Parents of children faced with severely decayed primary (baby) teeth face two choices: Pull the tooth or treat it with root canal therapy. We prefer root canal whenever possible. It is a procedure that ends tooth pain while preserving the natural tooth.
You might wonder why it is important to save a tooth that will fall out eventually. Primary teeth play a vital role in the proper growth and development of permanent teeth. Extraction, or pulling a damaged tooth, leaves a gap that can affect dental health later on.
If a filling is not enough to treat an affected tooth, our endodontist commonly recommends root canal therapy. It is a safe and beneficial procedure, even for children.
When Should You Consider Root Canal for Kids?
Tooth decay itself may not cause pain in its early stages; however, if your child suddenly develops sensitivity to cold, sweet, or acidic foods and drinks, he or she could be experiencing a common hallmark of decay. Other reasons to investigate root canal therapy include pain or throbbing in a tooth. This is a red flag for infection or damage to the pulp, the spongy interior beneath the enamel.
Our endodontist will take diagnostic x-rays to determine the extent of the damage before recommending any type of treatment.
How is Root Canal Performed in Children?
The procedure is the same for kids and adults. A local anesthetic ensures comfort throughout the treatment. Your child’s root canal therapy will likely involve removal of the infected pulp, known as a pulpotomy. Since this treatment affects tooth structure minimally, there is little discomfort and healing time is rapid.
After your child’s procedure, a dental crown will be fabricated and placed on the tooth to protect it from further damage. This custom restoration will fit your child’s primary tooth perfectly and remain durable. This allows the permanent tooth to move into place normally.
How to Avoid Root Canal Therapy for Kids
Although there is nothing to fear from root canal therapy, prevention is always best. You can help your child avoid tooth decay through vigilant oral health.
- Begin twice-yearly dental visits on your child’s first birthday
- Brush your child’s teeth until they are old enough to take over
- Talk to your child about the value of healthy teeth and gums
- Teach your child how to brush and floss correctly
- Practice healthy nutrition in your home
We are happy to provide more information on decay prevention and all your child’s treatment options. Contact our Louisville, KY endodontic office for advice, a referral, or an appointment.