When Are Baby Root Canals Necessary?
Baby root canals are necessary whenever an infection is so deep that it has reached the pulp of a tooth, which is the inner part composed of nerves and tissue. This often happens when there is severe tooth decay, but it can also happen if your child has experienced a dental injury. If your kid is experiencing tooth pain or sensitivity or you notice they have a chipped or cracked tooth, we recommend making a dental appointment.
How Do Root Canals on Baby Teeth Work?
Root canals on baby teeth can be separated into pulpotomies and pulpectomies. A pulpotomy is when the root is unaffected so we only remove the affected pulp. A pulpectomy is when both the pulp and the root canals have been affected, so the entire inner area needs to be cleaned out. In general, the procedure is the same where we make a tiny opening, remove the diseased tissue, and seal the tooth.
In general, the procedures for both types of root canals are the same. We begin by numbing the immediate area so your child only feels pressure and not pain. We then make a tiny opening in the crown of the tooth—the part that’s visible above the gum line. Through this hole, we remove the diseased tissue and insert a medication to kill off any leftover bacteria. We take digital X-rays to ensure that we’ve cleaned out the tooth properly and haven’t left any infection behind. Finally, we seal the tooth to keep bacteria and debris out and place either a filling or dental crown to give the tooth extra protection and strength.
Baby Root Canal vs. Extraction
Many parents wonder why it’s important to save a baby tooth if it’s just going to fall out anyways. It’s because those baby teeth serve an important purpose! They essentially guide permanent teeth into their correct positions. If they fall out early, it can interfere with proper tooth development, cause malocclusion (a bad bite), and lead to speech problems. So when it comes to a baby root canal vs. an extraction, we think it’s always better to save a tooth and prevent additional dental issues.
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FAQs About Baby Root Canals
How long does a baby root canal take?
It can be hard for a child to sit still for long, so we aim to work as quickly and efficiently as we can. Most of the time, a baby root canal can be completed in just one visit to our office, though the visit will last longer than a typical exam and cleaning. If you’re concerned about your child’s ability to sit still for an extended period of time, let us know. We’re happy to take as many breaks as your child needs or turn on their favorite show for a bit of distraction.
Does a baby root canal hurt?
We never want your child to be in pain during their procedures; in fact, we strive to always make kids’ appointments as pleasant as possible to provide them with positive dental experiences. If your child comes in for a baby root canal, we will numb the area thoroughly before we begin so they feel nothing more than a bit of pressure while we work. If they are extra anxious or jittery, we can also provide gentle sedation to help them relax once they’re in the dental chair.
Do baby teeth really need root canals?
If there is an infection or tooth abscess, it’s important to remove the infection and save the tooth if we can. Baby teeth help ensure that permanent teeth come in properly later, so we try to avoid the early loss of baby teeth if at all possible.
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