It may sound extreme to talk about a root canal on baby teeth, but a pulpotomy can be one of the best things to ever happen to your child’s smile. Especially if they’re in pain, have a severe dental abscess, or at risk of losing a tooth prematurely.
What is a Baby Root Canal?
Sometimes called a “baby root canal”, pulpotomies are therapeutic treatments that remove infected, abscessed pulp tissues inside of your child’s tooth. But unlike an adult root canal, the tooth isn’t permanently filled with a foreign material. That way it can allow the adult tooth to gradually erupt and push it out once the proper time comes.
Occasionally we may not need to remove the entire nerve (pulpotomy) but only place some medication on top of the nerve, near the decay. We call this a “pulp cap” and it is a protective measure we might suggest depending on the extent of the infection.
Any time a child receives a baby root canal, our Brighton kids’ dentists will also recommend placing a temporary crown over that tooth. These temporary crowns protect the brittle, compromised tooth structure to avoid premature tooth loss.
Is it Necessary to Perform a Root Canal in Children?
Wouldn’t it just be easier to pull the tooth than to perform a root canal in children? Sure. But extracting a tooth years before it’s supposed to fall out can lead to a host of other complications (and expenses.)
For example, as the neighboring teeth tilt into the space created by an extraction, it can block off the adult tooth that’s developing underneath. As a result, it becomes impacted. There’s also the tooth misalignment that spreads throughout your child’s smile, requiring orthodontic therapy to correct.
Then there’s the risk of abscessed baby teeth causing spread of infection. Not just to the developing adult tooth underneath, but into your child’s face or brain. Although rare, hospitalizations and deaths have occurred because of untreated tooth abscesses in children. Simply taking an antibiotic won’t help; the source of the infection needs to be removed.
Performing a root canal in children can help your child stay on track for proper oral and facial development, not to mention a healthier diet, better speech patterns, and improved self-esteem. Their tooth will be able to last longer, as intended.
Toddler Root Canals (Pulpotomies)
Preschool and toddler root canals are slightly longer procedures than a routine dental filling. But at Kids City Dental, our Brighton dentists know how to keep your little one as comfortable as possible. Again, these treatments aren’t the same as having an adult root canal, so they don’t take nearly as long to complete. But we’ll likely suggest some laughing gas to put your child’s mind at ease and help them feel more lighthearted. We’ll also completely numb the tooth so that the only thing your child feels in their mouth is a little pressure.
What Causes Baby Teeth to Abscess?
Primary (baby) teeth aren’t as dense as permanent teeth are. After all, they’re made to resorb and make room for their permanent replacements. But this less-dense structure also has a downside; if a cavity develops and isn’t treated quickly enough, it can quickly spread through the tooth and into the nerve.
By scheduling regular checkups at Kids City Dental, maintaining a balanced diet, brushing twice a day, and flossing daily, your child can enjoy a healthier smile with fewer treatment needs. But when abscesses happen, our Brighton dentists are here to help you get your family’s smiles back on the right track.
Save Your Child’s Smile
Performing a pulpotomy (root canal) on baby teeth can keep your child out of pain and the emergency room. It will also set their smile up for success in the years ahead. To get a professional opinion about whether your child needs a root canal on baby teeth, call Kids City Dental today. Our friendly Brighton kids’ dentists will be happy to answer all of your questions.