Pediatric Dentistry FAQ – Are Root Canals for Baby Teeth Necessary?

pediatric dentistry Richmond, TX

In pediatric dentistry, a root canal on a baby tooth is known as a pulpotomy. In this procedure, the nerve of the tooth is cleaned out and replaced with a biocompatible filling material. A silver or tooth-colored crown is then placed on the tooth. When this treatment option is presented to some parents, there may be questions about if it is absolutely necessary. After all, baby teeth are lost eventually. However, it is important that primary teeth are maintained until the permanent ones are ready to erupt. When parents understand the reason that this treatment is needed, a more informed decision can be made about how to proceed.

Baby Tooth Root Canal FAQs

To help parents better understand why a pulpotomy is a useful pediatric dentistry treatment, there must be an understanding of when this procedure is recommended. A dentist should explain how and why the baby root canal is done. 

Can a filling be used instead?

Parents may wonder why the dentist cannot place a filling into the decayed tooth instead of doing a root canal. While dental fillings are a common procedure, they are not indicated in all situations. When a cavity grows into the nerve of the tooth, a filling is no longer substantial enough to treat the problem. In these cases, a pulpotomy and stainless steel crown, or cap, is needed.

Why save a tooth that will be lost anyway?

When a baby tooth is lost too soon, the teeth on either side can drift into the empty space. This can cause major problems for permanent tooth eruption, and extensive orthodontic treatment may be needed. When a baby tooth is treated with a pulpotomy, the tooth is able to maintain its position until it is shed naturally.

Are there alternatives to a baby root canal?

When making treatment decisions for a child, it is important that the parent and dentist discuss all options. In some situations, a pulpotomy may not be recommended or possible. There are ways to minimize the effects of premature tooth loss, though.

What if a root canal is not possible?

In some situations, a tooth may be too infected to be treated with a baby root canal. Even after treated, the tooth may not have a good prognosis. Therefore, it is sometimes necessary for the baby tooth to be extracted. In order to keep the proper amount of space for the permanent tooth, a metal space maintainer may be placed. This prevents the adjacent teeth from shifting too much so the permanent ones can come in correctly.

Conclusion

Many parents face dental issues with children, and it is important that they understand common pediatric dentistry procedures and when they are needed. For the benefit of the child, parent and dentist, a careful discussion about all treatment options is needed. Preventive care can help detect problems in the early stages, so it is recommended that children visit a dentist at least twice yearly.

Request an appointment here: https://www.grandparkwaypediatricdental.com or call Grand Parkway Pediatric Dental at (832) 246-7255 for an appointment in our Richmond office.

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