My Child Needs Root Canal Therapy. What Now?
When faced with the choice of root canal therapy or extraction, root canal therapy offers a safe and convenient solution that reduces the risk of further infection.
If you think your child’s oral health doesn’t matter when they’re young, you might be surprised by the statistics that highlight tooth decay as the principal dental problem among young children. Around 28% of children have one or more cavities by age three, and nearly 50% of children have one or more by age five.
Not only can untreated cavities lead to discomfort and pain, but they can also result in a dental abscess caused by bacteria inside a tooth. When this happens, your child should be treated by a children’s dentist as soon as possible, as the infection could spread to other parts of your child’s body. The dentist will prescribe antibiotics to treat the condition. However, your child may need root canal therapy to drain the abscess if the tooth is severely compromised.
What Is Root Canal Therapy?
Root canal therapy is also known as endodontic treatment. Deep decay or repeated dental procedures on a tooth can cause inflammation or infection inside the tooth. Other culprits include chips and cracks due to sports and facial trauma or a tooth injury.
The “pulp” inside a tooth is living tissue with nerves and blood vessels that branch off into the root. Your child’s dentist will drain the inflamed and infected pulp by drilling a small hole into the tooth and filling it afterward. With modern technology and anesthetics, root canal therapy is similar to a routine filling. Depending on the severity of the infection, it will not require more than two visits to the dentist.
Which Is Best — A children’s Dentist or an Endodontist?
Root canal treatments, performed by your child’s dentist or an endodontist, also known as an oral health specialist, have become routine procedures due to modern technology. Endodontists specialize in working with the interior structure of teeth or the dental “pulp.” Your dentist can refer you to an endodontist if they suspect a tooth is compromised.
When Does Your Child Need Root Canal Therapy?
Signs that your child might need root canal therapy are difficulty chewing, sensitivity to hot and cold food after eating, throbbing pain, a recent tooth injury, or when you notice a small bump on the gums near the tooth that looks like a pimple.
A Simple Procedure
There are two kinds of root canal treatments for primary teeth (baby teeth): vital pulp therapy when the pulp may be spared or only partially removed, and non-vital pulp therapy to treat severe infections.
During the procedure, your dentist or endodontist will numb your child’s gums and tooth, and remove the damaged part of the nerve and pulp tissue. In addition, your dentist might recommend a crown to protect the tooth and restore it to its normal size so it fits with the rest of the teeth.
The Benefits of Root Canal Therapy
Root canal therapy preserves and maintains the tooth structure of a primary tooth, prevents further infection, helps with speaking and chewing, saving room for the development of the permanent teeth and for them to erupt properly.
If faced with the choice between root canal therapy or tooth extraction, rest assured that root canal treatment for your child is a safe and convenient procedure that will effectively reduce the risk of further infection and keep them smiling for many years to come.
To learn more about root canal therapy, schedule an appointment with our dental team today.