While all parents hope their children’s teeth never need a root canal, this procedure is one of the most common treatments a pediatric dentist performs. If cavities form in a child’s mouth or a tooth is injured, the pulp of the involved tooth may become infected. This can result in premature tooth loss if the…
Are Root Canals for Baby Teeth Necessary?
Not only is a root canal for baby teeth sometimes necessary, but it is also one of the most common treatments performed on baby teeth. Root canal treatments are typically performed on a tooth that has been infected. This is usually a result of tooth decay that has made its way into the pulp chamber.
Parents sometimes think it might not be necessary to save a baby tooth since it will eventually fall out, but infections come with unbearable pain, and they can lead to even more severe complications when left unaddressed.
A baby tooth that is lost prematurely can lead to other issues with the permanent tooth that will eventually follow. This occurs since baby teeth serve as placeholders for permanent teeth, they ensure each permanent tooth comes out in the right position. Saving a primary tooth is as important as keeping a permanent one. The loss of the tooth interferes with simple tasks like chewing and speech development.
Root canals are also performed to save erupted teeth permanent teeth that have compromised pulp chambers.
Understanding baby teeth
Primary and permanent teeth both have protective outer coats called enamel. Its function is to protect the more sensitive inner layers of a tooth like the dentin. When enamel becomes damaged because of trauma or the acids that are created by bacteria in the mouth, the decay spreads into the inner layers of the tooth and eventually the pulp chamber.
The pulp chamber is filled with blood vessels and nerves, and it plays a vital role in the development of teeth. Once a tooth is fully developed, the nerves in the pulp chamber are no longer essential, but the nerves remain functional. The most obvious sign of the pulp chamber being compromised is persistent pain that refuses to go away even when medication is taken. Patients might also notice pus coming out of a tooth when it is infected.
During a root canal, a dentist will give the child an anesthetic to ensure there is no pain felt during the treatment. A hole is then drilled into the tooth. The contents of the pulp chamber are removed using files and medication is applied to fight the infection. The hole is then sealed, and the tooth is covered up with a crown.
Symptoms that a child's baby teeth need a root canal
When parents suspect a child has an infected tooth, the first step is to visit a dentist. The dentist will perform an examination looking for symptoms of an infected tooth like tooth sensitivity, toothaches, inflamed gums, and pus.
The dentist will also perform diagnostic X-rays to get a clearer picture of what is going on underneath the gumline.
Infections are a severe dental issue since it can make its way into the child's bloodstream and eventually into other areas of the body like the brain and heart. The results of this can be life-threatening.
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Wondering if your child's baby teeth are infected? Schedule an appointment with one of our dentists today.
Call (832) 246-7255 today to reach Grand Parkway Pediatric Dental.