According to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, every major dental association in the United States agrees that children should have their initial visit to a pediatric dentist within the first 12 months of life. A child’s first dental visit is dubbed "early preventative pediatric dental care" and does more than protect just the few…
Ask a Dentist for Kids: What Is a Baby Root Canal?
A dentist for kids might recommend a baby root canal when a child has a cavity close to the pulp of a tooth, a tooth is infected, or a tooth has damage that reaches its pulp chamber. It is typically performed to save the tooth and prevent it from falling out prematurely. Thanks to modern dental innovations, baby root canals can now be performed without causing the child significant pain or discomfort. Local anesthetics are used during the procedure to numb the areas being worked on so there is little or no pain involved.
A pediatric dentist explains baby root canals
A child's baby teeth are temporary, but that does not make them any less important than adult teeth. Primary teeth hold space for the permanent teeth behind them, ensuring they are appropriately aligned with the remaining teeth when they erupt. A baby tooth falling out prematurely often leads to teeth alignment issues and difficulty chewing food. It can also lead to speech development issues since teeth are used to make certain sounds.
Some of the signs that indicate a child might need a baby root canal include:
- A decayed tooth
- A badly damaged tooth
- Persistent toothaches
- Pus coming out of a tooth
These are all signs that a tooth's pulp chamber has been compromised. A baby root canal is recommended when a child's tooth cannot be repaired with simpler treatments such as the application of a dental filling.
An infected tooth virtually always needs a baby root canal since it effectively stops the infection in its tracks. Leaving an infected tooth untreated is never an option since the infection can spread to other parts of the body, like the heart or brain, where it can be life-threatening. A baby root canal stops infection, prevents infection, and saves badly damaged teeth.
The baby root canal procedure is similar to a regular root canal. The procedure is performed to remove infected parts of the tooth and to restore its appearance and function. Here is what typically goes on during a baby root canal:
- The dentist starts the procedure by injecting the child with a local anesthetic. This numbs the area being treated, so the child does not feel pain as the dentist works
- A dental drill is used to make a hole into the tooth being treated, and various sized dental files are used to remove the soft tissues in the pulp chamber
- Medication is inserted into the pulp chamber to kill off what is left of the infection
- A rubbery substance called gutta-percha is used to seal the tooth. It can then be covered with a stainless steel crown that protects it until it is time for the tooth to fall out. The process takes about an hour, and there is no recovery period. The child is free to return to their regular activities
We can save your child's tooth
A baby root canal might be what your child needs to save their tooth. Give us a call or stop by our Richmond clinic to set up an appointment with our pediatric dentist.
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