A root canal treatment is a dental procedure that involves removing inflamed or infected pulp and then cleaning and disinfecting the tooth. The pulp is tissue that contains blood vessels and nerves that fill the roots of teeth. The root secures the tooth into the gums and jawbone. Once the tooth is disinfected, the tooth is filled and sealed. Basically, it is a treatment to repair and save a badly infected or damaged tooth instead of removing it.
If your pediatric dentist has told you that your child needs a root canal, you may get worried. You may have a lot of concerns and questions. Here is what you need to know about root canal treatment in children. It will help you make informed decisions.
Root canal treatment in children
A root canal treatment may be performed on any tooth baby or permanent. A child may need a root canal treatment if their tooth is infected or damaged. An accident or a cavity causing an infection can injure the nerve and necessitate a root canal treatment.
There is a common myth that root canal treatment cannot be performed on baby teeth. However, this is far from true. Baby teeth are meant to come out on their own and make room for permanent teeth. However, the timing is important. If a baby tooth falls out sooner than it should, the child can develop bite and speech issues. So, it is important to save the baby tooth till it’s time for the permanent tooth to erupt. A root canal treatment can help save the baby tooth and allow the permanent tooth to grow and erupt when it is ready.
When is a root canal treatment required?
The most common reasons why a child might need a root canal treatment include:
- The tooth has become infected
- The tooth is damaged by injury or accident
- An abscess (a pocket of pus) has formed
- If tooth loss would result in bite or speech issues or affect the functionality of the tongue or jaws
Signs that the child may need a root canal treatment:
- Constant pain in the tooth
- Swelling and redness around the affected tooth
- Sensitivity to hot and cold foods
- Mobility or looseness of the tooth
Is root canal treatment painful?
No, root canal treatment does not cause any pain. In fact, it relieves pain. With advanced technology and better anesthetics, the procedure is nearly painless. The child would feel no more pain or discomfort than having a cavity filled. So, when your child is having tooth pain and the dentist is recommending a root canal treatment, do not be skeptical, thinking that the procedure will be painful. It will take away your child’s pain.
Is tooth extraction a better option than root canal treatment?
If possible, saving the natural tooth is always the best option. Root canal treatment has a high success rate. A root canal treated can last a lifetime. On the other hand, a bridge or implant cannot entirely mimic the function, look, and feel of the natural tooth. Also, tooth extraction is a more complicated treatment and takes longer. In some cases, additional procedures to the supporting tissue and neighboring teeth may be required. So, root canal treatment is a better option than tooth extraction.
If you are looking for an experienced and compassionate dentist who can make your treatment comfortable and pain-free for you, schedule an appointment with us now.