Primary (or baby) teeth play a vital role in the proper growth and development of your child’s permanent teeth. This is the reason why we may recommend root canal therapy for your child, rather than simply extracting a severely decayed baby tooth. Please review the information below to learn more about what symptoms may indicate the need for root canal treatment and how to prevent tooth decay in baby teeth.
In early stages, your child may not experience pain or discomfort from tooth decay. However, if your child suddenly develops sensitivity to hold, cold, sweet, or acidic foods and drinks, this could be a sign of decay. Other signs your child could need root canal therapy can include pain or throbbing in a tooth, which may indicate pulp damage or infection. This is most common when a tooth has been previously chipped or cracked and exposed the pulp within. We may recommend diagnostic x-rays to determine the extent of the damage or infection before advising treatment.
Root canal treatment for children proceeds in similar fashion to the adult experience. Local anesthetic medication is generally used to ensure comfort throughout. In most cases, your child’s root canal therapy will be a pulpotomy – removal of infected pulp only. Since less structure is affected by this treatment, it usually requires less time and discomfort to complete and to heal.
After your child’s root canal therapy, a dental crown will be fabricated and placed on the tooth to protect the remaining tooth structure from further damage. This crown will be strong and designed to perfectly fit within your child’s mouth. When the baby tooth falls out, the crown will go with it, allowing the permanent tooth to move into place normally.
There are actions you can take to help protect your child from tooth decay requiring root canal therapy. Some of these include:
- Start twice yearly dental visits by age 1
- Brush your child’s teeth until they are old enough to take over
- Teach your child how to brush and floss correctly
- Practice healthy nutrition in your home
- Talk to your child about the value of healthy teeth and gums