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Root Canal for Baby Teeth? Ask a Pediatric Dentist
Pediatric dentists perform root canal treatments for baby teeth when needed. Root canals are often thought of as treatments that are used to save permanent teeth, but they can be used to save baby teeth as well.
While baby teeth are only temporary, they serve an important role in holding space for the permanent teeth. When a baby tooth becomes infected at a young age, the child becomes vulnerable to decay, tooth loss and eventual alignment problems. Baby teeth erupting prematurely can also lead to issues with a child's speech. This can have life-long effects on the child given how important childhood is for developing proper speech patterns and communication skills.
A pediatric dentist might recommend performing a root canal on a child's tooth if it is infected or damaged to the point the pulp chamber is exposed to bacteria and other irritants in the mouth. While parents may be taken aback by a root canal recommendation, it is important to understand that a pediatric dentist is trained to do so.
A pediatric dentist explains how root canals are performed on baby teeth
Pediatric and general root canals have many similarities. The goal of either is always the same; to clean out the contents of a compromised pulp chamber and to save the damaged tooth. Signs a child might need a root canal include:
- Toothaches that get worse at night
- Tooth decay
- Redness and inflammation around the damaged tooth
- Persistent toothaches
- Increased sensitivity to hot/cold foods and beverages
- A tooth becoming loose
The pediatric dentist will start the process by examining the child's tooth to determine if a root canal is the right solution. If it has has been determined that a root canal is the appropriate course of action, a local anesthetic will be injected around the tooth to numb the area.
The pediatric dentist then uses a drill to make a small opening into the pulp chamber. Special tools are used to clean out the pulp chamber. If the tooth's root is also affected, the pediatric dentist will also clean out the tissues there. This is called a pulpectomy, while a root canal that only requires cleaning out the pulp chamber is called a pulpotomy.
Next, the pediatric dentist will then insert medication into the area to kill any infection. The area is sealed with gutta-percha and the child gets a stainless tooth crown to protect the tooth. There is not much of a recovery period after getting a root canal, other then avoiding hard and sugary foods.
Talk to a pediatric dentist
An infected or badly-damaged tooth can leave a child in agony. Root canal treatment can get them the relief they need and allow them to keep their baby tooth until it is the proper time for it to fall out. Call or visit our Newtown clinic to set up an appointment with the pediatric dentist.
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