Primary teeth are an important part of the growth and development of your child’s permanent teeth. That is one reason our Louisville endodontist may recommend root canal therapy rather than the extraction of a decayed primary tooth. While the idea of a root canal for a child might seem disturbing to parents, it is a procedure that can go a long way in treating decay of primary teeth.
Your child may not initially experience pain or discomfort from the decaying of a primary tooth. However, if they develop sensitivity to hot, cold, sweets, or acidic foods and drinks, they may be experiencing tooth decay. Other signs your child could need root canal therapy include more intense pain or throbbing in a tooth, indicating pulp damage or infection. This is most common when a tooth has been previously chipped or cracked and the pulp within exposed. Before creating a treatment plan, we may recommend diagnostic x-rays to determine the extent of the damage or infection.
Root canal treatment for children is similar to adult treatment. 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 receives root canal therapy, a dental crown will be created and placed on the tooth to protect the remaining structure from further damage. This crown will be strong and designed to fit within your child’s mouth. Eventually the crown will fall out along with the primary tooth beneath, allowing the permanent tooth to move into its proper place.
To help protect your child from tooth decay, practice the following tips:
- 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
For more information about childhood root canal therapy, contact the office of Scott A. Norton, DMD of Louisville.
Scott A. Norton, DMD of Louisville
Phone: (502) 899-5559
4010 Dupont Circle, Suite #276
Louisville, KY 40207