The Hall Technique: When Your Child’s Molar Needs A Dental Crown

When one of your molars needs a dental crown, your dentist will talk to you about the various materials that can be used. A metal alloy is an option, and it offers an excellent level of mechanical strength. The finished restoration will not resemble natural tooth enamel, meaning that metal dental crowns are typically only recommended for posterior molars. If your child should need a dental crown on a molar, it's likely that a metal, stainless steel option will be utilized. 

Acrylic, Porcelain, and Metal

Some adults may opt for an acrylic or porcelain crown on a molar. Acrylic is unwise as it's usually unable to withstand the distribution of pressure that a molar will experience. Acrylic crowns tend to require replacement sooner than other materials. Many adults will opt for a porcelain or ceramic crown on a molar as this resembles the natural translucence of tooth enamel, while also offering the required mechanical strength. If a child's rear molar has deteriorated to the point where a dental restoration is unavoidable, this crown should be stainless steel.

The Hall Technique

The use of stainless steel dental crowns for primary teeth was developed by Dr. Norna Hall, a Scottish dentist. She didn't invent the process, but she refined it, which is why the application of stainless steel crowns to primary teeth is now commonly known as the Hall Technique. A preformed crown is bonded to the tooth, and that's essentially it. This differs from the preparation required for an adult crown, regardless of the material.

Typical Dental Crown Preparation

An adult tooth requiring a crown will need to be prepared. This means any decay will be removed from the tooth. Failure to do this means that deterioration can continue even once the dental crown has been fitted. Additionally, a thin layer of tooth enamel will need to be removed. This means that the tooth will remain the same size once its metal or porcelain crown is added. These steps are not necessary when using the Hall Technique.

A Temporary Solution for a Temporary Tooth

Although a decayed primary tooth will continue its deterioration beneath the stainless steel crown, this won't affect your child's overall dental development. The crown will keep the tooth intact for some years, and by this point, the tooth will have been naturally lost. The technique is simply the most non-invasive way to correct severe dental deterioration in children without the need for a filling. It's impossible for this to be a permanent solution without first correcting the underlying decay. However, since primary teeth are not permanent, they don't require a permanent solution. This is why the Hall Technique is not used on permanent adult teeth.

It's certainly not ideal when a child already needs a dental crown, but the Hall Technique is the safest and most efficient method for molars.

For more information about dental crowns, contact a local dental clinic.