they filed out the decay and then glued the caps on. Unfortunately for my son, the decay was so far up, that the glue they used went into his gums and eventually he got an infection. He ended up having to get those teeth pulled. He also broke one about a month after getting them. (He fell on the corner of a table) Our complications were from his teeth being filed too short for the caps. All in all it was a good experience, as the doctor did warn me that the teeth were a little too short for the caps to work right. My son didn't complain of any pain. He could carry on a full conversation at the time, and his speech was slightly impaired for a little while till he got used to having full teeth there. I would ask your dentist how much of the teeth have to be filed away to make sure they are not too short in the end. I would hate for you to pay for it to get done and then have the problems we had! Hope this helps.

I've had my 4 front teeth capped since I was in High School, and they look just fine, not fake looking at all. And it's been almost 20 years, I'm sure caps have gotten even better since then.

W., Hi I am a Dental Assistant and I will be honest. If your dentist is good it shouldn't hurt your son.
The Dentist will more then likely use Stainless steel crowns that will fit over your son's teeth. They will be cemented on. They will have to "numb" the area with a "Shot" so they can prepare the teeth. Please don't scare your child before hand and tell him about a shot. Just let the Dr. explain it. Also please this is to all parents that read this Brush your childs teeth twice a day. Even if they don't want it.
Did you know a abcess tooth hurts more than having a tooth filled? Please ask your Dr. or his Assistant to explain to you what needs to be done. They should never rush you from the office. Please if you have any questions please ask them to explain it so you can understand it.
I listen to what my boss says and see the confused looks from our Patients and I always explain it back to them in ways that they can understand. I was there once not knowing or understanding. Also maybe the Dr. has natural looking caps for severe decayed teeth, but all I know they will be expensive. Talk to the Dr. Good Luck

I don't have any experience with capping children's teeth but I would really recommend getting a second opinion from at least two other pediatric dentists. The more you know the easier it will be to decide what to do.

Hello, W.! I am a mother of a 4 yr old boy, and just last week we had our second round of root canal and caps. Ours however are the molars, but I thought I might comfort you in letting you know how this process was for us and that you aren't alone.

When Clayton was 2 we had to have 2 root canals and 3 caps put on his molars. They put a protective coating on the remaining teeth to help protect them. This last round was one more root canal and an additional 3 caps. He has never seemed to have any problems with pain and we haven't had to follow the procedure with additional Tylenol. We just play it up that he is special and has new shiny teeth and show them off to everyone! (our caps are silver, certainly they would have another option for the front teeth) We go to a Pediatric dentistry and they perform child sedation as opposed to child restraint, which I felt was important given the age. The dentist did tell me the molars will stay in the mouth until he is about 12 yrs of age and that is why we needed to cap them, as opposed to the front teeth that will fall out much sooner. That might be something to bring up.

The day of the procedure the child is not supposed to have anything to eat or drink after midnight, so early am appointment is key to avoid too much complaining. After the procedure they want you to push fluids to flush out the meds, but nothing too hot or cold. Soft foods for the remainder of the day and nothing sticky for 24 hours. We did juice boxes, pudding, and mashed potatoes.

Additionally, I myself had some bonding done to my front teeth. Two of my adult teeth never came in and the baby teeth looked out of place. So they added bonding to the tooth to fill it out to look natural. I have been very pleased with my decision and feel it looks like normal. Good luck with your decision. Hope this info helps! ~S. H

Hi W.,

Two years ago we had to put caps on my son's front teeth. The dentist used resin which matches the color of the teeth. No one can tell that my son has caps. The resin does cost more and some insurances don't cover it, (ours didn't) but it is well worth it. i wouldn't want him to smile and see a mouth full of silver right in front.

Hope this helps, M. D.

Both my son and daughter had this done. Its dose hurt for them but they are put out while they are working on the teeth. But by the next day the kids were fine and their teeth looked great. Just be prepared when they put your child a sleep its a littel scary I was holding them they went limp really quick and it was almost as they were life less. But they were both fine. Good luck and dont worry your 3 year old will be back to normal in no time.

My son had all four front top teeth capped at 3 yrs old...not because of severe decay, but possible decay. I never understood why because I never gave him juice in the bottle and tried not to let him have the bottle when in bed. Anyways, they now have the ones where the front looks white like a normal tooth, but silver in the back. He was put under sedation and was not too fussy afterwards, plus Dr. Petersen gave him a big TIGGER for being a good sport (he still has it)!
If you'd like to see pictures of my son...go to myspace page www.myspace.com/sheesha3 and click on Caleb's pics, there's more than a few where you can see his front teeth clearly.

My daughter had decay on her four front top teeth, and got her first tooth fixed at 18 months old. We went to an excellent pediatric dentist who was able to do the procedure without any anesthesia at all. He had me sit on the dentist's chair and hold my daughter facing me, then lay her back on my lap. The dentist actually worked on her upside down! He said she would feel more secure that way and he was right. She did great and it was not painful or traumatic. He explained everything to her before he did it so she knew what was happening.

He put on a "strip crown" which is done by putting a plastic form around the tooth and squirting soft resin into it, hardening it with a special light, and then taking off the plastic mold.

She later had to have strip crowns put on two other teeth, and she always liked to go because she got a prize.

My nephew (2 years old) had to have a tooth pulled, and the pediatric dentist he went to told him if he cried or didn't cooperate, then he couldn't have his Mom there. He fussed, and they made his Mom sit out in the waiting room, listening to his cries... traumatic for both of them. I would make sure you know your dentist's philosophy on kids before you go into the procedure.

Good luck!

I had my daughters front 4 teeth capped and they look very natural. They put metal around the decayed tooth and then put a white front. If I have any advice put your kid under for the ordeal. We gave our daughter anestia and she did great. Also if you look at your medical insurance it will cover children under 5 years of age. We made the decision because there will be many more appointments and we didn't want to tramatize her for the rest of her life or make her afraid of the dentist.Good Luck

Our oldest son had his teeth capped. This was late 70's. Back then they used silver caps. It didn't seem to bother him after they were put on, but the dentist that we took him to; drugged him so bad. Never went back to him. I hope by now, they use white caps. Ask your dentist what they use. I have seen children out there with the silver caps still.

I would say ask lots of questions and make sure you go somewhere that they allow you to stay with your child. We went to a ped. dentist that came highly recommended. They had my son drink a liquid that would make him very relaxed and sleepy, and sent us to a room to play. A little while later they came to see if he was getting sleepy and he was not. They waited a little longer, but when he still wasn't as sleepy as they would like they said it would be ok. We walked to the room and as I entered they told me I had to wait in the waiting room, I wasn't happy about it but I was 7 month pregnent and thought it was for the safty of me and baby. When they came to get me when they were done the nurse tried to explain that he had not relaxed and they needed to hold him down, but everything turned out ok. Not! I walked into that room to see my son tied down in a straight jacket and a head brace on his head to hold it still, and my son so exhausted from screeming and crying that he could hardly breath. When I flipped out on them they tried to tell me that this was normal and he wont rememder. I told them to undo my son so I could that him home, only to find out that he had wet himself. He was 4 1/2 and hadn't had an accident in 2 years. I don't want to scare you but I don't want another child or family to have to go through what we went through. Good news- he is now 7 remembers none of it and his teeth look great! Good luck to you!

My daughert who is 9 now had Major Problems with her teeth andhad her two fron Capped/crowned. they were white with silver underneath, as she got older the White part started to chip away, so ask what they are going to use. Also, YEs it is very importatnt to take care of the baby teeth they are ther euntil teenage years!!!! and hold positions so further problems dont occur.

My daughter had the same exact problem with her teeth and she had her four front teeth capped. The dentist gave her some medicine to make her sleep during the procedure so she felt nothing. I know it's scarey, but after it's done, your child will have a beautiful smile and will forget that she even had anything done. I actually think it's more scarey for mom than it is for your child. Actually the hardest part for me was to watch the meds take effect, but I thank God for them because it sure made it easier for my child. Try not to worry, because it's the best thing for her and it will be over before you (and she) knows it. Take care!

We had two of our daughter's teeth capped last summer. I took her to a pediatric oral surgeon and they admitted her on a an outpatient basis where they mildly sedated her and she had no idea what was going on then. She was completely out for the procedure and it took less than an hour. We were home by the afternoon.

They are silver caps and eventually will fall out just like her regular teeth.

Our daughter had 2 of her teeth capped when she was 5 years old. It was because of a similar reason. The dentist actually did it at Children's Hospital. She also needed 2 other teeth worked on as well. Our daughter has Autism so would not have been able to endure sitting at the office to have the work done. Anyway, the capped teeth look so real it is unbelievable! They are even the same color as her other teeth!! She did great, wasn't in any pain at all after.

Good luck!


Hi Wendy, my daughter had her front two top teeth capped with the silver caps when she was 2 1/2. I was such a chicken to take her that my husband did it and said it was a piece of cake and she didn't squirm or cry or anything. So for two more years till her teeth fell out she had the silver caps, didn't bother her a bit. Her problem was that she fell before the teeth came in and cut her gums pretty bad. A few weeks later I noticed that there was a small white chunk of something that came through her gums. Little did we know that that was part of her tooth. So that is why she had the caps. She is now 19 and has beautiful teeth. She will be fine as long as you treat it as nothing big. The trick is to find a dentist that is gentle and comfortable for kids. Good luck. R.

Required Fields

Our records show that we already have a Mamapedia or Mamasource account created for you under the email address you entered.

Please enter your Mamapedia or Mamasource password to continue signing in.

Required Fields

, you’re almost done...

Since this is the first time you are logging in to Mamapedia with Facebook Connect, please provide the following information so you can participate in the Mamapedia community.

As a member, you’ll receive optional email newsletters and community updates sent to you from Mamapedia, and your email address will never be shared with third parties.

By clicking "Continue to Mamapedia", I agree to the Mamapedia Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy.