Many people think that root canal therapy is only for adults. After all, if a baby tooth suffers severe damage or decay, there is no point in saving it because the tooth will eventually fall out anyway, right? Well… no. Baby teeth do naturally come out on their own, but that doesn’t mean they are not worth saving. Let’s talk about why root canals on baby teeth are sometimes necessary, how you can tell if your child could benefit from one, and what you can expect if your child undergoes this treatment.
Why Root Canal Therapy Is Necessary for Kids
Baby teeth are not disposable; they play a vital role in the health and dental development of children. They:
- Serve as placeholders for permanent teeth. Premature loss of baby teeth can cause the permanent teeth to come in incorrectly, thereby leading to the need for orthodontic treatment.
- Aid in speech and chewing. Losing baby teeth can hinder a child’s speech development and their ability to enjoy a balanced diet.
- Are an integral part of self-esteem. A healthy, complete smile helps a child to feel confident amongst their peers.
Does Your Child Need Root Canal Therapy?
If your child is experiencing any of the following signs and symptoms, you should schedule an appointment with their dentist or endodontist in Concord right away because it is likely they need root canal therapy:
- A severe toothache
- A tooth is darker than the ones around it
- Significant decay is visible on a tooth
- There is pus and redness in the gum tissue around a tooth
- Painful dental sensitivity
- There is a pimple-like bump on the gums
During your child’s appointment, the endodontist will examine the tooth and may use an X-ray or CBCT machine to get a look at what is going on beneath the surface. Then, they will let you know what steps should be taken next to improve your child’s oral health.
What to Expect with Root Canals on Kids
Root canal therapy for baby teeth follows the same basic procedure as root canal therapy for adult teeth. The endodontist accesses the tooth’s interior chamber, cleans out the damaged or infected area, and then fills in the tooth. Anesthesia, perhaps along with mild sedation, will make sure your child is comfortable.
After the procedure, you may need to give your child some mild painkillers to take the edge off any soreness. Feed them nutritious, soft foods, like applesauce, smoothies, and soup. Your child should continue to brush and floss their teeth; just make sure they do not directly brush the treatment site until it has sufficiently healed.
Adults and children alike can benefit from root canal therapy. If you suspect that your precious little one needs this tooth-saving treatment, don’t hesitate to take them to an endodontist as soon as possible.
About the Author
Dr. Kathryn Watts works alongside Dr. Gregory Gell to provide top-tier endodontic care to residents of Concord and the surrounding areas. She is an active member of the American Association of Endodontists, the American Dental Association, and the North Carolina Dental Association. She and Dr. Gell are happy to help patients of practically any age, including young children. To learn more about our practice, contact us at 704-784-4625.