When faced with a mess (either figurative or literal), have you ever been tempted to just sweep it under the rug? To hide the problem and deal with it another time (or not) is a well-known course of action and has even been immortalised in song during a classic episode of The Simpsons. When it comes to your children's teeth, sweeping the problem under the rug might feel unwise, but, rather interestingly, it can be the best solution for certain problems. It's troubling when a child's baby (deciduous) teeth degrade to the point that dental crowns might be necessary, but even children can be affected by tooth decay to the extent that such drastic action is required. The temporary nature of baby teeth means that traditional dental crowns can be unsuitable, and so it can be the most appropriate solution to simply sweep the problem under the rug, or at least, under the crown.
The Hall technique was named for its founder, Dr Norna Hall. Dr Hall, a Scottish dentist, was faced with a growing number of patients with severely degraded deciduous teeth that would ordinarily warrant the fitting of a dental crown in order to preserve the tooth. Given the cost involved in fitting a dental crown to a tooth that was destined to fall out, Dr Hall devised a practical solution which involved fitting a premade stainless steel crown to the tooth, which was only ever designed to be a temporary solution, albeit one that will last until the tooth is replaced by its permanent counterpart.
Premade Stainless Steel
The premade stainless steel crown is selected from a range of sizes and shapes, and if the tooth in question is substantially different to the available selection of crowns, then the crown can be resized. It's simply affixed using dental cement, and the tooth is then encased in stainless steel. The cavities and any other degradation remain underneath the crown, but the device gives the tooth the necessary structural integrity to last until its root structure is dissolved by the emergence of the replacement adult tooth.
Although a single metal crown might not seem like an aesthetically pleasing option, it should always be remembered that the Hall technique is utilised on deciduous teeth, so the look will only be temporary (although it could remain in place for several years, depending on when it becomes necessary). The visibility of the stainless steel crown will, of course, depend on the prominence of the tooth, with such a crown on a rear molar being rather inconspicuous.
It can be troubling when any form of crown is necessary so early in a person's life, but the Hall technique offers a non-invasive and cost-effective solution, preserving the integrity of your child's overall oral health while giving them an opportunity to develop effective dental habits so that a permanent, traditional crown will hopefully not be required on any of their adult teeth.