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Can Baby Teeth Get Root Canals?

February 07, 2021

It’s common knowledge that baby teeth can get cavities. In fact, tooth decay is the number one most common chronic childhood illness. However, what happens if the cavity becomes too severe to be treated with a filling? In permanent teeth, a root canal would typically be performed to stop the infection and save the tooth from extraction. Many parents are surprised to hear those baby teeth sometimes need this type of treatment as well. Why would a child need something like a root canal, and how would this procedure work? Read on to learn more!

Why Would a Baby Tooth Need Root Canal Therapy?

Even though your child’s baby teeth aren’t a permanent fixture of their precious smile, it’s important to keep them healthy and in place. If a cavity has progressed to the point where it cannot be treated by a simple filling, a pulpectomy or a pulpotomy may be needed. These treatments are designed to:

  • Ease pain: An infected tooth can cause your child a tremendous amount of discomfort, to the point where they can’t concentrate at school or eat properly.
  • Protect nearby baby teeth: The bacteria infecting one tooth can eventually spread to nearby teeth if a pulp treatment is not used to clear out all the infected tissue.
  • Save baby teeth from extraction: If an infected tooth is left untreated, it may need to be extracted. This can lead to dental drifting, crooked permanent teeth, difficulty speaking and eating, and incorrect development of your child’s jaws and mouth.
  • Keep your child healthy: In some cases, the bacteria infecting a tooth may escape into the bloodstream and travel to other parts of the body, which could cause serious systemic health issues.

Pulp Treatments: Root Canal Therapy for Kids

Depending on the severity of the decay or injury, your child may need a pulpotomy or pulpectomy. Both treatments start by numbing the area around the infected tooth. Then, the dentist creates a small access hole in the enamel to reach and remove the infected tissue underneath. In a pulpotomy, only the pulp in the main chamber of the tooth is removed, while a pulpectomy removes the tissue in the roots as well. Then, the hollowed tooth is sanitized and filled with a biocompatible material before the access hole is closed with a filling.

Signs Your Child May Need a Pulpectomy/ Pulpotomy

Only your Rowlett children’s dentist will be able to say for sure if your child needs a pulp treatment or not. However, you should bring your little one in right away for an examination if they experience:

  • A severe or long-lasting toothache
  • Painful, lasting tooth sensitivity to hot and cold
  • Visible tooth decay
  • Darkening of a single painful tooth
  • Inflammation and/or pus in the gum tissue 

Untreated cavities for children have the potential to cause serious problems. Don’t hesitate to contact your dentist for an emergency appointment if you are concerned that your child may have an infected tooth. These procedures can provide fast relief and get your child’s smile and oral health back on track!

About the Practice

While Dr. Tera Pollock of Rowlett Dental Kids always does everything she can to help keep growing smiles happy and healthy, she is ready and able to handle all manner of dental emergencies should they arise. Whether your child finds themselves with a knocked-out tooth or an intense toothache, she can provide expert, gentle care and same-day appointments to protect your child’s oral health. For more information on root canals for kids, don’t hesitate to contact her via her website or at (469) 284-8895

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